So­ci­ety should make a com­pact with it­self on cyber-bul­ly­ing SA set en­ergy ex­am­ple

The Weekend Australian - - COMMENTARY -

The dis­tress­ing story of Amy Everett brings to the sur­face the evil of bul­ly­ing and the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of young peo­ple to its ef­fects (“Fam­ily mourns as Akubra Amy suc­cumbs to cy­ber­bul­ly­ing”, 11/1). While our young peo­ple must learn to be re­silient against the hurt and un­fair­ness that life will some­times deal to them, we should do ev­ery­thing in our power to en­able them to ad­dress bul­ly­ing while they are at school.

From ex­pe­ri­ence and re­search over many years as a teacher and prin­ci­pal, I learnt that bul­ly­ing is a com­plex and dif­fi­cult thing. It is as much about cul­ture as reg­u­la­tion, and at its core it is about the ways we treat one an­other.

Un­der­pin­ning rules and pro­to­cols should be an in­vi­o­lable covenant — some­thing that goes deeper and ap­peals to the hu­man spirit, not just the in­tel­lect. It should be worded some- thing like this: “I have the right to be treated with re­spect and dig­nity, and the re­spon­si­bil­ity to treat oth­ers in this way.” That would ap­ply equally to adults and young peo­ple in schools, what­ever their gen­der, ap­pear­ance, sex­u­al­ity or any other po­ten­tial dif­fer­ence. It must be con­stantly af­firmed. Nor­man Hunter, Chapel Hill, Qld A re­newed com­mit­ment to say no to bul­ly­ing is a noble aim of our Prime Min­is­ter in ref­er­ence to the death of 14 year-old Amy (Dolly) Everett.

Un­for­tu­nately, I fear this will go nowhere while our politi­cians con­tinue, on oc­ca­sions, their ven­omous tirades against each other.

There is no other de­scrip­tion for some of this be­hav­iour other than bul­ly­ing. The shout­ing and de­mean­ing re­marks are the hall­mark of the bully. This be­hav­iour in par­lia­ment is jus­ti­fied un­der the guise of the cut and thrust of pol­i­tics. The bul­lies jus­tify their be­hav­iour un­der the cut and thrust of life.

The Prime Min­is­ter, along with all mem­bers of par­lia­ment, must take the lead and show ev­ery­one that there can be no ex­empted jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for bul­ly­ing un­der any cir­cum­stances. Neil Mat­ter­son, By­ron Bay, NSW Mark But­ler as­sumes that by clos­ing our coal-fired power sta­tions and em­brac­ing wind­mills and so­lar pan­els we can have af­ford­able en­ergy (“PM lets Abbott sap his en­ergy as we strive for a clean fu­ture”, 12/1). At the mo­ment, South Aus­tralia has done that and it has the most ex­pen­sive en­ergy in the world.

Else­where in the world of san­ity, 62 coun­tries are build­ing or have in the plan­ning stage 1600 coal-fired power sta­tions, in­clud­ing Ja­pan build­ing 45 and South Korea 26. The dif­fer­ence be­tween these coun­tries and our­selves is that their politi­cians, have taken a close look at the science. They have con­cluded that wrong com­puter mod­els do not jus­tify the de­struc­tion of their economies and im­pos­ing a lower stan­dard of liv­ing on their cit­i­zens.

With a few ex­cep­tions, politi­cians in this coun­try have be­trayed their peo­ple and we are on the way to 50 per cent re­new­ables via the La­bor states who be­lieved Tim Flan­nery when he said the rains would never fill the dams again and built the use­less and ex­pen­sive de­sali­na­tion plants. Clive Bond, Wyn­num, Qld

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