OPINION: Why do locals' opinion on sharks, CSG count more?

SHARKS and CSG, two topics everyone seems to have an opinion about.

But are some people more qualified to have opinions than others?

I'm writing specifically about some of the readers who've left opinions on our website about sharks.

This comment about the shark summit in Sydney is pretty typical: "Too important to leave to politicians, academia and 'shark experts' that probably can't swim and don't go to the beach".

Now, how many Australians do you know who can't swim and never go to the beach?

My mum can't swim, but she goes to the beach, goes in the water and I'm pretty sure she has an opinion about sharks.

The shark summit gathered together 70 of the world's foremost experts on sharks and yet somehow our reader has written them off.

We've received similar sorts of comments about CSG stories in the past, particularly during the Bentley Blockade.

The usual line is that if you don't live in the area or the actual property that gas is being drilled on then you shouldn't get a say about CSG and certainly shouldn't be at the site protesting about it.

Imagine limiting your opinions to the geographical location you live in.

The world would be a pretty boring place and we'd all simply live in our suburban boxes and not venture out, let alone express an opinion.

Agree or disagree, I think opinions should be shared and aired in a healthy democracy.

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