One of the saddest stories (and there are many) to come out of the Mr Fluffy fiasco is the emergence of what I’ve termed the ‘Fluffy factions’.
As the ACT Government has wrestled with how to respond, and negotiated the bum deal it got from the Feds, it has become apparent that no matter the solution, it can’t please everyone. This is perfectly understandable.
It’s easy for us in the media to sit behind a microphone or computer. I can extend my sympathy and understanding, but I will never really know what it feels like to discover my family home has been infected by this toxic stuff and that the government wants me out.
It must always be remembered these are family homes. They are not simply plots of land that I suspect the ACT Government (perhaps reluctantly) feels it needs to profit from. Given Canberrans are now in debt to the tune of a billion dollars – mostly thanks to the inaction and frankly ‘uncaring’ response from the Abbott Government – this is also understandable.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for home owners, renters and others who have lived in these homes. It must be anxiety-inducing to know that you spent an extended period of time living in a potentially dangerous environment. The recent publication of the list of Mr Fluffy homes would have heightened these concerns throughout our community.
I also can’t imagine the niggling doubts felt by tradespeople who may well have trampled through these homes over the decades, repairing this and that, possibly without knowing that the the ugly and despicable Mr Fluffy had left his mark.
So much worry, so many memories.
I recently encountered an act of trolling as I was filtering through the social media site set up by victims of Mr Fluffy. It got me thinking, why is it that people with so much common ground often end up on different levels?
The emotion of the Mr Fluffy saga has led to splinter groups of people with different agendas. It’s sad to often see them at each other’s throats, both online and in the media.
I guess it’s just human nature, and sometimes adversity can lead to people lashing out at those they consider targets, often because they have nowhere else to turn. The frustration, anger and resentment I’ve observed in recent times has been palpable.
I just hope that all Mr Fluffy victims find a way to move past the ordeal in their own way, and in their own time. The victims have the vast majority of Canberrans on side. After all, we are all footing the bill.
However, I’d also like to suggest that Mr Fluffy victims be careful when they turn on each other. This ugly side of the Fluffy saga may mean public sympathy diminishes, and no one can afford that.
(Photo via ACT Asbestos Response Taskforce.)
Marcus Paul is the host of Canberra Live 3pm weekdays on 2CC.