Liberal Party apparatchik (my assumption given the constant raucous applause for everything Malcolm Cole said) were an absolute disgrace in the audience tonight at the Powerhouse forum.

A group behind me sighed loudly when a teenage girl got up to ask a question about Nyanda State High closing down – a young student who goes to the school.

And then they proceeded to loudly scoff and moan and sigh when she raised the issue of fellow students attempting suicide. I could not believe my ears.

It was absolutely disgraceful. The most disgraceful thing I’ve experienced on the campaign trail so far.

I followed up afterwards to check in with the girl’s mother to make sure the school had counsellors available – to make sure the kids were being cared for and looked after. They are.

While waiting to find all that out, I overheard a Liberal Party State MP talk at the mother and daughter in a heightened state of ‘trying to help them understand the process’. However well intentioned, it seemed to me as though it made the situation even worse.

How do I come to that conclusion?

Well, the courageous and amazing girl who had got up and asked the question got increasingly upset while being talked at rather than listened to by the politician. Then she had to again repeat the fact that one of the students at the school had attempted suicide.

It’s not an easy thing to say once let alone twice.¬†And it was just brushed aside by the politician who went on to quote facts and figures as though she was presenting a case to prove that Liberal Party were better than the Labor Party. Oh PLEASE. She totally missed the point. It was a bizarre exchange to observe.

Where was the conversation about the wellbeing of our kids?

Anyway, I didn’t have the floor tonight. I didn’t have a voice. Nor am I an elected MP, so what can I do?

So I told the girl I thought she was brave and amazing. We hugged. And I went on my way.

It sounds like the ‘waiting to know the fate of the school’ has been tough on the school community. My heart goes out to them.

Vote 1 Greens.

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