Category Archives: Politics

Manus Island guards allowed armed locals into the centre to attack asylum seekers

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Corroborating all accounts from Tara Moss’ contact from earlier today, ABC’s 7:30 has reported an eye witness account of the Manus Island bloodshed. Compounding this injustice, the information comes after the ABC today revealed that former Sri Lankan military officer, Dinesh Perera is the operations manager of Manus Island detention centre.

The witness has told 7:30 that guards freely allowed locals armed with makeshift weapons into the centre where they viciously attacked asylum seekers.

Coming as no surprise, 7:30’s Liam Cochrane explains that the G4S guards do not let any media near the facility, as was previously exemplified by the reported removal of a SMH journalists’ camera and phone. The ABC was also threatened with arrest by local police in an attempt to prompt them to delete footage.

Cochrane further explains that that night there were “expatriate G4S guards, mostly Australian” in attendance and that “there were also Papua New Guinean G4S guards, some in uniform, some out of uniform, and some in riot gear, known as the IRT, or Incident Response Team. PNG’s mobile squad were the only ones with guns and a crowd of locals gathered to watch a standoff that continued for several hours.”

What then followed were chilling words from 7:30’s witness: “The police fired warning shots and that scared the clients and they went into their rooms, so that’s when the G4S went in. And when the G4S get into the camp, they belt, they fight with the clients and belt them very badly and same are wounded, blood run over their face.”

Most damning was the certainty with which the witness describes the account. After being questioned about whether he is sure if it was locals who entered or not, this person explains that, “Yeah, of course. They’re some locals. Because the locals came to see what’s happening. They’re on the road and see what’s happening, so when the fence, the gates just – the G4S guards just break down the fence. They told everybody to go in and stop them and hit them and fight them, so that’s when the locals get in.”

Cochrane asks if it is true that the G4S guards allowed the locals inside. The witness answers again with absolute certainty, “Yeah. Because the G4S guards want manpower to help them, so they took them inside, the locals helped them.”

It is a tale of a nightmare worse than you or I could imagine. 7:30 reports that asylum seekers hiding from the violence were dragged out and brutally assaulted and the witness corroborates by explaining the hatred the guards showed for these innocent detainees, “When they get in they are so angry, they like they are in a war or something, they are not happy, their faces are so serious. They go in and belt the clients up.”

Angry and violent G4S guards took turns assaulting their cowering victims, seemingly taking pleasure in their task.

As for Reza Berati, the 23-year-old Iranian man who lost his life in the attacks, he was reportedly “hit with lengths of wood, with metal poles taken from beds and had his head or neck stomped”.

We will not rest until Manus is shut down permanently. We will continue to fight for these innocent detainees who are living in fear every single day as a result of our own heinous system.

Read the entire transcript on ABC’s website here.

UPDATE:
Tara Moss has since posted a statement on her website, taramoss.com with links to corroborate her entire original statement. You can read this in full here.

Related:
Tara Moss reveals disturbing details about the murder on Manus
March in March Australia against the Abbott Government

Thank you to Tara Moss for bringing this further information to my attention:

“The information in this breaking ABC report (below) is consistent with the information given to me by my anonymous contact at Manus Island. Expat G4S guards appear to have tried to calm the situation, while PNG G4S allegedly fired shots in the compound and fought and assaulted asylum seekers along with a number of PNG locals who reportedly entered the area with makeshift weapons to attack the people in the compound:

‘The expatriate guards reportedly stayed out of the violence for the most part, trying to calm the situation and overseeing operations.’

‘Some of the asylum seekers who tried to escape the violence by hiding in a gym were dragged out and brought brutally assaulted.’

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3951437.htm

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Tara Moss reveals disturbing details about the murder on Manus

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Journalist, author, television presenter and former model Tara Moss, has today revealed information she received from a contact of hers who, in a disturbing turn of events, can no longer be reached for confirmation that he is okay.

