I’ve been following the Robodebt Royal Commission, mainly online, and not every session. This week though, yes. I even went to Friday’s session of the Robodebt Royal Commission.
(For info on the session content, try:
Ciara Jones’s Friday Robodebt Royal Commission article,
a search of the ABC.net.au website, Rick Morton in the Saturday paper or… I’m sure you’ll find something.
(Got these names from Rick Morton’s substack subscription [Thanks Rick if you read this!]:
Tom Studans (a welfare advocate),
Luke Henriques-Gomes Guardian Australia’s social affairs and inequality editor,
Sydney Morning Herald staff reporter Angus Thompson,
Australian Associated Press’ Alex Mitchell.)
The calm and measured Robodebt RC hearings (full website) have been going on for a while.
So. Like I said, I booked in and went to a session in person. Robodebt Royal Commission. Taxi there, taxi back. Exausted on arrival. Symptoms playing up all over the place. all day on and off. If its not one thing its another kinda thing.
Not Co-Vid, but things like respiratory infection, multiple imflamations, sleep apnea, purple/ blueish lymph glands on neck… all that stuff that I have no idea how to get care for (while being cared for).
Did self advocacy with security guard that was unexpected for them. My tone was harsh but I think recognising that -was understood on some level -between all of us.
It was quite scary for a bit there. A few times.
A security person was real close – she turned out to be lovely too – listing out things to do one after the other and interupting my actions with repeated or more instructions.
I couldn’t take it – I had what felt like ten aligned and competing appeals on my attention.
Each person in the room, how do I put my stuff in the tiny basket provided, following two seperate instructions – one to remember for after the other, and where everything was. Keys attached to bra. Phone probably in bra. Lanyard round my neck. Big toy under my arm. My handbag full of stuff for the day. Cane held, and where to put it that wouldn’t slip to the ground and ’cause a scene’ to manage (by the sheer dint of having to pick it up and who does what and who stands where, thus interrupting the flow of the entry to the Royal commission environment).
Self defence (including self-love and self-care) rose until I pretty much demanded “Can you just fucking stop!”. It startled them and clearly training around looking for a threat vs dealing with a human with feelings kicked in. Three of them were instantly even more alert and jumping to action-mode.
As I saw her step back, surprised, I stepped back. I took some time to gather my thoughts, (looking down possibly) and said “Ok, so – you have given me a direction” look for confirmation, she nods “Can you just… please… give me time to follow your instructions… in full… before giving me another direction?”
Thank fully she and the other security allowed me time and some personal space to clock where my belongings were, how to transfer everything onto the table, and to pay attention enough to be able to follow the instructions.
So -for those who think “all she needs is to… have self confidence/ stick up for herself/ put herself out there/ ask for help/ make my needs known etc” – stuff you – I do.
This type of self-advocacy – blurt out for x to stop – pause – explain the situation including from my point of view so we develp mutual understanding – is easily, by others, switched position to be viewed as non-compliant, aggressive, and basically creating an unhelpful attitude. That view is wrong. I am performing self-defence within self care.
All I needed with kindness (including acknowleging I have thoughts and feelings). It worked. She looked me in the eyes. I looked her in the eyes. Mutual understanding was built.
Getting ready for the morning, the trip in etc was exausting, of course. So, once finally settled in a seat, I rested with head down and eyes closed a fair bit. Especially in the morning session. Even leaning arms crossed, head in crook of arms, on a seat in front of me. For rest and ‘pre-emptive’ respite/ restore some spoons/ give my senses a break as it was a very long day.
I am sure I was in contempt of court at times – I had sunglasses on but almost every time I took them off – those lights were like high-beams and I don’t know what this swelling on my forehead is, but those related symptoms would flare up whenever I looked in… certain… um… no, just when I looked up. At the Royal Commission. In general.
I found it quite disorientating often. The ‘viewer’ perspective of being able to process what people were saying and how they were… body language-wise was… almost lost entirely. Maybe.
I tried following some on my phone, which a) was a perspective relief and another bridge into being present and b) gave me a bit of a giggle – imagining how it looked to others.
I left a bit early. My neurological and physical (body parts not moving) symptoms were playing up, and I am the one meowing and leaving at the introduction of the final witness for the day. Mwow.
I have watched the day almost in full since coming home and now, at 10am. It is a very difference perspective, literally. Seeing the whole room, lawyers, seats, lights etc vs purely what is presented on screen. I can literally think and have an ‘outsider’s’ view.
I’m aware of possibly abusive, stalking and/or violent internet trolls, so won’t talk about any further personal viewings online prior. But I hope to go back in the next couple of weeks.
(Speaking of, I just went to my fridge earlier and went to open a bottle of passito, and it turns out its open and partly drunk already, which is a bit / pretty weird since I don’t remember drinking any for months, but, hey, it could be that I did open it last night but in one of my confused or disoriented states have no memory of it, and god knows I’d probably be treated with contempt for wasting police time if I attempted to report it. Plus they’d demand I make a police report in certain ways, and I don’t know when I’ll have the capacity to do that and face authoritarian contempt and the above-written scenario again).
So yeah. That was a tiny secton of what I could write about from yesterday.
Take care ok,