MP plans to zip his lips for a long day of silence

NO COMMENT: Sean Choat is taking on the Chatterbox Challenge, requiring him not to talk for the entire working day.
NO COMMENT: Sean Choat is taking on the Chatterbox Challenge, requiring him not to talk for the entire working day. Rob Williams

DON'T take it personally if Ipswich West MP Sean Choat gives you the silent treatment on Thursday.

There's a good reason for his silence.

For more information about the challenge visit chatterboxchallenge.com.au.

The loquacious Member of Parliament has agreed not to speak for the entire day as part of the Chatterbox Challenge.

The speechless undertaking is held to highlight the challenges faced every day by people with a disability and their families.

Mr Choat said the task would be difficult though, as he was not "the silent type".

"I'm a chatty person," he said. "I'm sure my staff and wife are looking forward to a day of silence from me."

To compensate for the communication barrier, Mr Choat said he had a few tricks up his sleeve.

"I'll have a notepad and pen with me and will be making use of post-its as well," he said.

"I know a gentleman who lost his voice and communicates with people now using one of those magnetic drawing boards - so I also might use one of them."

To further aid his efforts, Mr Choat said he had acquired a basic knowledge of Australian Sign Language (Auslan) - a skill he was eager to practice.

"When I was working in a government department years ago, two of my female colleagues were deaf," he said.

"My work put out an opportunity for staff to study Auslan and I decided to learn.

"The two staff members were really chuffed because I wouldn't sign the obligatory "how are you?", but rather phrases like "what did you get up to on the weekend?".

Of course, Mr Choat said there would be certain circumstances that would require him to break his vow of silence.

"If someone phones the office to speak with me about a serious issue, I will of course take the call," he said.

"I won't be doing Morse code on the phone or anything like that."

"I have a money box though and each time I speak I will be dropping in a coin as a penalty."

Money raised for the Chatterbox Challenge will go to supporting and empowering people living with a disability.

Mr Choat said he had hoped to do the challenge last week, but was unable to do so because he had to appear in Parliament.

He said he had to reschedule a few appointments this week, to allow for Thursday's silent challenge

"It will be a bit of fun," he said. "But I am sure it will also reinforce just how difficult it is for people with disabilities."

Presently, one-in-five Australians have a disability - more than four million people.

For more information about the challenge visit chatterboxchallenge.com.au.



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