In a chilling re-telling of Reza Berati’s final moments, she describes what was told to her shortly after it occurred. Maintaining her decency and integrity, she first waited for confirmation of the details before speaking out:

“I have been struggling with the ethics of sharing this information, but now, as the info I was given has been corroborated elsewhere, I feel I must: One of my long standing crime research contacts informed me of what happened on Manus Island, shortly after it happened. He is currently stationed there and worked on the now deceased Mr Reza Berati for 20 minutes before he passed. He described Mr Berati as an ‘exemplary human being’ showing ‘all the hallmarks’ of someone who would be ‘an asset to any community’. My contact, who wished to remain anonymous because they all sign confidentiality contracts, gave me a full run down on the events, before the details became public: the ’20+ shots fired’ (not ‘a couple’ as previously claimed). The spent shells. The evacuation of staff (but not asylum seekers) before the violence began. The fact that people from outside came in and opened fire on the people there. The fact that it happened deep within the compound where people were trapped, far from the entry gate. All of his info has proved true so far. Every last detail. And though he is stationed there, and can’t speak publicly, he wanted me to know that many of the staff there are excellent, highly-qualified expat Australians doing the best they can in bad conditions, but that Manus Island detention centre should be shut down as unsafe. Since this conversation, my contact has been unreachable and I have not been able to get any further info or to find out if he is okay.”
From Tara Moss’ Facebook page

Reza Berati’s death was a tragedy and the lack of media coverage is disturbing. Thanks to individuals who have been brave enough to reveal such details as above – we would know near to nothing factual otherwise.

To those who were injured and intimidated during the Manus attacks and to those still detained for simply seeking asylum, we will continue to fight for your rights and immediate safety.

To Reza, we will fight for justice. We’re so sorry that this was allowed to happen to you.

UPDATE:
Tara Moss has since posted a statement on her website, taramoss.com with links to corroborate her entire original statement. You can read this in full here.

Related:
Manus Island guards allowed armed locals into the centre to attack asylum seekers
March in March Australia against the Abbott Government
Tony Abbott’s message removed – what happens next?

Offensive propaganda allegedly pushed by Liberal MP at Edith Cowan University

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Image credit: Aussies Against The Abbott Government

“Proud Liberal – Because not everyone can be on welfare”
“If Labor is the answer, how stupid is the question?”
“Green is the new red”
“Lefty free zone”

These have to be seen to be believed. Earlier this evening, it was revealed that students at Edith Cowan University (Joondalup campus) were handing out these stickers at their Orientation Day today.

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Image credit: Aussies Against The Abbott Government

It should come as no surprise that these images of offensive Liberal stickers were making the rounds online tonight, prompting both public outrage and feelings of shame towards the young Australians who handed them out. What was not expected however, was who exactly now seems to be the source of this offensive muck; Federal Liberal MP, Ian Goodenough. The extent of his involvement is not certain, though to stand behind these stickers is enough.

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Image source: aph.gov.au

Students, along with the local member for Moore, did their best to promote hatred towards those who aren’t Liberals and those who are disabled, unemployed, aged, a carer or on Newstart (as many students at Orientation would have been) with the attitude, “Go Liberal or go home”.

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Image credit: Aussies Against The Abbott Government

As generally decent human beings, we are able to identify the maliciousness behind these stickers and are well-aware to steer clear of such rubbish. It is unfortunate however, that we are still witnessing that the very same hate-mongering that won the LNP the election is alive and well, even amongst our youth.

It’s safe to say that Goodenough, this is just not good enough. Trying to warp young minds – while typical of LNP – should not be a tactic undertaken by any politician, especially at a university Orientation Day.

Tony Abbott’s ‘Message from the PM’ removed by Youtube. What happens next?

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When Abbott proudly posted his “Message from the PM – Delivering on Our Promises”, YouTube was quick to shut it down as “deceptive content”. What happens next is all too predictable…

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March in March Australia 2014: What Are YOU Marching For?

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March in March is a national protest as a vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government’s policies. This is an open idea that umbrellas a vast collection of the public’s concerns and issues with the current government’s actions and policies.

The unfortunate reality for Australians is that there are too many critical issues to name, despite all of our efforts to do so. It is because of this that supporters are invited to march for the individual causes that are important to them and to make these issues known.

We are agreed that we are marching for three primary ideals; accountability, transparency and decency. It is under these ideals that our individual concerns fall. So for us to march with focus on accountability, transparency and decency from and within our Government, we are marching in a way that is entirely inclusive of all of our individual concerns.

