Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

A NSW Northern Rivers perspective on the 18 May 2019 Australian federal election results

A political and social perspective in thirteen tweets........

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Speaking truth about “the rightness of whiteness”

The Guardian, 3 April 2019:

The Labor senator and Yawuru man Pat Dodson spoke about the links between Australia’s massacre history and the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, while addressing the censure motion against Fraser Anning in the Senate.

The motion condemned Anning for his “inflammatory and divisive comments seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion, which do not reflect the opinions of the Australian Senate or the Australian people.”

Dodson said Indigenous people carry the consequence of murderous prejudice “throughout our entwined history”.

 “First Nations’ peoples … know the impacts of murder wilfully carried out and morally justified by hatred of minorities, misplaced power and bullying superiority,” Dodson said.

“In Gurindji country, they talk of the Killing Times.

“Mounted Constable Willshire was stationed at Victoria River Downs in the 1890s. He was a mass murderer in uniform, who took it upon himself to protect the interests of cattlemen by dispersing the traditional owners of the lands at gunpoint.

“He took to print, justifying his actions with boastful pride and emboldened by the rightness of whiteness and condemned the First Nations’ people to death.
“Willshire wrote about the killing on Wave Hill: ‘It’s no use mincing matters. The Martini-Henry carbines at the critical moment were talking English in the silent majesty of these eternal rocks.’”

Dodson said he has walked through some of the sites of mass murder in Australia with descendants of the victims and “sometimes too with the descendants of murderers.”

“In South Australia I visited a monument erected by both sides in the small community of Elliston to commemorate the mass murder of men, women and children pushed over the steep sea cliffs by charging horsemen and barking dogs.
“I have visited the sites of massacres, of mass murders in Balgo, in Forrest River, and at Coniston. Those mass murders took place in living memory.

“I have sat down with old Warlpiri men and women who luckily survived those murderous attacks as young babies, hidden from the attacks.

“1928 was not that long ago. My mother was just seven years old.

“But we are in 2019 now and a mass murderer, rejecting the richness of difference, driven by religious hatred and xenophobia, empowered by military-style weapons, has waged his atrocity in Christchurch,” Dodson said.

“The murder of 50 innocent people does not just happen. It arises from the feeding of hate, irresponsible language and the demonising of people of colour, and difference.
“We know, and senator Anning knows, the real cause of the bloodshed in Christchurch. The real cause was prejudice, hate, and a passion for violent action, aided and abetted by the availability of military-style weapons.

“We call out those who exploit fear and ignorance for political gain: who mock the traditional dress of women of another culture; who seek donations from the manufacturers of weapons of war to override our own laws; who argue that it is “alright to be white”.

“Their values would plunge our country back into the Killing Times.

“We should instead turn our face to the light of a new future, a peaceful, non-violent, tolerant country of hope, respect and unity.

“A country where no innocent man, women or child is ever again the victim of mass murder.”

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Est. 32 per cent of Australian farmers still haven't come to grips with the reality of climate change

ABC News, 31 March 2019:

When the Reserve Bank announced recently that it was factoring climate change into interest rate calculations, it underlined a mainstream acceptance of potential impacts for a warming planet.

Climate change now had economic consequences.

But resistance to the premise of human-induced climate change still rages, including in regional and rural communities, which often are the very communities already feeling its effects.

"When you look at the results of different surveys going back a few years, farmers were four times more likely than the national average to be climate change deniers," said Professor Mark Howden, director at the ANU's Climate Change Institute.

"That was about 32 per cent versus about 8 per cent for the population average."

So, why do so many people in regional and rural areas not believe in climate change?
ABC Central West's Curious project put that question to some experts, who say the answer has more to do with human nature than scientific reasoning.

Professor Matthew Hornsey from the University of Queensland has dedicated his academic career to understanding why people reject apparently reasonable messages.

"The metaphor that's used in my papers is around what we call cognitive scientists versus cognitive lawyers," he said.

"What we hope people do when they interpret science is that they weigh it up in an independent way and reach a conclusion.

"But in real life, people behave more like lawyers, where they have a particular outcome that they have in mind and then they selectively interpret the evidence in a way that prosecutes the outcome they want to reach.

