Dear Senator Stoker,
Having reviewed your recent Facebook posts and related Senate Estimate transcripts, I have the following questions:
You seem in favour of thoughtful public debate in universities, but do you want it on your Facebook page? If so, what form should it take? How would you like to see it developed? There are plenty of your fans on your Facebook page making comments like:
"Amanda .. you are the best thing that has happened to the Senate for a long time!"
"You’re amazing Senator. We are blessed to have you!"
... which I think would be perfectly legitimate if you see your Facebook page as a fan club. Is that how you see it? If so - ok, just say so. But then, where (in a fast-moving world) is the right place for civil debate and constructive thinking on matters of national interest? I'm not sure that parliamentary inquiries in their current form are the right answer - they are just too cumbersome and slow.
It is your choice, of course, but I would be careful not to use the Federal Parliament and the people who work there as merely display props. eg. Do you think your video featuring Deputy Secretary Learmonth treated him with dignity? If so, I invite you to consider a comment made by one of your fans:
"The gentleman (?) being questioned obviously is as weak as piss.... cant hear anything he says... is he afraid of answering incorrectly and getting caught out?.. and what is the man sitting next to Amanda doing on his phone?"
In your enthusiasm to advance your own profile, you appear to be taking down not just senior officials but even your own party colleagues!
I appreciate that you have a busy schedule, but this email is important and I hope you answer it soon.
Thanks for your considered email.
Like you, I’d like open, civil debate that is also respectful. I’m happy for Facebook debate, but only occasionally monitor it; as you’d expect I’m often busy with other duties.
I always try and lead by example by treating others with courtesy, even on contentious issues.
|Senator Amanda Stoker
|5 Nov 2019
|Response from Senator Stoker