Please let us know what you will be marching for this coming March 2014 by voting in the poll below. You may select as many options as you would like and choose with your heart, mind or both. Please post a comment with an issue if it has not been included and it will be added to the poll.

The results will give us a clear indication as to which issues are most important to Australians and will assist in providing an entirely accurate representation of supporters’ concerns.

Links:

March in March Australia 2014: What We Are Protesting

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Source: SMH.com.au

March in March is a national action as a vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government’s policies. The protest will be held peacefully in March 2014 in various locations across Australia.

The argument that March in March is affiliated with any particular political party is entirely incorrect. In fact, the purpose of the action is to communicate what we, as concerned Australian citizens want for our country. It should not be viewed as an attack on the Abbott Government, but rather a movement towards a dialogue with our current Government, as they have been shamelessly ignorant and indifferent to the public’s concerns to date.

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Source: March In March Facebook page

Former independent MP, Ted Mack described what are many of the same views held by the organisers of March in March during his Henry Parkes Oration in October 2013. He highlights the faults of our current political system and makes suggestions as to how to correct these long-standing faults. You can read his full speech, including his ideas for inspiring effective change, here.

Particularly of interest was his concept of an open government – the idea that the workings of government should be open to public scrutiny. Given the current political circumstances, this is especially necessary. At present we are being governed by those who believe that secrecy is the best policy, despite the public’s outrage at such a notion. Ted Mack explains that “elected representatives should enable people to not only participate in decisions that affect them but ultimately to find ways to have people make decisions for themselves”. He continues by describing that the very basis of democracy is that decisions made as a whole “will be right more often than decisions taken by an elite group, no matter how wise that group is”. The recent belittling of the Syria civil war by referring to it as a matter of ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ by Tony Abbott exemplifies the complete lack of sense possessed by our current Prime Minister. So in regard to Ted Mack’s aforementioned comments, it would be safe to say that given the unwise nature of the current government’s leader, we should be more inclined to ask to be granted such decision-making capacity for ourselves.

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How we’re seen by the world: our PM on the Huffington Post UK.

Mack notes that during the 2010-13 Federal Parliament, the major parties did little towards any valuable form of democratic debate, but rather focused their attention towards character assassinations of one another. What we witnessed throughout the 2013 election campaign especially, was a party whose every move to begin such constructive debate resulted in them being torn limb from limb by the LNP, assisted of course by a massive backing in Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. They used every moment of grandstanding to belittle the ALP – both personally and professionally – and to further their fear-mongering amongst the voters. Somehow it won them the election. Now they’re scrambling to undo all of Labor’s policies at the fastest rate possible, leaving behind a sea of disgruntled Australians who are desperately begging them to reconsider.

Although the ALP vs. LNP battle has been won for now, with the LNP’s election win, Mr Abbott still insists on belittling the ALP’s decisions, now taking his campaign to the world-stage. Only days ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Abbott chose to again look to the past and criticise the Opposition, rather than focus on creating a positive plan for our country. He told a collective of the world’s top political and business leaders that, “In the decade prior to the crisis, consistent surpluses and a preference for business helped my country, Australia, to become one of the world’s best-performing economies,”. He then took his swipe at the former leaders of ‘his’ country by explaining that, “Then a subsequent government decided that the crisis had changed the rules and that we should spend our way to prosperity.” – from the SMH. The suggestion that Australia (under Labor) did not need to stimulate the economy during the global financial crisis is ludicrous, given that there was near-unanimous advice of economists and the Treasury to take such action. If only the LNP were to realise that this is not between them and the ALP, this is now between them and Australia; they have no point to prove, only work to be done.

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Source: SMH.com.au

Also of important consideration is, as Mack described, that “voting within parties is often based on what faction members belong to, who wants to become or stay a minister or who wants to be party leader”. What we are left with is a party that consists of individuals who are less concerned about the public’s best interests and are more focused on their own personal advancement and alliances. Mack continues by explaining that “what the electors think is at best a secondary consideration” and that “party members almost always follow the party line and are often voting against what they really believe or what their electors want”.

