Australia is in the grips of ‘post truth’ phenomena

Gillian Triggs has said Australia is in the grips of the phenomena of “post truth” which compounds the problem of the overreach of executive power.
Giving the Michael Kirby Oration on Wednesday night at Victoria University, Professor Triggs said the idea of alternative facts which had credibility had created an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world where words mean what we choose them to.

“This is what is increasingly concerning me particularly in the context of the current debate on marriage equality,” she said.

“The obfuscation of the truth, the failure to deal with the issues, to throw in great debating techniques and straw men and red herrings … are deeply troubling in an issue that should be lead by clear evidence-driven leadership through our politicians and senior members of the community.”

Professor Triggs said it was a “tragedy” that most Australians did not know enough about our system of government.

“We don’t have education in what might be described as ‘civics’,” she said.

“The basics of our democracy I think need to be taught at our schools, more clearly than they are, and more emphasis at our universities.”

She said there needed to be a focus on separation of powers, checks and balances and why Australia can’t have cabinet executive government assume a larger role to the detriment of parliament and the judiciary.

“I also believe it is time for us to revisit the work that’s already been done on the introduction of some legislative form of a bill of rights,” Professor Triggs said.

“I know very well there is very little political appetite for a bill of rights but it doesn’t mean that we should stop thinking about it.”

She said by creating the language of a bill of human rights across the country, people would be more aware when there was creeping legislation that in one way or another curtail those rights.

“I might note the paradox that the very people who have been demanding an end to identity politics, to political correctness, all want reform in anti-discrimination laws on race or sex, are the very same people who are now demanding new legislative protection on freedom of religion and freedom of speech,” she said.

Full story at: The Australian

Featured Image Credit: The Australian

Post-Truth Project Featured in Portland Monthly

This month’s copy of Portland Monthly Magazine features an article titled “Fall Arts: Creative Resistance” with a nice write up on our collaborative Post-Truth project with Open Signal.

From the article – 

Big Screen, Little Lies

“Earlier this year, community media center Open Signal and micro-budget film studio Lower Boom put out a call. They were looking for five regional media-makers to create original works on ‘post-truth,’ or ‘what it’s like to live in a post-factual era.’ Say Lower Boom’s Matt Schulte: ‘Everybody believes nothing and everybody believes everything simultaneously. How could that be? I was looking at it through the lens of the breakdown of language and what words can mean and cannot.’

From the dozens of submissions, the partners chose five, each to receive $1,000 toward the project as well as mentorship and equipment access. Dawn Jones Redstone and Brenan Dwyer were among the winners, for their short film proposal, Nemesis.”

“It explores white male fragility through the lens of a single Scrabble match,” says Redstone. “What starts out as a competitive word game becomes recognizable gendered political warfare.”

For Redstone, the change in administration has also strengthened her artistic resolve. “As a gay, Latinx filmmaker, the election gave me a bitter determination to focus the lens on the voices that are being silenced and suppressed right now,” she says. “And it’s absolutely important to me to tell these stories with other women and people of color, because if we want our stories told we have to tell them ourselves. We have to become the storytellers.”