i've posted over at the hand mirror, about people not being free to participate in our democracy.
i was pretty saddened at the office of ethnic affairs workshop today, which was focussed on informing people about making submissions to a select committee. the staff did a great job under the circumstances. i've already mentioned that the selection of bills that was presented to the workshop was pretty objectionable. worse was the fact that the presenter was only allowed to talk about government bills. she wasn't allowed to talk about private members bills, or the fact that people could go to their local MPs and ask them to prepare a written question to a minister, nor could she mention parliamentary petitions.
in other words, they were not allowed to discuss all the various ways that citizens can be active in a democracy. the fact is that the select committee process isn't accessable to everyone, and particularly not to those with low written and/or oral language skills (as is often the case with migrants). other forms of political activism will suit such groups better, and they should at least have all the options in front of them.
but the presenter wasn't allowed to do that. i felt really sorry for the staff who had to work under such conditions. it's absolutely appalling.