The Time for Healing is Now

The Rebuttal is known as a biff bang mag. We are sesion and awareness. Sometimes, perhaps, a line is crossed, but always the intent is to create debate, awareness and to hold those that make decisions on our behalf accountable. We certainly are not angels and have made mistakes, particularly this author (Gary) but the motive is not to hurt, more to inform and hold our representative organisations accountable.

We are not always angry. Sometimes we celebrate things like in our recent article “From Whence We Came”. Sometimes we vacate our platform and allow others to vent their spleen – the recent contributions from Rebekah Rose Mundy are an example of this. Always we air both sides of the story without censorship. One of our most controversial articles, From the Slums of Mumbiah, is a great example of open uninhibited debate. Go to the response to this article of the now departed CEO, Paul Flynn, and you will see that we are prepared to take what we dish out. It’s simply a case of , “People in glasshouses should not throw stones.”  We at The Rebuttal are not in a glasshouse, though I sometimes require a helmet and cricket box.

BUT there is a time when anger has to stop. You cannot be angry forever. There is a time when constant bickering and criticism becomes counter- productive and, certainly, I will put my hand up and say I have pushed the odd barrow for a bit too long. But it is not just me. Deafness Forum and Deaf Australia still have not resolved their differences. They are at least trying. It does not look like either side is going to give ground anytime soon but they are at least trying to find a way forward. The conflict between Deaf Australia and Deafness Forum is definitely counter-productive. BUT they are trying and that is the main thing and hopefully through trying they will find a way forward. It wont be anytime soon, there is much to resolve, but one needs to be upbeat. The time for healing is now.

I, for example, have been a heavy critic of the Deaf Service Australia concept. Earlier this year  Deaf Services Queensland ended their partnership with Deaf Children Australia.  Rather insensitively I wrote a savage I TOLD YOU SO type article. Was it necessary for me to write such an article? In hindsight, no. Whether you agreed with the concept of Deaf Services Australia or not the motive behind it was sound. Many people worked hard towards it feeling that it was the best thing possible for deaf people in Australia. A nationwide organisation, one brand and with consistent representation was the target. OK, it didn’t work, lots of money went down the drain, but the majority of people that worked towards a Deaf Services Australia did so because they thought it was a workable concept. There was no ulterior motive just people working towards a better Australia for Deaf people.

Were there benefits? Maybe there were. It was pointed out to me recently that it is possible that the Deaf Services Australia agenda led, in part, to the early intervention program announcements by Julia Gillard last week. It was pointed out that the presence of Deaf Services Australia in Queensland may have assisted, indirectly, to the $30 million Auslan program provided by the Queensland Education Department. Indeed without support from DCA it is possible that Deaf Services Queensland could have closed. (My observation) Maybe, maybe not – but the point is the Deaf Services Australia objective was sound. It is just the way that services and funding are delivered in Australia is not conductive to it at this time. Will this change in the future? Who knows.

The point is that while we have all been fighting, and again I put my hand up for my part in this, much has been achieved, particularly this year.  Look at what has been achieved with cinema captioning! Look at what has been achieved with the early intervention program announced by Julia Gillard!  In Victoria the Government allocated $9.2 million to improve education for the deaf! In all of this some not so great stuff has happened too. There are individuals who have been treated shabbily. There are things that have happened which are truly shameful that we can not comment on because of legal ramifications. BUT much has been achieved and we must celebrate these victories for they remind us that all of the hard work and heartache is, in the long run, worthwhile.

I know that there will be cynics but I don’t care – I was truly inspired by Kevin Rudd yesterday. Here is a man who has every right to be bitter and angry. Here is a man who has been treated like dirt by his colleagues. Here is a man who just a few days ago was in excruciating pain after having his gall bladder removed. And yet he found it within himself to get up and speak publicly and rally his party.  What courage it must have taken for him to face the nation after being unceremoniously dumped as the Prime Minister of the country. His personal turmoil must have been immense. Yet he spoke in support of his team and he did it with immense dignity. He forgave because he knows that there is a greater good.  He knew that the time for healing was now or otherwise everything that he and many others had worked so hard for could be lost. You can be a cynic about it if you want but for me his actions spoke volumes about his character.  If he can move on so too can we, the time for healing is now!

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7 thoughts on “The Time for Healing is Now

  1. Easy said than done Gary.

    The difference within the Deaf community is the so called Deaf Leaders dont have the gumption to acknowledge and show respect to those they have just gutted. And as long as they dont have the spine, they never will.

