Norm Smith Medallist
- Apr 12, 2007
- AFL Club
- Port Adelaide
The trial of a Speakers' Corner in Southport has been given the thumbs-up from councillors and the public
Bring it on!
This is great news! I don't believe there are currently any outdoor free speech areas in Queensland. Imagine strolling down to Southport Broadwater Parklands on a Sunday afternoon and debating the big issues with other locals or listening to someone on a pedestal that feels so passionately about his/her beliefs but also being allowed to question/retort them in a friendly, safe environment.A SPEAKERS’ Corner, similar to the famous tourist attraction in Hyde Park, London, is set to be trialled at Southport.
Area councillor Dawn Crichlow confirmed a team from the Gold Coast CBD Office was keen to give the idea, first mooted by the Gold Coast SunNewspaper, a go.
“I have already told them I think it’s a jolly good idea for the city and they said it is something they would definitely like to trial,” she said.
“At the moment, they are extending their trial of buskers at Cavill Ave and Broadbeach Mall, which has been really, really successful.
“They are looking at including a speakers’ corner at Southport in this trial. They have more flexibility to do these things at Southport in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.”
A Southport Speakers’ Corner has also been given the thumbs-up by public speakers and Teresa Brake, president of the Robina Toastmasters Club, was confident the city had talented locals keen to have their say.
“It’s a good idea and clubs like ours could have some input. We would love to be involved and help out where can,” Ms Brake said. “It would be good to have a venue or a location where people can express their views to the public and show visitors that we have some good speakers.”
Ms Brake said she was not sure how the famous Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner operated but this could be researched.
“We could draw from their experience and apply it to our situation on the Gold Coast,” she said.
The idea has already been welcomed by the city’s tourism boss Martin Winter, who said it could be a major drawcard for tourists, and Professor Steve Stockwell, of the Griffith University School of Humanities.
“Any improvement to the opportunity to speak about political and social matters is a very useful contribution to make to this city’s life,” Professor Stockwell said.
“I think a speakers’ corner will bring a certain tint and excitement and could become a tourist attraction.
“More importantly, given the power of the media and the difficulty people have getting their voices heard, it’s a simple old-fashioned way for them to try ideas out and see the impact they have on an audience.”
Prof Stockwell said it would mark a return to the Ancient Greek approach to democratic participation.
“People could talk things out, ”he said.
Bring it on!