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!