Petition against petitions



I’m tempted to petition against petitions. And as absurd as that sounds it’s not out of the realms of possibility given some of the things I have seen being signed lately.

In the early days of the online petition (and at the risk of sounding like a woman on a rocking chair on the porch whittling wood and shooing kids off the yard) there was great power in the petition. It felt like signing your name, or giving access to your Facebook page was going to make a great difference. It felt powerful to be able to add your name to the noise and the rabble and stand up for something that you truly believed in or stood for.

There were big issues being petitioned against – torture, detention, child slavery, animal cruelty, oil spills. Huge issues that allowed you to feel part of something, if not a solution at least a support.

But the tide has changed. It seems like everyone has a petition now. Just last week I was asked to sign a petition by a 7-year old for more toys in an elite Eastern Suburbs play centre. I didn’t sign.

And while I make my indifference heard in my silence there are some petitions that just make me laugh with deep anger (not a pleasant sound). For instance one I saw making it’s way around Facebook this morning.

First some background.

Jamila Rizvi was interviewed on The Project after the debacle we have come to know as the US election. Steve Price was on the panel that night as well.


“Appearing on the panel of Channel Ten show on Wednesday night, they engaged in a fiery exchange after Price claimed Rizvi interrupted him while they were discussing Hillary Clinton’s loss.
“It shows you that people in real America, in small town America, weren’t buying the bulldust coming out of the elites,” he said, before Rizvi jumped in.
“Sorry, can we cut this bull**** about the idea of there being a ‘real America?’” she hit back.
“I’m sorry, I was speaking before you interrupted,” Price replied tersely.
“Is it okay if I speak?”
After Rizvi pointed out the question was directed at her, he appeared to become more annoyed.
“This is the reason why Donald Trump won,” he said.
“Because people like you lecture and heckle people.”

Immediately after seeing that I tweeted “I’m with Jamila Rizvi” because if I am not a petition fighter I am at the very least vocal about women being able to speak without being called lecturers and hecklers.

This morning I saw a petition calling for The Project to apologise to Steve Price live on air. Yes, apologise to Steve Price, the very same man who called Van Badham hysterical on Q&A and refused to apologise for that.

I read the petition and realised the man who penned it is clearly irate. Irate enough to start a petition. Irate enough to elicit that angry laughter that comes when I read something written by someone who so badly wants to reframe something so he looks like the victim.

If we can’t petition against the petition can we at least call for writers of petitions to come up with some substantiated facts or even to sound a tiny bit educated in what they are arguing for. “In every single facebook (sic) post detailing the exchange” it says “the people of Australia have expressed their outrage of the leftist bullying that occurred, coming out in support of the conservative commentator”. Clearly he hadn’t read the Facebook post his own petition was appended to.

Some 30 000 conservatives afraid a TV program could go to air with left leaning views have signed the petition. A petition of which the writer says “at the core of this petition is a person (sic) right to freedom of speech and how political correctness is degrading it. The left have slowly eroded this right to the point that if you do not agree with their opinion, you are branded a racist, sexist or other deformities. Instead of opening a discussion to debate issues, they merely insult and put down.”

Maybe he will start a petition against being decent, I mean political correctness.

It’s these petitions that reach the news and have people giving them power that makes me despair for the petitions that are truly important.

Ever started a petition? How many do you sign a week?

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  1. No and none.

  2. I have a gripe with

    I have lost faith in online petitions simply because I have experienced the way this particular organisation operates.

    As a member of the corporate PR world, I was appalled to see that a petition against the brand I was then working for was gaining significant momentum one day – even though by that stage the petition itself had been posted several months earlier.

    This petition picked up speed in the local press, and upon further investigation in trying to resolve the issue found out that staff members contacted this petition poster and offered their services to ‘re-write’ the petition and boost it through media coverage against the brand I was working for.

    The particular issue in question was minor, but what came out of it was the ability for to charge big corporations to ‘make the problem disappear’.

    What a dishonest and unethical system.

  3. Monica Mary says:

    Jamila Rizvi did in fact lecture and heckle. Van Badham is in fact quite hysterical each and every time she opens her mouth. It has nothing to do with the fact that they are women. I am prepare to call out all lecturers, hecklers and hysteria mongers whenever they pop up, regardless of their gender and political leanings, something that I notice that you rarely if in fact ever do.

  4. Monica Mary says:

    I see that there is a petition running to stop and prevent the PM of Israel from visiting Australia. Will you be lending your support to that one?

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