Saturday, June 21, 2014

Western Australian Shark Cull. Make a difference!

The Australian EPA is doing a Public Environmental Review (PER) and is soliciting comments from the public. This is our chance to be heard, but please consider a few things, before you write your response.

As usual, "DaShark" has beat me to it and written an excellent blog on the subject. Here are a couple of things he mentions.

During the first period of public review, here is what happened.

The 14 week trial attracted intense media and community interest. 
The trial generated: 

  • 765 separate articles on sharks in local, state and national newspapers 
  • 1,100 radio news bulletins on sharks (Western Australia) 
  • 850 radio talk back comments on sharks (Western Australia) 
  • 290 television news items on sharks (Western Australia) 
  • 286,000 emails and letters to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC) - a significant number of which were pro forma emails
  • and a significant number of postings on Twitter and Facebook, some of which were offensive and contained personal attacks on members of the Government and staff involved with the program.
And the net result of that onslaught of unsolicited appeals, petitions (= pro forma emails), opinions and abuse?

A big fat zero.
So why did all that media attention, written petitions and postings on social media have no effect on their decision? Well, it did have an effect. Probably not the effect you were hoping for, but an effect nonetheless. 

The government is stating: 

The 14-week trial generated “offensive and contained personal attacks on members of the Government and staff involved with the program” on Twitter and Facebook.
Supporters said they had “no choice but to stay quiet due to the level of abuse and vilification received”, describing the level of personal attack and social media postings as “unacceptable”.
“The Government is now more acutely aware of the level of abuse that was directed towards supporters of the program and the reasons for so many staying silent,” 

So basically, they blame us for why, what they claim is the silent majority, has stayed quiet on the subject. They are not kidding, that's what they believe. If we want them to listen to us, we have to mind what we say and how we say it.

Here is DaShark's advice.

Both the postulated silent majority and the anti-cull faction have an equal opportunity to have their voices heard - and I sure hope that the latter is not only composed of social media slacktivists and agitators but that instead, it will make a vigorous attempt at turning things around by fielding rational arguments.
Not really convinced that the WA government will listen - but along with the federal assessment, it's the best opportunity we got.

Recommendations here.
Please make your submission - the clock is ticking!
I could not have said it any better myself. Here is the link with all the information on how to submit your comments. Let's make our voices heard! 
Martin Graf

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