MY FEARS FOR HOW THE INTERNET MIGHT MAKE FUTURE
ELECTION CAMPAIGNS UGLY
Strap in folks! This federal election campaign is going to be messy. And I personally think a lot of it will be thanks to our wild-west internet and social media space.
Many would have hoped and expected the internet to be a nirvana of open free speech where everyone had a chance to have their say. The same might have been dreamt of for the various social media platforms.
Unfortunately, the internet and social media platforms have delivered a fair bit of abuse, hatred and anonymous dumping of vitriol. The online world has really empowered some people that have extreme and radical views. In fact, it even rewards the people who post outrageous thoughts and ideas because it results in a wild pile-on that keeps the topic/issue current and its popularity keeps it at the top of the lists of things being considered by internet users.
There are many many many things that are written, posted, pushed and promoted in online spaces that would be clearly unlawful and not tolerated in general civil society. A school, university, sporting team and workplace would all come down like a ton of bricks on some of the online behaviours of bullying, harassment, misogyny and racism.
This all leads, I believe, to a society that is more polarised from each other’s views than at any other time in my life. Very often I now find that people have had their views or opinions informed by what they have read online and they become firmly and deeply rooted in their recently formed view of issues A, B or C.
So, as we roll toward the federal election of 2022, I can sense that more people are going to be absolute in their political views of who is to be trusted and who is a failure. The internet, which was once entertainment, has reshaped our personalities so much so that what was once decent, fair and reasonable social behaviour, has shifted.
I do, sincerely, hope that we can all go about our daily lives, as the election draws nearer, in a peaceful way. I hope that we can treat each other with respect. I hope that we show tolerance to the views of others and that we show some modesty for our own views. I hope that those seeking to be “leaders” in our community show leadership in their conduct during the election. Good luck to everyone!
A VERY BRIEF UPDATE ON THE PROPOSED “NEW” CESSNOCK HOSPITAL
Many will be aware that Cessnock Hospital is set for a $111.5M injection of funds. Things are still very much in the early planning. I would hope and expect a small chunk of money to be in this year’s State Budget, for some planning and investigations – possibly $5M-ish. We really need to make sure that whatever is built will be suitable to our times and suitable for what the future might bring (as best as we can foresee).
Ultimately, from announcement to planning to construction to completion could take 4-6 years, if things go smoothly. Our current hospital has been a wonderful thing for our community for more than 100 years, but it is clear that it is past its prime. I certainly look forward to residents and staff soon walking the corridors of a beautiful new facility.
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