Apparently I can send the Premier questions, comments, concerns, well-wishes or requests, or by completing the form on his website.
So I did and here is the gist of what I filled out and submitted:
Outline of issues you wish to discuss
First I am no libertarian
I believe in regulations where they are required
I applaud current federal gun laws and plain packaging laws for cigarettes
Bicycle helmet law is flawed
Australia is one of the few countries that has bicycle helmet law and yet we are one of the most dangerous countries for cycling
Numbers for commuter cyclists have dwindled over the past 20 years and this has made the roads more dangerous for cyclists
Expert national and international academics are in dispute over the merits of helmet law
When the experts cannot agree there ought not to be a law requiring compulsion
Bicycle helmet law has criminalised cycling
I fear I will be served a custodial sentence before too long with my current conscientious objection
Cycling is a good activity for health, helps reduce traffic congestion, and is a non-polluting green mode of transport
I would like to discuss revocation of regulation 256 of the Road Rules
Such an action on the part of a politician would make them a leader in the climate change challenge
Details of prior discussions with Government Representatives
I have met with George Souris to discuss this issue on many occasions ... to no avail.
I and approximately 29 other people once delivered a petition to John Ajaka after we had cycled from Sydney Town Hall to Parliment House with a police escort.
On another occasion, myself and Dr Paul Martin (specialist anaesthetist, Brisbane) and Prof Chris Rissel (academic, University of Sydney), met with John Ajaka to discuss the bicycle helmet law issue. At this meeting we supplied him with relevant facts and evidence pertaining to the failure of bicycle helmet law. Nothing happened
Please meet me - I cannot buy your time, or donate, but I have lived in NSW for 33 years tomorrow.
So there you have it ... what do think the chances are that his press secretary (or whoever) will give me a bell and say:
"Mrs Abbott, when would be convenient with you? The Premier is dying to meet you!"
In fact in my view this 'parliamentary' theatre-sports exercise of David Leyonhjelm's is nothing more than a right-wing 'smoke & mirrors' ploy to herald in the relaxing of gun laws, the reversing of cigarette plain packaging laws ... oh and course most importantly of all ... to get Senator Leyonhjelm re-elected.
What a shame that this opportunity to discuss bicycle helmet law has been polluted by a numpty-politician planning to use the interest engendered as a sweetener for his particularly nasty winding-back of some of the good stuff Australian Parliaments have actually done.
... because when it came to be his turn to die for his country ...
... he was killed closer to England ...
... than these final resting places ...
... and my mother flatly refused for him to be interred in the military cemetery on offer or any military cemetery whatsoever for that matter.
What does it mean to claim that the names of the dead military men in my family or anybody's family 'liveth' ... for surely if they did there would be an end to the state grooming of killers and the killed.
So I arrived at International Airport (Sydney) on Monday with plenty of time before my flight to England because I had a rendezvous-vous with the Australian Federal Police!
Following instructions in the email sent to me last week, I headed to 10 Arrivals Court, Level 3, and was collected in the foyer by a young policewoman and shown to a rather austere waiting area where I was told to take a seat.
Because I had arrived early and the interviewing AFP constable was running a touch late, I had plenty of opportunity to take in my surroundings, and I must admit that I approved of the minimalist decor, I liked the rather bare glass wall cabinet, and I approved of the what-I-would-call 'airforce blue' fitted carpet throughout ...
'Hmmmn,' I said to myself, 'glad to see my tax-dollars so tastefully spent!'
And then my AFP interviewer was there, and it was through the locked doors and into an interviewing room for the interview.
Housekeeping first ... explanation of the activities to come, I could have a drink any time I wanted one, I could have a lawyer or a friend, I didn't have to be there (even though they'd come up with the idea!)
No thank you, no, no, yes, were my responses.
Then they asked if I had any questions to which I asked if I could take their photo ... no was their answer!
And we were off !
$$$ Rights read out to me
$$$ Re-visited whether I understood that I could have a Lawyer or a friend
$$$ Cautioned that anything I said could be used as evidence against me ... and 'for me,' I inserted, which I think surprised them (oh and btw, you all sponsored two AFPs to interview me for the approximately 40 mins that I was there!!!)
$$$ Checked up on my address, my age, my nationality, my living, where I was born, where I'd cycled in the world (maybe I volunteered that bit?!), what route I had taken on that 'Domestic Airport' day when they had come across me at dawn, description of my Christiania, how many bikes I had, what types, had I cycled to the airport for my London flight
Somewhere along the way I mentioned some of my previous 'non-helmet-bookings' both in NSW and South Australia, and that I thought the law was flawed, contradictory and confusing, that existing evidence was divided into two camps, that Australian academics wedded to mandatory helmet laws were sponsored by Big Oil as evidenced by the 'money' splashed out to further their position (say for instance that 'NRMA' chair at UNSW and 'Honda' sponsorship of medical case studies at St George's Hospital) ... I even mentioned Velo City conferences in despatches which I then had to explain to them ... which then led to mention of Adelaide and the Adelaide protest rides with unhelmeted cyclists and police escorts!
Somewhere along the way I mentioned in a very young life I'd been a student nurse at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London and they jumped on that and asked what was my opinion on all the cycling accidents that I would have seen in that life to which I replied that was irrelevant because I was so very junior then and such a very far cry from an expert that no-one would have been interested in my opinion, and that anyway when I'd done my 'accident & emergency secondment' back then I'd seen more knifings than any bicycle mishaps.
