Letter to the Premier of Queensland

This letter was sent to the Premier of Queensland by Rod Harvey on 13 September 2012.  We are including it here because it is an awesome letter and it inspires us to remember that we don’t have to sit back and take as ‘normal’ the constant mistreatment of women and indeed all people in the public domain or in politics or anywhere.

by Rod Harvey, Gold Coast, Australia

Dear Mr Newman

If the report in yesterday’s Courier Mail is correct, then the lack of respect you displayed in Parliament on Tuesday is of the utmost concern to Queenslanders.

As a Queensland resident and ratepayer, I was embarrassed to read about your comments to Jackie Trad, along with your failure to censure the Leader of the House, Ray Stevens.

Mr Stevens referred to Ms Trad as “Jihad Jackie”, which was an extraordinary and inflammatory insult, not only to Ms Trad, but also to the Muslim community. Yet you, as leader, were complicit by allowing the comment to ‘pass through to the keeper’, particularly as Mr Stevens later failed to apologise to Ms Trad outside Parliament.

It would have been so simple for him to ‘man up’ and admit that the comment was ill-conceived, yet he continued to dig a hole for himself by making excuses and blaming a prior media article for his comments, which was an extraordinary and empty justification.

And your comment “If she is going to be the Opposition Leader, she is going to have to harden up”, was also totally inappropriate. Then, like Mr Stevens, you made excuses and laid blame on the previous political campaign for your actions.

What is this…‘tit for tat’ politics?

However, what is more disturbing from this disrespectful exchange, is that you are indeed demeaning women (and I, as a ‘bloke’ with no political or religious affiliation whatsoever, feel it is important to bring this to your attention).

Your inference that Ms Trad should “harden up” shows a lack of understanding about women. The inference is subtle, but ‘subtle’ is insidious and pervasive. ‘Subtle’ sets the tone for men’s attitudes (and platitudes) towards women, which is apparent from your comment.

Being a ‘real leader’ involves admitting wrongs and correcting them. A ‘real leader’ does not put down women; a ‘real leader’ recognises, respects and honours women, without wanting or needing them to ‘harden up’.

Yes, politics is a tough game with tough decisions to make, and as a leader you carry a great responsibility. And along with that are great opportunities.

Through a woman’s eyes we can appreciate beauty, strength, gentleness, dignity and a loving essence. And that same essence is there in absolute equalness in men’s eyes.

So rather than alienate 50% of your voters, here now is an opening to show true leadership by bringing ‘heart’ to the political arena.

It’s time for a refreshing change in the way that politics is conducted. Perhaps Mr Premier, you could be the very leader to make that transformation.

Yours sincerely

Rod Harvey

Rod Harvey’s companion piece: ‘For Men Only (unless you are a woman)’

98 thoughts on “Letter to the Premier of Queensland

  1. Rod we actually need people like you in politics, people with standards of decency and respect, and willing to bring, as you say, ‘heart’ into politics. We need true leaders, and they often step outside the norm to set new standards, not people that follow the norm of low standards and condone abuse. I appreciate your letter and your expression, it’s appropriate for us all to write to politicians about what is truly needed in the way they serve, and what communities need from politicians.

  2. The standards of behaviour are so low in politics, it’s quite dis-graceful to see leaders acting this way instead of inspiring the community with their values such as respect and decency.

  3. I ran for local government a while ago and at one stage was in tears in front of the team I was running with, and I found out later that some members of my team thought I needed to toughen up if I am going to be in politics. For me, that was not going to happen as I said to someone ‘is that really what the world needs? another hardened female (or male for that point) toughened up politician? I think not….

  4. How much corruption needs to be exposed before we all stand up and say enough is enough? It seems the media, political favour’s, paybacks and a legal system that prides itself on empowering the lies and corruption that pervade our society as all of the above have a finger in the corruption pie and can be considered cult like in its evil at its worst?

  5. Politics and politicians are there to raise us all up to a higher level of integrity and maybe governments should have decency and respect as the first stepping stone back to True political debate.

  6. An amazing example of not sitting back and accepting something that we know is profoundly wrong in the world. We always have the choice to accept it and be part of it or speak up and offer a different way forward.

  7. Great letter Rod, standing up for equalness of all and pointing out that women should not have to harden up, because when they do they contract, and hold themselves back, and when you have a graceful delicate woman, men will express from the tenderness that they are.

  8. It is great that you spoke up Rod, the politics of today are so disgusting in their manner of behaviour amongst each other, so much blame and tit for tat that reminds me of kids in the playground, it is time they started to really govern the country from respect, responsibility, equality and the good of the common people instead of all the jostling for position and power.