"So you selectively expose yourself to information, you selectively critique the information, you selectively remember the information in a way that reinforces what your gut is telling you."

This is known as motivated reasoning — and online news source algorithms and social forums are only enabling the phenomenon, allowing for further information curation for the individual…..

Professor Hornsey says there is another force fanning the flames of distrust between the scientific and non-scientific communities.

"One thing that can be said without huge amounts of controversy is that there is a relationship between political conservatism and climate scepticism in Australia," he said.

To better understand this, the professor's research took him to 27 countries and found that for two-thirds of these, there was no relationship between being politically conservative and a climate science sceptic.

But Australia's relationship between the two trailed only the United States in strength of connection, he said.

"What we were seeing was the greater the per-capita carbon emissions of a country, the greater that relationship between climate scepticism and conservatism."

Professor Hornsey argues that per-capita carbon emissions is an indicator for fossil fuel reliance, which in turn creates greater stakes for the vested interests at play.

"When the stakes are high and the vested interests from the fossil fuel community are enormous, you see funded campaigns of misinformation, coaching conservatives what to think about climate change," he said.

"That gets picked up by conservative media and you get this orchestrated, very consistent, cohesive campaign of misinformation to send the signal that the science is not yet in."…..

Professor Hornsey believes current discourse can make farmers feel as though they are at the centre of an overwhelming societal problem, triggering further psychological rejection of the science.

"I feel sorry for farmers around the climate change issue, because this is a problem that has been caused collectively.

"Farmers are only a small part of the problem but they are going to be a huge part of the solution, so I think they feel put upon.

"They feel like they are constantly being lectured about their need to make sacrifices to adapt to a set of circumstances that are largely out of their control."

In 2010, in response to a drought policy review panel, the Commonwealth initiated a pilot of drought reform measures in Western Australia.

John Noonan from Curtin University led the program, which went on to have staggering success in converting not only participating farmers' attitudes to climate science, but also in restructuring their farm management models in response to a changing climate.

"First of all, when talking with farmers, we didn't call it the drought pilot — we used the name Farm Resilience Program," Mr Noonan said.

"If you go in to beat people up and have a climate change conversation, you get nowhere.

"We got the farmers to have conversations about changing rainfall patterns and continuing dry spells, rather than us telling them what to do.

"And they told us everything that we needed them to tell us for us to reflect that back to them and say, 'Well, actually, that's climate change'.

"If you take a very left-brain, very scientific approach to these matters, you are going nowhere, and what we used was very right-brain, very heart and gut-driven — and it worked."

Mr Evans agrees, underscoring the deeply personal connection farmers have to the land, its role in their business approach, and why the message must be managed psychologically rather than scientifically.

"Ultimately, for a farmer to confront the reality that this new climate might be permanent, requires them to go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance."

The full article can be read here.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Serco operated high security prison in Queensland found to be one of two privately run gaols at risk of significant corruption

This is what Serco says of itself at

Serco is trusted by governments and organisations around the world to transform and deliver essential services. Employing over 50,000 people, we operate across more than 20 countries in Justice, Immigration, Health, Transport, Defence, and Citizen Services.

Serco provides essential justice services in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, from the safe and secure operation of prisons, young adult, and escorting services, to managing the reintegration of ex-offenders into society. We help governments deliver a more efficient and effective justice system, by employing the best people, getting the basics right, championing service innovations, and forming community partnerships. 

By taking a rehabilitative approach to justice, we help to make it less likely that people will return to the criminal justice system, help to rebuild lives, and reduce the financial and wider costs of crime to the public…….

Serco has been operating correctional services in Australia for almost 15 years. As a prison operator, safety and security is always our first priority. The new Clarence Correctional Centre is our most recent contract, which will begin operations in 2020. Once completed, this 1,700-bed state-of-the-art facility will be the largest correctional centre in Australia. 

The Clarence Correctional Centre is being delivered by the NSW Government in partnership with the Northern Pathways Consortium. To learn more about the project visit

This is the current reality in Australia…..

Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 28 March 2019:

The Queensland Government has announced that it will spend $111million over the next four years, returning two privately run prisons to state management.

The Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre and the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre (SQCC), two high-security prisons, are currently run by private operators. 

However the Government will now take over these contracts in response to recommendations from the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Taskforce Flaxton, which last year conducted an investigation into the entire Queensland prison system.
The post-investigation report was scathing as a whole, finding a string of systemic issues, that put prisons ‘at risk of significant corruption.’

These included over-crowding, excessive use of force, misuse of authority, introduction of contraband and inappropriate relationships all within prison walls. The report also found that the number of assaults on staff was higher at privately run facilities, due to lower staff numbers and therefore less supervision.

The South East Queensland Correctional Centre is run by Serco.....

Serco came under fire in 2017 after the release of the Paradise Papers which detailed that Serco’s UK lawyers expressed written concerns that their client had been engaging in fraud, covering up the abuse of detainees at Australian detention centres, and even mishandling radioactive waste. The firm described Serco as a “high-risk” organisation with a “history of problems, failures, fatal errors and overcharging”.

Internationally, the company runs prisons in the UK and New Zealand. In Australia it has been operating for more than 15 years, managing prisons in Western Australia and Queensland as well as 11 immigration centres. It also holds several defence contracts and is currently building a mega-correctional facility near Grafton in New South Wales.

The Clarence Correctional Centre roughly 12 km from Grafton, NSW is due to open in June 2020.

Hopefully UK based Serco Group Pty Ltd through its subsidiary Serco Australia Pty Limited will by then have addressed all the issues in its chequered past.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Quote of the Week

“People generally conform to the mores of their society, and if they believe racism to be acceptable they are more likely to behave in a racist way. Racist concepts are kept alive through communication of racist viewpoints and social mediation and the use of racist scapegoating as acceptable aspects of political debate. Where there is ‘social permission’ to be racist, racism is a permissible way of releasing frustrations and aggression. Conversely, discouraging racist attitudes and behaviour is likely to cause racism to decrease.”  [Tamsan Clarke, February 2005, RACISM, PLURALISM AND DEMOCRACY IN AUSTRALIA: Re-conceptualising racial vilificationlegislation]

Friday, 22 March 2019

"Please don’t run away from this so fast we fail to learn anything by it. Call out racism. Call out bigotry. Then call it out again, and again."

The Daily Examiner, 20 March 2019, p.28:

The Grafton community is in shock, left heartbroken after news that Friday’s terrorist attack in New Zealand was perpetrated by a man who grew up here.

So it’s understandable we want to try to distance ourselves from what is now one of the worst mass killings in modern history.

We feel for our city, we feel for the local family caught up in this, and we feel for the people of New Zealand.

What is apparent though is a lack of acknowledgement of the people who were specifically targeted in this murderous rampage. Muslims. People, including children as young as two, who were killed because of their faith and their race.

And don’t for one minute think it’s not about race, it’s a package deal for white supremacists, and the 28-year-old who grew up here is one of those.

So why do Clarence Valley spokespeople gloss over such details like they are trivial facts in this horrendous story?

If a Middle Eastern gunman of Muslim faith walked into a Catholic church in Australia and open fired on white Christian families there would be no such leniencies extended to the perpetrator or his ilk in the conversations that follow.

But here we are in protection mode. This isn’t our Grafton. This isn’t our Australia. 

This isn’t us. Which is correct if we judge the perpetrator only on his actions on Friday.

But we have to come to terms with the fact these things don’t happen overnight. There is an innate beginning to a journey that takes you to a place where you are capable of planning an attack of this level of calculation and carnage, write an extensive manifesto to showcase the act, film it and broadcast it live, and, after being captured, smirk to the media as you face the first of the many legal consequences of your actions.

So if it’s not us, who is it? Pakistan, Finland, any other country? Is it the internet or social media? Computer games? Is it the moment he left Grafton? The moment he was ‘radicalised’?

Ultimate responsibility lies with our society and the attitudes we foster. The conversations we have and behaviours we encourage and allow.

Everything contributes to this. What we hear from governments, what we hear from the media, what we hear from our family and friends. What we are exposed to growing up, what we talk about when we are old, the messages we share in pubs and on social media.

So in the Clarence, our Muslim-free narrative is very telling. So, too, the idealistic version we create of ourselves.

