I am re blogging this post from Alison Fairleigh today found here as I believe Alison deserves some answers from the people she works so hard to give a voice to
This is what she had to say
More questions than answers
Two weeks ago, on hearing the National Centre for Farmer Health had had its $1 million annual grant cut in the Victorian State Budget, I started a petition in the hope of putting enough public pressure on the Victorian Government to see the decision reversed. I have no links to the Centre whatsoever, but given my vocal advocacy for farmer health and mental health it seemed unconscionable that I wouldn’t get fired-up and try to do something about this: a case of ‘put-up or shut-up’ so to speak. So, without much forethought, I jumped in boots and all, expecting a flood of support for the petition from Australia’s farmers and farming communities … but I was naive and wrong. There has been barely a trickle of support and quite frankly, I feel embarrassed for putting myself out there when no one asked me to do so. And now I’m left asking some very hard questions: Why? Why hasn’t there been the flood of support I hoped for?
The first and most obvious response is: Who the bloody hell am I to start the petition in the first place & expect support? The answer to that is no one! I’m absolutely nobody! But I’ve seen dozens of petitions started by ‘nobodies’ just like me go off the scale with signatures, so I’m going to dismiss that answer for the time being.
Do people agree that the National Centre for Farmer Health should NOT be funded? Is that why the petition is not gathering support? Is it superfluous to other, better programs and people see it as a waste of public funds?
Are people completely unaware that the National Centre for Farmer Health existed and therefore, really could not care less if it’s funding has been cut because they don’t believe it has any direct impact on them?
Are farmers still so oblivious to the health and safety risks associated with working in agriculture that they couldn’t give a rat’s proverbial about research and education into these areas? Do they feel the safety regulations that may come about as a result of research conducted by the NCFH will impede on them being able to work in the way they would like to?
Do farmers still not understand the power of a signature on a petition? Have they already forgotten the personal impact of 150,000 signatures on a GetUp petition that brought the entire live export industry in Australia to a halt overnight?
Is there still so much stigma in rural communities towards mental illness that farmers feel too ashamed to put their names to a petition in support of a centre that directly addresses and researches their mental health?
Is it apathy? Does it just boil down to people not giving a damn? Are they willing to whinge about cuts to services in the bush but not willing to do anything about it?
Are farmers just worn down and tired from all the things they have to fight against and one more thing just seems too much?
As you can see, I have far more questions than I have answers but am inclined to think it is, in part, due to a combination of all of the above … and that is really sad. Apathy is rife in the whole Australia … but ordinary, everyday people become a powerful force when they join together as one voice.
If, per chance, you do think the National Centre for Farmer Health is a good thing and you would like to see it saved, then here is a link to the petition – it will take less than one minute of your time: