Treat politicians – and each other – with civility: senator
A senator has called for the public to treat politicians – and each other – with civility after detailing the harassment she received throughout her political career.
Lindsay Simmons, the Junior Minister for Home Affairs and Social Development and Seniors, said she had “negative words” levelled at her and her family ever since she became a public figure.
She added that she had also seen similar comments levelled at other politicians and their families, whom she said people forgot were “still a part of this community”.
Ms Simmons told the Senate last week: “I think we all need to remember that we are all somebody’s mother, somebody’s father, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, somebody’s friend.
“And sometimes we need to take into consideration that when you attack Lindsay as a senator it’s one thing, but when you attack me as a person – as a mother especially – it’s personal.”
She added: “I see some of the comments that are on the internet and I remember one of the ministers coming to me and saying ‘don’t read that’, but how could I not read that?”
She told the senate that she experienced the negativity as far back as when she first started canvassing Constituency 12, Devonshire South Central, for the Progressive Labour Party in 2020.
Ms Simmons said that many people disregarded her because she “wore the colour green”.
She added: “I had my daughter with me on one occasion and I remember a lady coming out and using some not so nice words.
“I had to get into the car later and explain to my daughter that they don’t know your mother – they just see the party I represent and didn’t give me the time of day to say who I am.”
Ms Simmons said that the criticisms got worse after she became a public figure and started to be levelled at her children as well as her.
She said that she found a comment on a non-political news story about her that insulted her daughter.
Ms Simmons added: “I remember the first time an op-ed was put up about me, and I was mortified that people were personally attacking me.
“Not attacking what the article said, but attacking me as a person.”
Ms Simmons said that her dream of becoming Premier, which she had for five years, had fallen to the wayside due, in part, to the personal attacks.
She added: “I see what people say about the Premier, about his wife, about his daughter – I just think it’s ridiculous.”
Ms Simmons said: “I think we all need to understand that we are the fabric of our community – all of us – and the way that we talk about people personally is terrible.
“If tomorrow is my last day as a politician I still have to live in this community, I still have to be a part of this fabric, and I still want to do good.
“So I ask that we all put down the bad words.”