Please stop telling me how wonderful this place is. I already know it is; as long as you look like me, you go OK.

But describing the Clarence Valley and Grafton as a diverse and multicultural region that prides itself on being inclusive, while it makes a great sound bite or quote in a news story there is plenty to fault in these broad overviews with little evidence to back them up.

About 80 per cent of Grafton is made up of white people and more than 70 per cent identify as Christian (national averages are 65 per cent and 52 per cent respectively). 

Our demographic is made up of Australians, English, Irish, Scottish and Germans predominantly. Our indigenous population falls under the Australian component and makes up 7.4per cent of that, representing the major group as far as our cultural diversity goes. It is more than double the state average at 2.9per cent. Our representation of other people of colour is negligible by comparison.*

So to call us a culturally diverse place is a stretch. Inclusiveness is easy when we all look the same and have the same beliefs.

Our indigenous locals may have a different take on what that looks like.

When it comes to sport and the arts, sure we champion inclusiveness with First Nations people, but when we are really tested, like we were with the Coutts Crossing name debate, we demonstrate a low tolerance. Same with national issues like changing the date of Australia Day.

When our Citizen of the Year expressed her support of that in her acceptance speech she received random boos from an audience that also included members of our indigenous community.

Every October when we are – to quote someone well known for her lack of regard for other races – “swamped with Asians”, our lack of tolerance for the influx of visitors eager to photograph our beautiful trees is demonstrated with the barrage of abuse they receive from passing motorists.

But it’s not about race, they’re just idiots standing in the way, right? Like the booing of Adam Goodes wasn’t because he was an Aborigine, he was just a bad sport.

What if the Muslim community came en masse to Grafton to mourn their slain? What if they came to a town where they don’t exist?

It’s impossible to have all those other conversations about our wonderful town without having this one.

As difficult as it is, not mentioning the war as we wait for things to blow over isn’t an option. It’s no longer Grafton’s story to tell, or its agenda to set. The city will forever wear a horrific international act of terrorism as part of its story and in its history books.

Interest will follow us for a long time as the world learns who the perpetrator was, what kind of place he grew up in and how he ended up committing an act of hatred so obscene it stopped the world.

Like all the official spokespeople out there, I too love the Clarence Valley, but I’m not blindsided by that affection so much I believe we are incapable of being a breeding ground for racism. We aren’t the only Australian town to have this potential, but we are the town caught up in this mess.

Please don’t run away from this so fast we fail to learn anything by it. Call out racism. Call out bigotry. Then call it out again, and again.

*2016 ABS Census


Thursday, 21 March 2019

Will Australian voters swallow Scott Morrison’s hypocritical volte-face?

In opposition or in government it didn't matter to Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, he happily hammered home the message that boat people, asylum seekers and Muslims migrants were or could be a threat to the nation and to every Australian. 

This self-confessed admirer of Donald Trump began his faux election campaign the day he took office shortly after the palace coup removed then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and, almost from the start there has been speculation that he was hoping that his rhetoric would goad someone into committing a violent act of terrorism.

These snapshots below are taken from 15 March 2019 televised remarks by Morrison barely hiding his glee that he finally had the pre-federal election terrorist attack he had been dog whistling for - even if the fact that this muderous attack was made on people at prayer in two New Zealand mosques allegedly at the hands of an Australian meant he had to do a 360 turn on who he could blame.

Snapshots by @sarah_jade_ 
 Mainstream media has noted the change the change of campaign tactics .......

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 March 2019:

Something the Prime Minister said on Friday has been gnawing at me. For the most part, his statements in the immediate aftermath of the obscenity in New Zealand were admirably clear. He identified the victims: those of Islamic faith. He also clearly labelled the attack for what it was, a “vicious and callous right-wing extremist attack”…..

But another of the Prime Minister’s comments warrants attention. Speaking of the Australian gunman, he said: “These people don't deserve names. Names imply some sort of humanity and I struggle to find how anyone who would engage in this sort of behaviour and violence … He’s not human. He doesn't deserve a name."

I can well understand Morrison’s reaction. Watching him respond, it was clear he was moved, and disgusted. And of course I share that disgust.

