From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 15 October

October 15, 2023 BY

Beware: Empty vessels make the most sound! Image: SUPPLIED

Enabling your Facebook page for comment is tantamount to opening a Pandora’s Box. It gifts every half-witted keyboard warrior, armed with a megaphone to the world, an opportunity to vent their vile spleen.


IT is most flattering when people are complimentary; however, it should be seen as exactly that: a compliment; an articulated appreciation of effort. Sometimes, it takes considered application to prevent it from turning-one’s- head.

Equally, criticism is to be expected and accepted; however, it should be offered in a constructive spirit and mindful of sensitivities and sensibilities. As a child I was told, often, by my late mother, Beria: “You need to keep a civil tongue in your head!”

Civility is an old-fashioned virtue; an anachronism in the age of social media and instantaneous electronic communication, which does not encourage “cogitation before proliferation”! There is a discernible lack of civility in the public discourse. We are told: fish rots from the head. In pursuit of a touch, some senior public figures are possessed of a disturbing determination to denigrate the opposition; to attack the person rather than the issue. Too often there is a unpalatable whiff of hubris.

The philosophy of cancel culture is problematic, fraught with danger, but logical. The unremitting invective which contaminates much of the social media comment is attributable to the community’s greater access to the public arena. Consequently, cancel culture is a draconian means of hypothetically stemming the ignorant, dangerous tirade.

The nation’s deplorable literacy rate is exposed in countless of the comments posted for public viewing. The number of functioning illiterates sharing their barbative outrage is cause for profound concern. It could be construed as a gross failing in the nation’s education system, coupled with a degree of intellectual concussion on the part of the writer.

Too many are too willing to allow the machinations of others to define their lives. It takes a large dollop of mental toughness – or disinterest, to ignore the slings and arrows, but ignore them we must; remembering, always, people behave as well as they know how, and there are those not equipped with a self-edit button.

Depending on the day, and my degree of perversity, I am not beyond delivering a verbal assailant – and I do not discriminate, a good, old-fashioned mouthful, and then telling them to ‘nick-orff’ – and that is spelt with a capital silent ‘F’!

Already, many Australians have cast their vote in the voice to Parliament referendum.

The weeks of debate have been both edifying and disillusioning. Sadly, it has revealed an ignominious aspect of the public conversation. That some of those opposed to the proposition – and

that is their democratic prerogative, wittingly spread misinformation, disinformation, and blatant lies, is reason for profound regret, and reflection.

A voice, enabling our First Nation Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders to make submissions to Parliament on those problems most affecting them is not grandiose. It could be argued, men should not necessarily be involved in discussions surrounding abortion and contraception. They are, for the greater part, issues which most affect women.

As the Prime Minster explained, First Nation Peoples are not looking to be involved in matters involving our nuclear submarines, or any other matters outside of their specific sphere of activity.

The most disheartening aspect of the debate has been the overt malice from one group of Australians to another. As a consequence of my childhood, I have, more than most, witnessed it all my life.

Naively, I hoped it had changed…

Roland can be contacted via [email protected].