Former PM and Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs, Tony Abbott MP visits Cherbourg
Former PM and Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs, Tony Abbott MP visits Cherbourg Matt Collins

OPINION: Much more transparency needed from politicians

I APPLAUD Cherbourg residents for making their voices heard during Tony Abbott's visit yesterday.

Sometimes, an unexpected confrontation feels like the only way to get one's point across, especially when it comes to politicians.

As a member of the media, I know how difficult and frustrating it can be to get a straight answer out of a public official.

Even when a response to a question does come back (and often it doesn't come at all), it is a carefully constructed, media-ready reply.

The filters are placed on well and truly before the politicians step outside their office, and media training is so obvious at times, it almost seems humorous.

We have all seen this first-hand when watching politicians speak during television interviews.

Even the most candid moments are often set up to appear that way.

As a journalist I have regularly found myself frustrated at the media processes I have to go through to access what should be public information from every level of government, often to no avail.

For the Cherbourg community, Mr Abbott's visit would have been incredibly frustrating.

They were given no opportunity to have their voices heard, and instead officials spoke in their

place.

Mr Abbott did suggest a community meeting would be set up in future, but there is no guarantee this will happen.

There is no denying there are serious concerns all throughout the South Burnett and Cherbourg that need to be addressed.

There needs to be a way members of the public can know they are being genuinely heard by those elected to represent them.

South Burnett

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