Twitter uproar a sideshow to the real issues

Federal member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons’ Twitter tirade yesterday was just plain silly.

Fine to make a point, but as a member of parliament representing the community of Bendigo, his words clearly crossed the line.

It was encouraging to see Mr Gibbons remove the tweets and apologise, even if that was on the advice of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other female Labor Party colleagues.

No doubt given his time again, Mr Gibbons would have chosen his words better. But that’s the issue with social media – once you hit send it’s there for the world to see and you better be prepared for the consequences.

Mr Gibbons’ comments were in poor taste and the condemnation that followed was justified.

But the chain of events the Twitter comments sparked was also concerning, and points to some long months ahead to the next election.

Letter writers for both parties took full advantage of the opportunity presented – Liberal supporters enjoying some Steve Gibbons bashing and the Labor faithful congratulating him for speaking his mind. The issues surrounding these comments in relation to the treatment of others, proper use of social media and the responsibility of Mr Gibbons’ position should have been the centre of debate. It’s a shame people didn’t take that opportunity instead of simply flying the party flag.

Mr Gibbons’ tweets also sparked the first real public joust between federal candidates Greg Bickley and Lisa Chesters.

Let’s hope now that’s over we can quickly move on to the real issues facing this city and how they can be fixed or improved. I’m pretty sure that’s what the community would prefer.

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