Liberal MP, Ken O’Dowd has very recently been quoted regarding his view on the welfare system. In an audio of a meeting that was heard by Fairfax Media, Mr O’Dowd expressed that too many people in Australia were exploiting the social security system and that something needed to be done to stop the “welfare cheats”. He then recalled a conversation he recently had with billionaire Gina Rinehart wherein she refers to him personally and colloquially. He told the community meeting that “[Mrs Rinehart’s] biggest whinge to me was, she said, ‘Ken, you blokes in Canberra have got to stop the welfare system’,” he furthered the incriminating statement by detailing Rinehart’s quote, “There is 60 per cent of Australians on some sort of welfare payment. [Mrs Rinehart] said, ‘They can’t be all that badly off’.”SMH. Why would an MP have such friendly relations with big-business billionaires such as Rinehart? Given the recent tax break granted to mining companies, one would think that an MP would be intelligent enough not to brag about being influenced (whether he believes it to be directly or indirectly), by a mining company billionaire regarding the slashing of welfare funding; especially considering that for the most part, Australians are outraged that these cuts have been pursued in the first place. There is no denying the direct influence that billionaire individuals and their respective companies have had on the LNP. We cannot help but to feel as though we as Australian citizens have become a business acquisition since the election.

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Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart. Source: cqnews.com.au

In saying all of the above, it is also important to understand that the voting system is indeed flawed and those of us begging the question, “how did the LNP come into power despite all of its unwanted policies” may now have an answer. When Labor didn’t have the chance to present a clearly better option (valuable time was wasted defending against LNP’s baseless claims), those whose minds weren’t made up voted based on the ‘no other option’ perspective. There were of course other options, but not many were willing to vote outside of the two-party system due to their misguided fear that they would fall within the minority and would ultimately be wasting a vote. Mack believes that Australia’s electoral systems (both federal and state – excluding the ACT and Tasmania), are in clear breach of Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He explains that “as things stand Australian democracy consists of voting in a rigged system every few years to elect others to make decisions for us” and that “the voters mostly know little or nothing about candidates; we are rarely permitted to have our say on policies”.

Despite the fact that the majority do not want to have decisions made for us in every capacity without any say, the current Government seems to take the scarily dominant position that “you chose us so deal with it”. Unfortunately for them, this is not the kind of leadership that we, as the knowledgeable and aware will accept from our government. This is why we are uniting to demand our right to be heard.

Ideally, the LNP would take this action not as a threat, but as step towards a more democratic system. If they can pry themselves from their personal interests and from finding ways to benefit only big business, Australia would be better as a whole. Mack describes big business’ yearn for more centralisation of power, rather than the democratic system in that it “spends millions of dollars to subvert democracy”. So far it is certainly true that they’ve found the perfect puppets to do their bidding; the question is, will the LNP ever change focus and aim to be a beneficial government for the entire country, rather than for only a select few?

Transparency, accountability, democracy – that is what we’re marching for.



Links:

  • Henry Parkes Oration – Ted Mack
  • March in March Australia 2014: Event times, dates and locations.
  • March in March Australia 2014: A national protest as a vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government’s policies.
  • March in March Australia on Facebook
  • March in March Australia on Twitter
  • March in March Australia’s website
  • Petition: To the Australian Government and the Governor General: We Reject Tony Abbott and the LNP


  • Related:

  • Cory Bernardi: Conservative values or an excuse to be a bigot?
  • Anonymous donor encourages contributions to Australian marriage equality

  • March in March Australia 2014: Protest times, dates and locations

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    Times, dates and meeting places for March in March Australia locations are listed below. This will be regularly updated with information as it becomes available. You can read more about the March in March protests here.

    Please consider a donation to March in March by visiting our crowd-funding page here.