    In this instance Labor has continually acknowledge to so as far as Abbott stipulating their actions needs a lot to be desired.

    Unfortunately this community is too scared and frightened of our own so called leaders when in fact they have no bite just ability to manipulate and create negative stigma about them.

    Healing comes when those who knows true well their wrong doings and the harm they have created have the integrity to openly and publicly admit their inappropiate action. Just like the Sorry Day. Until that happens we will not move forward.

    We know true well who these people are and history will be written when and if they have the ability to own up, step down from their position and re-earn the stripes. Better those who have been harmed should be repositioned and elevated rather than be punished as result of the behaviour of others.

    Time heals all wounds but it remains not if but when. Probably when we are already six foot under.

    Thats reality.

    • Indeed it is easier said than done but someone or collectively the ball has to be set rolling. the start is to accept ones own failings and weakness and then to acknowledge the strengths and achievements of others. It cannot be done in a day but if man can put a robot on Mars surely it can be achieved.

    • Well I guess the ball is in their collective court to put their hands up and say acknowledge AOCA … I agree it should be done, and it isnt hard to do.

  2. Acknowledging our ‘victories’. I could not help but notice how deaf advocacy groups and a certain non-community advocacy organisation who were once telling the community to not reject the cinema exemption were quick to applaud themselves of the success of the new cinema proposal without any mention of other key players involved.

    I got a joint media release from Arts Access Victoria and Action On Cinema Access acknowledging Deaf Australia, Deafness Forum and Blind Citizen Australia efforts and then thanking the community for getting on the national campaign and making a lot of noise. Strangely, nothing was seen on DA, DF, or Media Access Australia’s release about them. I thought this campaign was a collective group effort or was it something different with each having its own individual agenda?

    I think we can learn a lot from what Arts Access Victoria and Action On Cinema Access of the importance of showing unity, respect rather than self interest. They copped a lot of criticism when they initiated the campaign but at the end the result was far better than anyone anticipated. Acknowledging and commending our effort as a collective group does lead to healing.

    The same applies with what we have witnessed between Deaf Australia and Deafness Forum. Hopefully we will see greater unity, rapid progress and massive outcomes beyond our wildest dreams sooner than we think.

  3. Is it unrealistic of me to tell DA & DF “Don’t try, just do it”?

    For far too long both DA & DF have had an uneasy relationship.

    Why should the Deaf and hard of hearing community expect that to continue? Why should anyone tolerate this?

    The solution is simple, put the CEO and Presidents of both organisations in a locked room until both can sign a memorandum of agreement/understanding before coming out with the aim of working together to achieve great things.

    It is ridiculous to compare this issue as akin to putting a robot on Mars!!

    Direct and honest face-to-face discussions with plenty of listening and a willingness to compromise is all it takes for both sides.

    I’m sure everyone will feel a lot better when both organisations support and respect each other.

    Don’t try, just do it now before it’s too late!

  4. Jesse and Michael hit the nail on the head.

    Whilst what Rudd has done may have been admirable, any Labor strategist would have worked out that he would be a major thorn in Labor side if they don’t engage in him and show unity.

    There is already unrest from Queensland over the way he was treated and Labor growing track record of undermining their leaders or seeing them jump ship before completing their full term is mounting every day.

    Just look at Carr, then Bracks and now Rudd. Will this be a common occurence?

    Labor knew they need to fix this quickly to win back the community confidence and restablish their credibility. Something that will never happen in the Deaf community.

    I am very sure that Rudd would not have said or done anything without some deal on the table. Foreign Affiars Minister suits him well but I bet there are other conditions on the table we will never know but should watch with great interest if Labor wins again.

    It would have been nice to see the same within the Deaf community. Certain number of credible and genuine/loyal Deaf people serving in the interest of the community who have vast knowledge and networks are not maximised. Why? because these rug pullers are scared of their capabilities, strengths and more worried about their own self ego. If they embraced these competent Deaf people and given them a fair and decent respect (like what Gillard is doing) we would be in far better shape now.

    But that may well be history and we shall watch what happens before the end of this year. Unfortunately we still seeing great divisions between a number of very influential, knowledgable, experienced and capable people. Thats, unlike Gillard/Rudd, is very poor leadership by these incompetent (and dare I say gutless) people.

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