dipping her toe in the water

>As part of my News and Politics subject I’ve had to conduct interviews with various people. For my current assignment I needed to speak to at least one politician about a political subject. I found it’s not so easy to get to these people as you might think.

Initially I had trouble getting through to ABC political journalist, Annabel Crabb, one of my heroes but, I thought, much to famous to talk to me. I wasn’t able to reach her by the usual ABC channels so in the end I tweeted her. She replied quickly and called me for a chat. I was so excited I could hardly breathe. Silly I suppose but after 20 years at home with my kids, it was a red letter day for me. Annabel was, as I had expected, intelligent, articulate and absolutely gracious. I got a really good interview and have high hopes for this assignment.

Getting to a politician proved harder. Bob Brown’s minders wouldn’t let me near him and Malcolm Turnbull wouldn’t even reply to my emails. I decided I needed to downgrade. As I am writing about politicans using Twitter, I tracked down Shayne Neumann, one of only six Qld federal politicians who uses Twitter. Parliament is sitting this week but I managed to book an interview and, yesterday, Shayne called from Canberra.

Former lawyer and second-term ALP member for Blaire, Shayne Neumann is a very interesting fellow. I quickly got through my 10 questions and that was all good. But Shayne generously allowed us to wandering into other conversation. We talked about same-sex marriage, euthanasia, refugees, Tony Abbott and party politics. We discussed the undemocratic nature of conscience voting, the hung parliament, feminism, feminists and social justice issues. I learned a great deal about the Labor Party and have a renewed respect for hard working MPs.

Actually, talking to Shayne was a real thrill. It was encouraging to converse with such an intelligent, articulate, political moderate. I’m feeling more and more encouraged that there may be some way I can understand and participate in the world after all. And for someone who is trying not to have too many opinions, I found I have quite a few. I’m starting to really enjoy this.


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