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    NATIONAL MARCH:
    Canberra
    Monday, 17th March
    10am
    Start at Queen Victoria Terrace (behind Old Parliament House)
    Canberra Facebook page
    Canberra event page

    ************

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    Adelaide
    Rally
    Sunday, 16th March
    12pm-2pm
    Steps of Parliament House
    Adelaide Facebook page
    Adelaide event page

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    Alice Springs
    Sunday 16th March
    11am
    Council Lawns
    Alice Springs Facebook page
    Alice Springs event page

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    Armidale
    Saturday 15th March
    2pm
    Central Park
    Armidale Facebook Page
    Armidale event page

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    Bendigo
    Sunday, 16th March
    12pm
    Lake Weeroona
    Bendigo Facebook page
    Bendigo event page

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    Blue Mountains
    Sunday 16th March
    11am
    Carrington Place, Katoomba
    Blue Mountains Facebook page

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    Brisbane
    Sunday, 16th March
    11:30am
    Queens Park
    Brisbane Facebook page
    Brisbane event page

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    Byron Bay
    Sunday, March 16th
    10:45am
    Apex Park
    Byron Bay Facebook page
    Byron Bay event page

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    Caboolture
    Saturday 15th March
    10:00am
    Centenary Lakes
    Caboolture Facebook page
    Caboolture event page

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    Cairns
    Saturday, 15th March
    12pm
    Fogarty Park
    Cairns Facebook page
    Cairns event page

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    Castlemaine
    Sunday, 16th March
    11am
    Victory Park
    Castlemaine Facebook page

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    Coffs Harbour
    Sunday 16th March
    10am
    Foreshores
    Coffs Harbour Facebook page
    Coffs Harbour event page

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    Darwin
    Saturday 15th March
    10am
    Bennett Street
    Darwin Facebook page
    Darwin event page

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    Denmark
    Sunday 16th March
    10:30am
    Berridge Park
    Denmark Facebook page
    Denmark event page

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    Fraser Coast
    Sunday, 16th March
    1pm
    Enzo’s on the beach
    Hervey Bay
    Fraser Coast Facebook page

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    Geraldton
    Sunday, 16th March
    3pm
    Surf Lifesaving Club
    Foreshore
    Geraldton Facebook page

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    Gold Coast
    **Please check Facebook page
    Gold Coast Facebook page
    Gold Coast event page

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    Gosford
    Saturday, 15th March
    10:45am
    Meet at the Carawah reserve march to Marina, Masons Parade
    Gosford Facebook page
    Gosford event page

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    Grafton
    Saturday 15th March
    10am
    Market Square, Prince Street
    Grafton Facebook page

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    Hobart
    Sunday, 16th March
    12pm
    Meet at the Cenotaph
    Hobart Facebook page
    Hobart event page

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    Lismore
    Saturday, 15th March
    12:00pm
    Spinks Park
    Lismore Facebook page
    Lismore event page

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    Melbourne
    Sunday, March 16th
    12pm
    State Library of Victoria
    Melbourne Facebook page
    Melbourne event page

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    Mildura
    Sunday, 16th March
    12:30pm
    Henderson Park
    Mildura Facebook page

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    Newcastle
    Sunday, 16th March
    9:45am
    Meet at Pacific Park for march to Civic Park
    Newcastle Facebook page
    Newcastle event page

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    Perth
    Sunday, March 16th
    10:30am
    Langley Park
    Perth Facebook page
    Perth event page

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    Port Macquarie
    Sunday, March 16th
    9:30am
    Westport Park
    Port Macquarie Facebook page
    Port Macquarie event page

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    Sydney
    Sunday, March 16th
    1:00pm
    Belmore Park, Haymarket
    Sydney Facebook page
    Sydney event page

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    Toowoomba
    Saturday, 15th March
    11am
    Frogs Hollow, Queens Park
    Toowoomba Facebook page

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    Townsville
    Sunday, 16th March
    9:00am
    Burke Street Headland
    Townsville Facebook page
    Townsville event page

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    Wodonga
    Sunday 16th March
    11am
    Woodland Grove Park
    Wodonga Facebook page
    Wodonga Event Page

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    Wollongong
    Sunday, 16th March
    11am
    Stuart Park
    Wollongong Facebook page
    Wollongong event page

    Facebook users can RSVP to their local event (entirely optional) via the links above. Non-Facebook users can visit March in March Australia’s website here. You can also follow us on Twitter here.

    Again, this post will be regularly updated with individual event details as they become available. You can also visit the original post here for more information on March in March.

    Links:

  • March in March: Why we are protesting
  • March in March Australia: A vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government
  • March in March Australia on Facebook
  • March in March Australia on Twitter
  • March in March Australia’s website