  9. Beautifully expressed and great calling out of politicians and their tendency to justify their words and actions rather than be willing to speak up for truth and take responsibility for leading the way in bringing about change in the ways we interact and saying No to the bullying and disrespect so common in politics and everyday life.

  10. Well said Rod Harvey. A beautiful example of calling out irresponsible acts from those in public office. I guess we must all be more and more aware of our words and our responsibilities if we want things to change – and choose to know the heart of equality that is in us al. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see this lived by our political leaders.

  11. This really is a brilliant letter. Thank you for sharing this. I have seen similar comments and behaviour in politicians and other public figures, and I can feel how I have reacted and judged them for that, but somehow accepted that as a part of package – which only has left me in apathy and resentment, so the likelihood is that the same pattern would repeat itself only to confirm my judgment and reaction. Here I am feeling the lack of responsibility on my part for holding my love back. Thank you, Rod.

  12. We are walking further away in parts from the genuine and true care and respect for each other as people, men and or women. It’s great to see people sending and speaking up when such extreme things are said in our public eye as these things are what we all look to as leading us. There for me is no excuse for this style of thing and we need to talk about it in order for it to not be accepted and then become our next norm. It’s not about fighting but about speaking into relationships with a real care when we see things that don’t feel like that’s how it needs to be. Life is moving faster and busier all the time but if we don’t stop and see these things they will soon be deemed a normal part of life when in fact they are far far from what is true.

  13. Oh I love this! It would be great if more leaders stepped into the role of speaking truth. The subtle and not so subtle denigration does everyone a great deal of harm and allows demeaning attitudes to continue. We all have a responsibility to speak up – well done Rod for putting pen to paper!

  14. Great you took the time and wrote down what you were feeling, Rod! How often do we see or experience something along those lines and do not really take the time and courage to speak up about it? It would certainly make a big difference to our world if more of us did!

  15. Hear hear Rod. That is leading by example – showing the way with full integrity, respect and love. One day we will see it in politics.

  16. Wise words from one of the electorate calling for truth from those in government.

  17. I appreciate that you took the initiative here; all too often we just sit back and let it all happen, shrug our shoulders and say that there are more pressing matters to attend to. But as you point out, “The inference is subtle, but ‘subtle’ is insidious and pervasive”. Underhanded put-downs and slurs of this kind set the tone and the more people do it and the more often it happens, the more ‘normal’ it appears to be. But then we complain at the very end, when things have truly become intolerable – while we were asleep at the wheel.

  18. Sadly misogynistic undertones permeate much if not all of our world and it is only when we collectively step out of our apathetic comfort and speak up against it big and small, will it ever begin to change. We all deserve more than what we are allowing and there is too much suffering as a result of our silence.

  19. Thank you Rod for speaking up and presenting the truth of how respect and equality are sometimes missing in the political scene in their relationship with women and one another. The Premier is responsible to set the tone of Parliament, what does that say when you did not get a reply to your letter.?

  20. Great letter Rod, an inspirational reminder that we all have a responsibility to speak up and highlight any mistreatment of another and bring it to the attention of those who misrepresent them, even if you don’t get a reply, simply by posting the letter on this site your action will already have helped others to speak up.

  21. A brilliant letter Rod, the world does not need women to ‘harden up’ in any way, shape or form. The more women express their beauty, tenderness and fragility in the world the reflection this offers another is very powerful indeed.

  22. Well said Rod Harvey! And very much needed to be said as well. The carry-on in the political arena is not unlike schoolyard bullying, name calling and ‘she said’ ‘he said’ games. But as you have said, this comes down to how we are as a society…. and when we allow this in our homes, work places and back yards then that is what is available for anyone to access and choose to use.

  23. I am sure it feels true to those in the political arena that it is necessary to toughen up to lead your party, the opposition – or just be an MP or senator. But we – humanity – have made our world a tough place to live with our choices to be loveless. In the UK parliament we have Prime Ministers Questions on a Wednesday which is when our elected representatives are on show to the world. The ministers refer to each other at ‘my Right Honourable Friend’ – but once these pleasantries are out of the way it seems like anything goes. It is often a time to score points off each other and in the aftermath, there is talk of who did best, who ‘won’ etc. There are rare solemn moments when there has been a terrorist attack and this is generally condemned by all and there are moments of appreciation when someone has died or stepped down from their post. But in my view, there is far too much of this ‘tit for tat’ politics, where ministers seek to undermine each other, belittle if not humiliate, blame the other party for the ‘policies which got us in this mess in the first place’ etc. How refreshing it would be for these people who have stepped forward to be leaders in our societies, were to be open, loving and truly respectful to each other – seeing the responsibility they have as role models. How liberating it would be if the leader of the opposition for example, actually honoured and appreciated the work of the government, rather than saw it as their duty to try to bring them down. Have we seen enough of a competition based approach to life yet, to see that it simply divides and separates humanity – or do we need more years of in fighting, more sneering, more vitriol, more back-biting? It is the job of the party in opposition to challenge the government on its policies where appropriate, for sure – but a challenge can be presented in a way that shows respect for the other – and offers a reflection of respect to those who look up to them as leaders.

