Have you ever tried to enter into dialogue with a politician? Beyond lining up at your local public school to waste a bunch of stupidly-shaped paper once every three years, that is? Until very recently, me neither.
Last week, however, marked the culmination of a two month long exchange between me and the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy. What began as a simple online submission form on Josh Frydenberg's website gradually evolved into the most tedious and demotivating communicative experience I have ever had.
So I was a cuppla cheekies' deep when I decided to jump online and find contact details for the 'honourable' Josh Frydenberg - Minister for the Environment - who at the time was busy posting pictures of himself on social media visiting prospective coal mines with a big Trump-esque grin on his face. Ending up on his website, I filled out a form with my name, contact details and a politely-worded inquiry (legit). It was April 22nd, and off it went.
I didn't expect much/anything to come of it. Sure enough, I heard nothing for three full weeks before receiving a letter in the mail - literally a piece of printed paper delivered in the post, from the Department of the Environment(?!) - in "response" to what I had sent.
Unsurprisingly, it was complete garbage. Assembled by a faceless staffer via multiple copy-and-pasted paragraphs, it gave some brief background to what I was inquiring about, followed by a full page of meaningless nonsense about the government's renewable energy targets.
Everything but an actual answer; basically I got fobbed off, hard, and the most shocking thing about it was that I wasn't shocked at all.
Nowhere was anything that remotely resembled a specific response to my inquiry! Or so far as I could remember, anyway; see it had been so long since my original message, I couldn't even remember what it specifically was. Figuring I'd better look it up to see just how irrelevant this letter was, the plot then thickened. Upon scouring my email for it, I realised I had never actually been sent a copy.
In my experience, filling out online forms usually results in an annoyingly immediate receipt sent to your nominated email acknowledging the specifics of your inquiry, but back in April this hadn't happened.
Hmm. At the time I submitted it, I hadn't noticed. But now, holding a shitty, regurgitated letter in my hand, completely fobbed off and with nothing to show for it, it irritated me. A lot.
Not interested in making a target of myself however, I sat on my hands for ten days before deciding I was spooked out enough by the whole thing that it was worth phoning up for a copy of my original message.
It took four phone calls across three weeks to finally receive an email with that message attached. I'm not sure where or why miscommunications lay in the interim. It seemed I was simply forgotten about twice, then sent a digital copy of their response, before eventually getting what I was actually asking for. Considering that all I was asking for was a copy of my original message, I couldn't believe how difficult the whole process was.
Anyway. It's all said and done now, and both my original message and the snail-mail response are below for all to see.
I'm putting this up as a transparent offering to others who might wonder what political participation really means in modern Australia. Like I said, this was the most tedious and demotivating communicative experience of my life to date. Obviously I know I am just one of many millions in this country, but there is something particularly depressing about having the silence of your voice and redundancy of your opinions reinforced by your own government.
But fuggit, it's not worth being upset about any longer; don't hate the game, just learn to play it better, right?
Yep, look out you Canberra scumbags.
I'm comin for ya.
#everydaygreen #everydaygreenie #therealEPA