"ACTING Premier Eric Ripper has listened to PerthNow readers - and backed down from his push for Sunday trading and extended shopping hours."
Ripper abandons Sunday trading
I don't mean Sunday trading in Perth (or the lack of it) is interesting, I mean it's interesting that a senior government minister changed his mind after reading the feedback comments on a news story posted to the internet.
Obviously there were other factors: "Mr Ripper said he had 'listened to radio talkback, read letters to the editor and the hundreds of emails posted on the PerthNow website and spoken to the community, caucus colleagues and the relevant union and business'."
When the average citizen is ushered into the presence of a government minister they're usually awe-struck. But you just know that people will say things on the net which they'd never say in person. Not only that, unlike the immediacy of talkback radio opinions posted to news stories are visible after the fact, and as many a blog owner has discovered, more and more people pile in to have their say, tempers fray, fights break out and so on.
Anyway, I'm in no way a political animal but this did seem to be a case of everyday people telling government what they wanted, and getting it.
PerthNow is the online site for our Sunday newspaper. Comments are a relatively recent innovation, even if they're common elsewhere. In fact, I once left a comment on Perthnow about housing, only to have a journalist from the paper email to ask whether she could get a photo & interview. It didn't happen, probably because she realised I'd be wearing a Hal Spacejock T-shirt, cap, keyring, forehead banner tattoo and anything else I could print up in time ...
Anyway, now people know they can chime in on a story and maybe even influence government policy, this could get really interesting. Instead of moaning down the pub, you can moan online where Big Brother (not the TM version) is listening.
Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)