by Sharon Rondeau
(Apr. 12, 2021) — Educators Sam CJ Muscat, JP and Cheryl Lacey, DSJ, have launched a new speaking series in which they seek to elucidate their fellow Australians on civic engagement and “holding politicians to account” throughout their home state of Victoria and in greater Australia.
Muscat is currently president of the Australian American Association of Victoria and has a background in industrial relations and workplace training. Lacey, an educator, self-describes as “Australia’s leading agitator for rational change in school education” and is the author of “Marching Schools Forward: Discussions on the Direction of Australian Education.”
As in the United States, “JP” stands for “Justice of the Peace,” while Lacey’s designation, “DSJ,” stands for “Dame of Saint John (ORDER OF SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM KNIGHTS HOSPITALLER),” whose website is here.
In October, the two began releasing videos under “The Education Project” banner and “Truth & Independence” brand encompassing the Australian constitution, participatory democracy, and how the future is shaped by citizens’ engagement today.
The first three videos in the series are here, here, and here, respectively. Episode 4 discusses preserving freedom of speech, while Episode 5 emphasizes the “privilege” of voting and the significance of contacting one’s local representative to express personal views on current issues.
Under the mantra, “Stop Whinging, Start Writing” (“whinging” is the Australian term for “whining,” Muscat explained), Muscat said he and Lacey “have only just started our speaking engagements. Our aim is to be invited to speak around the State (Victoria) and the country – initially at Rotary Clubs – and as a result, secure requests to speak at other associations, workplaces, education facilities etc.”
“Truth and Independence is a new approach that Cheryl and I are undertaking,” he said. “We feel it is imperative that Australians are educated on, and understand our Constitution, so that as an elector they will rightfully and responsibly keep their elected representatives informed of their will.”
As they present in Episode 3, Muscat emphasized to us Sunday his view that “The Australian Constitution is not accurately taught in schools. This means, the majority of Australians, and dare we say, politicians are included here, do not fully understand their rights and duty as Australian citizens.”
“Democracy,” Muscat continued, “is not just about voting, but our responsibilities thereafter. We are also making it very clear that we cannot assume that politicians represent democracy or behave democratically. Put simply, our goal is to ‘educate and create a movement’ that guarantees our message is reached right across the nation.”
The duo expects to concentrate on three areas during their speaking tour, Muscat said:
Voting for an elected member and keeping them informed is our right and duty in a true democracy.
Holding our politicians to account requires us to inform them of our WILL. We can put an end to party politics and broken promises if we have the WILL.
Our call to action is – ‘teach your friends, family and colleagues what you have learned about democracy through our presentation. Book another event with us and encourage others to reach out to us.’
Billed as “a must-hear educational experience,” the duo pledge that as a result, “Australia will never be the same again.”
Update, April 18, 2021: Lacey and Muscat have launched a “T&I” website detailing their mission: https://cheryl961.wixsite.com/tandi