But think for a moment about the implications of such rhetoric. This man is not even human, the Prime Minister tells us. He is alien, almost literally another species, and therefore illegible to us, the humans. He is not like us.

Perhaps, at the moment he fired the gun, that became true. But what about just before that moment - was he human then, and inhuman afterwards? Did he go from being comprehensible to incomprehensible in the blink of an eye? Of course the implication of Morrison’s words is that he was always different: never one of us, always already separate.

But this is a fairytale – and like most fairytales, it is there to comfort, with its suggestion that such violence must have nothing to do with the rest of us. The Prime Minister meant well. But what he said was absolute rot.

The point has been made elsewhere that anti-Islamic sentiment is rife in our politics, and that violence is its logical endpoint. It is a crucial point, it can’t be made enough,…. But right now I want to briefly examine another dominant strand of Australian politics.

A few weeks ago, the political world was aflutter with a single question: was this Scott Morrison’s Tampa moment? And we know, because Morrison told us, that he wanted it to be: “Australians will be deciding once again - as they did in 2013, as they did in 2001 - about whether they want the stronger border protection policies of…” and you can guess the rest.

The phrase "strong borders" is heard often in our political debate, but much of the time, especially when you live on an island, borders are abstractions – imaginary lines drawn on literally shifting seas. The vague and nonsense phrase is of course a euphemism, meaning "we are very good at keeping people out". And when is this an important skill? When the people to be kept out pose some threat. The beauty of "strong borders" is that it says all of that in two words.

The same goes for "Tampa moment", which in fact includes three separate events: Tampa, then September 11, then children overboard. Howard’s election campaign blended these events into one overarching narrative. The demonisation of refugees as ruthless people who would kill their own children and who might kill you was not a side-effect of the strategy, it was the strategy.

Howard argues that he would have won without Tampa. But it doesn’t really matter, because the real damage was not done at that election. As people like Peter Brent have argued, the real damage is the lingering belief that this is how elections are won. Emphasise strong borders, emphasise the threat.

Morrison’s absorption of that lesson is there for anyone to see. It was there in his comments in 2012 that asylum seekers might cause a typhoid outbreak. It was there last week when he warned that asylum seekers might be paedophiles or murderers or rapists, and when he backed Peter Dutton’s assertion that they would take housing and hospital spots from Australians. And it was there in his recent security speech, when he introduced the section on terrorism with reference to just one, specific type: “radical extremist Islamist terrorism.”

If our political leaders remain intent on depicting a world in which people from other countries bring disease, hatred, and violence to our shores, can they really be so shocked when it turns out that is precisely the world some people believe in?
[my yellow highlighting]

The Guardian, 17 March 2019:

There’s been less reflection on the fact that any 28-year-old in Australia has grown up in a period when racism, xenophobia and a hostility to Muslims in particular, were quickly ratcheting up in the country’s public culture. 

In the period of the country’s enthusiastic participation in the War on Terror, Islam and Muslims have frequently been treated as public enemies, and hate speech against them has inexorably been normalised.

Australian racism did not of course begin in 2001. The country was settled by means of a genocidal frontier war, and commenced its independent existence with the exclusion of non-white migrants. White nationalism was practically Australia’s founding doctrine.

But a succession of events in the first year of the millennium led to Islamophobia being practically enshrined as public policy.

First, the so-called Tampa Affair saw a conservative government refuse to admit refugees who had been rescued at sea. It was a naked bid to win an election by whipping up xenophobia and border panic. It worked.

In the years since, despite its obvious brutality, and despite repeated condemnations from international bodies, the mandatory offshore detention of boat-borne refugees in third countries has become bipartisan policy. (The centre-left Labor party sacrificed principle in order to neutralise an issue that they thought was costing them elections.)

The majority of the refugees thus imprisoned have been Muslim. It has often been suggested by politicians that detaining them is a matter of safety – some of them might be terrorists.

Second, the 9/11 attacks drew Australia into the War on Terror in support of its closest ally, and geopolitical sponsor, the United States.

Australian troops spent long periods in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting and killing Muslims in their own countries. The consequences of this endless war have included the targeting of Australians in Jihadi terror attacks and plots, both at home and abroad.

