law reform

Guest Post: Why I’m shutting down the bail laws petition: lone-wolf activism reconsidered.

Single issue petitions on websites like Change.org, and others of their ilk, tend to be focused on the simplest messages one can extract from an issue. The hardest line and most sensational language is encouraged to guarantee two things: the most possible signatures, and bountiful media coverage. On first glance that seems like a good thing, but what is missed with this push?

My understandable, human and heartfelt response to the tragedy of the Sydney siege was all of those things, but only those things. It was informed by my own past trauma, which are legitimate parts of the conversation but not the whole of it. It was not nuanced or critiqued, and it did not engage in community consultation. I simply said aloud and formally what many were feeling, before the facts had come into play. Swept into a maelstrom of commentary and an unanticipated furious public response, I was left reeling and scrambling to begin the consultation that should have been the foundation of any campaign.