Politician unable to talk for one week


A QUEENSLAND Labor MP has been gagged for at least one week, but it's not because he has said or done something wrong.

Member for Aspley Bart Mellish had surgery yesterday to fix scarring on his vocal cords which he said was caused, in part, by talking too much.

In a Facebook post reminiscent of the cue cards scene from the film Love Actually, Mr Mellish announced he had "great news" for anyone who thinks politicians talk too much.

"You won't be hearing from me just for a few weeks," his cards read.

He said, via an email interview, his troubles started when he had a regular cold for a week or so in October.

"I recovered fine but I noticed my voice never really fully recovered," he said.

"After I would speak for 10 minutes or so in a day it would just be getting quieter and more difficult to speak. Many people would say that's a positive thing.

"Of course the end of last year was a very busy time, with plenty of end of year presentations, school events, and I was doing a lot of doorknocking and public events as well.

"After coming back from a couple of weeks off over Christmas and the New Year I saw my GP, who referred me to a specialist who said I had a Vocal Cord Granuloma, or basically scarring on my vocal cords.

"They can be caused by a number of factors but in my case talking too much would likely be a major contributing factor I am told."

Mr Mellish said he had the granuloma chopped out and the area lasered to hopefully prevent it re-occurring.

He has been advised not to talk for at least one week "and then very little over the next few weeks".

"The few times I have accidentally tried to speak, not much has come out."

It hasn't stopped Mr Mellish from working though.

"I am in parliament today, in fact. I have a notepad handy and am trying to communicate as best I can by writing and typing.

"I'm still attending meetings where I can, and am in fact catching up with a few ministers this week to lobby for some more local project funding.

"My handwriting is shockingly bad so typing is my best bet. My office is also still taking meetings and functioning as per usual."

Mr Mellish said he wanted to make sure his voice returned as soon as possible.

"Although it's only been a day since the surgery, I can see how difficult it must be for people with speaking difficulties or speech impediments to be able to communicate in the world on a day-to-day basis.

"It's a bit frustrating to not be able to contribute immediately to conversations as they happen."

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