The wars began with a deluge of propaganda. Later, the terror threat was leveraged to massively enhance surveillance by Australia’s national security state. Muslim Australians have frequently been defined by arms of their own government as a source of danger.

Two years after the war in Iraq commenced, the campaign of Islamophobia culminated in the country’s most serious modern race riots, on Cronulla Beach in December 2005, when young white men spent a summer afternoon beating and throwing bottles at whichever brown people they could find.

Cronulla was a milestone in the development of a more forthright, ugly public nationalism in Australia. Now young men wear flags as capes on Australia Day, a date which is seen as a calculated insult by many Indigenous people. Anzac Day, which commemorates a failed invasion of Turkey, was once a far more ambivalent occasion. In recent years it has moved closer to becoming an open celebration of militarism and imperialism.

Every step of the way, this process has not been hindered by outlets owned by News Corp, which dominates Australia’s media market in a way which citizens of other Anglophone democracies can find difficult to comprehend.

News Corp has the biggest-selling newspapers in the majority of metropolitan media markets, monopolies in many regional markets, the only general-readership national daily, and the only cable news channel. Its influence on the national news agenda remains decisive. And too often it has used this influence to demonise Muslims.

[my yellow highlighting]


The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2011:

SCOTT Morrison, the Liberal frontbencher who this week distinguished himself as the greatest grub in the federal Parliament, is the classic case of the politician who is so immersed in the game of politics that he has lost touch with the real world outside it…..

The point of this story? Morrison is a cheap populist, with form. On that occasion, he was being irresponsible with the national economy. For him it's just about clever lines.

Morrison was powerless to influence the bank, of course. John Howard and Peter Costello gave the Reserve Bank independence to free it from people like Morrison. 

The bank raised rates three days after Morrison's comment.

This week it was race. Morrison decided to see if he could win some political points by inflaming racism and resentment. More specifically, he zeroed in on some of the most vulnerable people in the country for political advantage. Indeed, is there anyone more vulnerable than a traumatised, orphaned child unable to speak English, held in detention on a remote island?

Morrison publicly raised objections to the government's decision to pay for air fares for some of the survivors of the Christmas Island boat wreck to travel to Sydney for the funerals of their relatives.

Some were Christian funerals, others were Muslim. But all of them were foreigners, all of them were boat people, all of them were dark-skinned, and to Morrison that made them all fair game. Unable to tell the difference between the Coalition mantra of "we will stop the boats" and his emerging position that "we will vindictively pursue boat people suffering tragedy" he went on radio.

As the survivors were gathering to mourn their dead, Morrison said that with the government paying for the 22 air fares, "I don't think it is reasonable. The government had the option of having these services on Christmas Island. If relatives of those who were involved wanted to go to Christmas Island, like any other Australian who wanted to attend a funeral service in another part of the country, they would have made their own arrangements to be there."
All of them were dark-skinned, and to Morrison that made them all fair game
Again, for Morrison it's just a tricky game of politics and clever lines. A former director of the NSW Liberal Party, he inhabits a world where consequences for himself and his political party are all that matter. There is no other reality. He didn't care about the boat people, and - being as charitable to him as possible - he mightn't even have stopped to think about the consequences.

And again, there is a national interest at stake. Forty-four per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was born overseas. Australia is an immigrant society. Australia is a multicultural country. That is a simple fact. To foment ethnic, racial or religious frictions or resentments is deeply harmful to the national interest.

Kevin Dunn, professor of geography and urban studies at the University of Western Sydney, who next week is to publish a study on racism in Australia, says: "Research has shown convincingly that geopolitical events, political events and political statements don't affect Australian attitudes on race very quickly, but they do affect behaviour. People with a grudge feel more empowered to act on it." Racist abuse and discrimination follow. So again, Morrison was toying with a deep national interest, but this time, his remarks could carry real force. The Reserve Bank governor knows his business and ignores Morrison, but the vindictive and the vicious may feel emboldened to act on their hurtful urges. Who does this help?....

Morrison next day conceded that his timing was insensitive, but didn't retract his complaint. He denied that he had been influenced by One Nation, even though One Nation had been busily emailing and lobbying politicians on the matter.
[my yellow highlighting]