I’m a Queenslander – born and bred and I have lived in Brisbane all my life. I have family in Brisbane, mostly on my father’s side, and family in Townsville, mostly on my mother’s side. I don’t particularly hold a sense of ‘pride’ in being a Queenslander. It’s simply a fact. What I am proud of is the fact that I have instilled in me a set of values that say we should help out those less fortunate than ourselves; vulnerable people who are struggling to live in the way I’m privileged to live.

Before being tucked into a safer bed than her own last night, with the threat of a cyclone imminent, I was told my little cousin who’s 8 said a prayer as follows:

for all those in evacuation centres that have no home, family or friends to stay with, and for the Aboriginals who have no home, hoping they all got collected and are safe.

Outta the mouths of babes. From someone so young, what a heart of gold.

Therefore, I cannot comprehend the news I was forced to digest today, the day after a cyclone tore through North Queensland and the month after floods devastated my hometown.

Turns out Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has sent an email encouraging people to donate money to the Liberal Party’s campaign against the Government’s proposed flood levy. Er … what the hell?

That the Liberal Party is encouraging its members and supporters to donate funds to support an advocacy campaign against the flood levy defies belief. There’s a time and a place for advocacy campaigning. This is not it. This is a time for generosity. This is a time for philanthropy. This is a time for giving. The majority of Australians can afford to give to fellow Australians. Let’s put State and Territory boundaries aside and admit to each other that Queensland is going to need a leg up. Not only are everyday people hurting, but vulnerable people are hurting more than they usually are.

Greens leader Bob Brown sent an email a few weeks ago to members encouraging them to support the Premier’s Appeal.

GetUp, one of Australia’s biggest political advocacy movements, shunned their own advocacy campaigning and instead encouraged its supporters to support Lifeline’s Flood Appeal.

This is what makes sense.

If Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party don’t support the government’s proposed flood levy, that’s fine. They are entitled to that opinion. However, surely a better use of Abbott’s leadership would be to encourage his members and supporters to give as much as they can in a philanthropic fashion to the Premier’s Appeal or to those charities who are in it for the long haul to support these communities?

I cannot fathom the mindset of the person who made this strategic campaign decision. Is Abbott and his campaign team so far removed from the stories of hardship coming from Queensland that they feel it’s JUST to direct funds away from the flood relief effort and towards a campaign that’s fundamentally AGAINST the flood relief effort?

Here was I thinking the Liberal Party prided itself in the rhetoric that funding ought to go towards NGO ‘fieldwork’ and ‘services’ rather than NGO advocacy and here it is encouraging funds go to political advocacy rather than fieldwork! At a time when we should all be banding together and supporting community service provision!! Unconscionable!

I’m so pleased there are people in this world, like my beautiful little cousin, who still have compassion in their hearts – a fellow Queenslander with an instilled set of values. As someone who works in the community sector as a fundraiser, that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. Let’s hope she’s Prime Minister one day, not Tony Heartless Abbott.

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3 thoughts on “There’s a time and a place for advocacy campaigning. This is not it.

  1. The coalition are fundamentally mean spirited bastards — generous to a fault to the corporate sector and couldn’t give a rat’s about people unless they happen to be in marginal electorates. Abbot is being true to form

  2. The sad part is that a lot of people will end up donating to the Liberals instead of the flood relief for the simple fact that they don’t look carefully at who Abbott is and what he stands for…
    …aside from the immoral way in which they are conducting themselves, Abbott and the liberal party’s political ambitions are a bigger threat to Australia than these disasters combined.
    Right when people need to stick together more than ever he’s trying to selfishly and arrogantly divide public opinion for his own political ambitions…what a con job. People need to wake up to it quickly before this idiot does more damage to an already damaged nation…

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