Much more was said and chatted about and it's all on tape for maybe a future court case, and I remember telling them that I have a responsibility to participate in this democracy of ours, and as a participant it is my responsibility to object to flawed laws ... and mandatory helmet laws fitted within that category.
I know at some point I mentioned my blog, and that the purpose of it was mainly to rail against the Australian compulsion to have to wear a helmet when cycling ... I also added that the lead AFP interviewer's legs had already featured on it - later he mentioned he would have to check out my blog for 'malice'! ... hope it's free of that!!!
And then it was time to leave Sydney and its AFP so that I could catch my plane to London and its Bobbies,
... and you know after I've posted this recount of my arvo with the AFP I'm going to take a Boris Bike from Liverpool Street Station (where I'm about to leave my suitcase in 'Left Luggage') to the Science Museum in South Kensington because I have been hanging out to see the Ada Lovelace exhibition and as luck would have it, it's on right now!!!
In between two more criminal bicycle helmet convictions received last Friday in person from the Scone Local Court and this past Monday via telelink from the Adelaide Magistrates' Court, there were bubbles, bread and cheese for our beautiful BN2 and her beautiful fiancé!
And thank 'whoever-is-your-favourite-mythological-entity' for that because somewhat depressingly the premise emanating out of the Scone and Adelaide Courts is that climate change is still too far removed to be a threat, and that not using a helmet is a social choice which in turn is a preference inconsistent with the law, and therefore all things considered I am still guilty of riding a bicycle without a helmet.
Now whilst the Scone Local Court heard my matter and delivered a verdict and a sentence all on the same day, the Adelaide Magistrates' Court took two months to reach Monday's guilty verdict and now plans to take another six weeks to work out a sentence for which I must appear in person to receive it on Monday 7 December ... admittedly I am overseas for November and that may have had some bearing on the time frame, but still this will have been almost 19 months since I was booked back in May 2014 before the Adelaide VeloCity 2014 conference commenced.
You really ought not to have given Adelaide the conference when you were dishing them out ... any Australian city for that matter!
None of our cities or towns deserved it!
We were and still are not fit to hold such a bicycle event of the Velo City calibre ... never have been, never will be ... well, certainly not if we carry on as we have been for the past 24 years since mandatory helmet laws were introduced.
We are completely feral as far as cycling is concerned, and we have been for a very long time.
You must have known this!
What a waste of a conference opportunity and what a waste of everybody's time and effort - it was utterly pointless awarding Australia such a prestigious bicycle meeting.
Adelaide let you down ... well, you let yourselves down by taking 'anybody's' (in this case Adelaide's) money ...
... and meanwhile long after the party has finished and moved on, I am still being hammered for cycling without a helmet back at the start of that VeloCity14.
And next Monday on the day I fly out of Australia to visit my family in England, I'm to be interviewed ...
YES INTERVIEWED ... by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for cycling to Domestic Airport on a bicycle without a helmet ...
... just imagine, I'm to be interviewed for a traffic offence ...
... just imagine, I'm to be interviewed for riding a bicycle without wearing a helmet ...
... just imagine, I'm to be interviewed in an unknown room somewhere at Kingsford Smith International Airport and I've been invited to bring along a lawyer or a friend.
Not only did we not deserve the VeloCity conference back in May 2014, but in my opinion until mandatory helmet laws are repealed Australian delegates should not to be allowed to attend any future VeloCity events.
Tough I know, but notwithstanding all the 'VeloCity-conference-attending' by Australian academics and Australian traffic engineers and Australian 'you-name-them-and-they-attend' attendees, cycling is only getting worse in Australia ... not better.
I am feeling crushed ... and I am wondering, will I one day end up in gaol as a result of this bicycle campaign of mine?
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister,
I need your help.
On the eve of another court case in which I must provide my defence for the matter of ‘not wearing a bicycle helmet whilst riding a bicycle,’ I am appealing to you to show reason in this national debate that delineates Australia in the world’s eyes as one of the sillier nations.
It is common knowledge here and abroad that evidence pertaining to bicycle helmets and bicycle helmet law is conflicted. Yet notwithstanding that this topic is obviously in scientific dispute, we are still legally compelled to wear bicycle helmets in Australia.
Most nation states across the globe openly acknowledge that mandatory helmet laws raise issues of civil liberties, and accordingly the decision ‘to helmet or not’ has been left to their individual citizens. In my opinion, it is time such decision-making was relinquished to the realm of choice for Australians too.
Bearing in mind that it was the Hawke government in December 1989 which insisted that all the states enact bicycle helmet laws if they were to receive additional federal road funding for the ‘Black Spot’ program, perhaps you could reverse mandatory helmet regulation offset now with a similar threat of withholding federal funding, only this time for public transport and bicycle infrastructure initiatives, should recalcitrant states refuse to strike out their bicycle helmet regulations.
Clearly mandatory helmet laws ought to be repealed in the interests of social justice, the environment, and our children. Allowing ourselves to be deluded by oil-funded academics, who deliberately steer their observational research into lucrative and secure little sinecures, ought not to be permitted any longer.
Along with this letter, I have enclosed the submissions which outline the case for why I should be found not guilty by the magistrate in the Scone Local Court this coming Friday 23rd October 2015.
Repealing mandatory helmet law is a simple and inexpensive piece of law reform, and one that would bring the marvellous bicycle back to our roads ... with a vengeance.
cc The Hon. Mike Baird, MP, GPO Box 5341, SYDNEY NSW 2001; Mr Michael Johnsen, MP, 20 Bridge Street, MUSWELLBROOK NSW 2333; The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon, PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600