    1. Hear, Hear Richard. How refreshing it would be to see respect and appreciation brought into government. Unfortunately government is a reflection of society, so if we want genuine change, I guess it comes back to the respect, appreciation and love we have for ourselves and each other.

    2. Great comment, and leading by example gives others the opportunity to feel it is safe to do so. Question time is like a blood sport sometimes, and the thing that puts me off politics more than anything else. I want the politicians that represent me to work to a common solution by debating, not playing for laughs and cheap wins.

  24. Women have bought into the whole FALSE GAME of equality and lost themselves in that. Not completely but many women have “hardened up”, they have, that is a fact. But this is the big mistake/fall. We need women everywhere in society in various positions, in politics, on company boards. Why? Not just because they are women as such but because of what they bring – a delicate nature, a natural strength, a realness and a grounded down-to-earth-ness. The false game of equality is the one being fuelled by the strive to get that 50-50 representation without knowing exactly why. And where are the men in all of this? They have also lost themselves, they do not thrive in their positions, they’ve gained a position where they need a guiding light back. They’ve become hard, distant and protective and this is just one of many aspects of where women have so much to offer men. So if women go into the same hardness as men then we’ve both failed, even though on the surface it might look as if we are getting more equal even though we’re not, we’re just getting more male, both genders and that is not what true equality is all about. Equal pay and all that YES that is the first baby steps and should be as given as the sun rising but when that is achieved then the real equality work begins, knowing that we are in essence the same but that essence is differently expressed if you are a man or if you are a woman.

  25. Awesome letter Rod.
    The only reason the world wants women to toughen is because, a woman coming from her true fragility exposes just how far from truth many women and men alike live from their truth.
    I for one am and and have experienced this for myself, but instead of toughening to ignore that I have been living far from my truth, I am surrendering and exploring living from the impulse of my inner essence, my true strength held in the fragility found there.

  26. “Being a ‘real leader’ involves admitting wrongs and correcting them. A ‘real leader’ does not put down women; a ‘real leader’ recognises, respects and honours women, without wanting or needing them to ‘harden up’.” A great letter Rod – thank you for standing up for honour. It is so important we all stand for respect and dignity – nowhere more so than in politics where our ‘leaders’ could inspire and call out bad behaviour. Did you ever receive a response?

    1. No response Sue…even though from where I forwarded the message there was a statement that all correspondence would receive a reply. The lack of response in itself revealed much.

  27. Indeed a great reminder that we don’t have to sit back and accept the mistreatment of anyone and can be inspired in any moment to stand up and speak out against it.. and most definitely need to if we ever want our current abuse-based ‘normal’ to change.

  28. Wow Rod, this blows off my hat, it is so beautiful, strong and no holding back in your letter, I love it! You did not play it down, it was from equality at the same time you confronted him with responsibility and true purpose. What a beautiful bridge and how honoroured is Mr. Premier to receive your letter. I hope he had read it.

  29. Yes politics is a tough game with tough decisions to make, but to be tough on each other in disrespectful ways is definitely not necessary. Rod the behaviour you called out of demeaning women definitely needed to be spoken up about. Degrading a fellow human being was not correct behaviour. Too often we see men speaking to women as if they are lesser and other men excusing their behaviour. There is no excuse.

  30. Rod what an awesome letter! Thank you for taking the time to present the Premier with a clear awareness; of the opportunity and need for a change in how politics in this country is conducted, and of how there is no place for the denigration of men or women.

    1. Can you image 1timrobinson what effect it would have on people such as Premier to write such concerns and real matters. From the heart we should express these things, from honesty and humbleness – appreciating where people are at (such as the premier) and allowing yourself to support our community and support for instance the premier by this amazing letter by Rod. Can you imagine how big effect it would have if we all step by step take this responsibility and write such letters, take such actions and call out and respond to truth. I mean what an incredible world this would be. Rod, you have started already.. Yes!

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