I LIVE AND work in the poorest electorate in the poorest state in the country, on the north-west coast of Tasmania. It may be beautiful, with the cleanest air in the world – Cape Grim beef chew the cud peacefully up the road, abalone on the rocks – however, the negative social indicators are off the dial: obesity, school retention, intergenerational welfare dependency, rural male suicide and family violence.
I’ve spent a quarter of a century in this community working with social change company Big hART, delivering projects to help prevent violence and then exporting these projects nationally. Over that time the taxpayer has invested in our approach and the organisation has been acknowledged with eight Coalition of Australian Governments Violence Prevention Awards and a World Health Organisation Safe Community Award. A less violent culture would be much easier to encourage – in which fewer coward punches are thrown, fewer women die, fewer children are damaged by violent mothers, fewer husbands receive stick wounds, fewer people are bullied and hazed in workplace port-a-loos, and fewer kids shy away from participation in the classroom – if policing was consistent across all sections of the community, especially in those areas of public life that hothouse public opinion, such as big media and the big business of sport.
Already a subscriber? Sign in here