We need po­lit­i­cal straight shoot­ing

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

As the count­down to a Vic­to­rian elec­tion gath­ers mo­men­tum, we ap­peal to our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to tell us more about them­selves and what they plan to do if they win or main­tain power and less about their op­po­nents.

It is a sim­ple enough re­quest and we’re prob­a­bly kid­ding our­selves to ex­pect the idea to take hold.

At­tacks on po­lit­i­cal pol­icy and process, while essen­tial in struc­tured par­lia­men­tary de­bate, eas­ily de­gen­er­ate into grubby and puerile one-up­man­ship.

Neg­a­tive-mes­sage me­dia cam­paigns, while ef­fec­tive when done well in the past, are some­thing many of us these days im­me­di­ately see through as bor­ing name-call­ing. There is lit­tle skill in much of the mod­ern cam­paign method­ol­ogy and some of us, as we try to sift through rhetor­i­cal lan­guage, also hate it with a pas­sion.

Okay, if a po­lit­i­cal party is per­ceived to have done some­thing that at­tracts ob­vi­ous crit­i­cism while in power, or the op­po­si­tion has taken a stance based on a sim­i­lar premise, then cir­cum­stance or a point of view needs ex­plain­ing. It is the next part of an ar­gu­ment that re­veals de­grees of sub­stance.

‘What will you do for us if we vote for you and how will you make it work?’ are the sim­ple fol­low-on ques­tions Victoria’s swing­ing-vote Jill and Joe Av­er­ages want an­swered as they pon­der over the ap­proach­ing bal­lot.

Please politi­cians, have re­spect for each other, get rid of petty fin­ger-point­ing and smoke and mir­rors and make sure you give us some­thing we as vot­ers can le­git­i­mately use when we go to the polls on Novem­ber 24.

We’ve writ­ten in the past about why we must try to un­der­stand and sup­port sci­en­tific re­search and projects in our part of the world, re­gard­less of how ob­scure they might seem.

For ex­am­ple, the ef­fort that has gone into re­search­ing a tiny pop­u­la­tion of platy­puses in the north­ern Grampians might, to some, seem ex­treme. Why are they so im­por­tant?

Ev­ery now and then we are blessed with in­for­ma­tion that tends to put this type of ac­tiv­ity into per­spec­tive.

Apart from be­ing a mam­malian cu­rios­ity, which can also help us gain an idea of wa­ter­way health, lat­est re­search has also re­vealed that the platy­pus might have an­other ma­jor role to play.

A break­through by Aus­tralian sci­en­tists has placed the monotreme front and cen­tre in the global fight against an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance.

In 2010 sci­en­tists dis­cov­ered that platy­pus milk con­tained unique an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties. Now a team of CSIRO re­searchers work­ing with Deakin Univer­sity have solved a puzzle that helps ex­plain why platy­pus milk is so po­tent.

It turns out that it is a spe­cial protein in platy­pus milk, which has evolved through gen­er­a­tional ex­po­sure to the en­vi­ron­men­tal bac­te­ria based on the an­i­mals ex­press­ing the liq­uid through skin in­stead of teats, that packs the punch.

This might ul­ti­mately lead to new drugs that help save hu­man lives and rea­son enough to study this amaz­ing crea­ture! What else is out there?

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