Raising the BARR – Week ending 5 April 2019

Surprise Election Win Considering the Amount of Hate Out There

Can I start my first column, post-election, by thanking the many people that voted to support my bid to serve the community for the next 4 years.  It has been an honour these past 8 years and I am sure will be an ongoing honour over the coming 4 years.

I also want to thank and acknowledge the other Candidates in the election that put their life on hold and put their names on a ballot paper – it is an exhausting and thankless task that actually takes great courage.

And for all of the volunteers that manned booths and helped the various Candidates in the background – thank you too.  You all play an important role in democracy and sometimes this leads to an inappropriate amount of judgement and insult.

But I must confess, in the weeks leading up to the Election there was so much hate and anger and insult being levelled against me, using online social media, that I assumed that I was one of the great villains of our community and extremely unlikely to win.  And I sincerely and honestly don’t know what I have done to deserve such hatred.

As an MP I typically work on at least 6 days of the week and average 60+ hours each week.  I travel more than 40,000km’s each year in my car.  I am away from my home and family for approximately 120 nights per year and probably not home to see my family during the afternoons-evenings for an additional 100 nights of the year.  And I make no complaint about any of this – I stuck my hand up.

To receive online hate comments that suggest that I am lazy, that I do nothing, that I am only in it for myself, that I am riding on some gravy train, that I am never in the community and/or that I don’t care; this all just does not make any sense.  And generally speaking, these same online hate comments, while being very good at abuse and insult, almost never offer any ideas about a different way to do things or make suggestions about a new way forward.

On the bright side, in complete contrast to the haters, there have been a number of people jump online and offer sensible suggestions on things I could change about my work and our wonderful community, as well as offering a small dose of reality check for the haters.

Also on a positive note, after the Election I have had an absolute barrage of well wishes from all quarters across our community.  Thank you to these wonderful people that have helped restore my self-confidence and made me realise that I am not a dastardly villain.  I guess that it has helped me to realise that the haters are a minority group with little regard for responsibility, while having a high regard for their own right to deliver vile, in this wonderful democracy of ours.

And despite feeling the pain of being forced to vote, try to imagine how bad things could be if you didn’t get the chance to vote or if that you were murdered in your efforts to cast a vote, as happens in some countries around this world of ours.