Tag Archives: australia

Activist Receives Personally Threatening Letter From Anon Australian Company

  

The group ‘Palm Oil Investigations‘ has begun a powerful movement against the use of palm oil due to its environmental impact. Palm oil is commonly found in consumables and is a prominent ingredient in many Australian products.

Leading a charge against un-certified palm oil on Australian shelves, POI has made a massive impact by educating Aussies as to both the consequences of the use of palm oil and the specific products in which palm oil can be found.
  
An example of the important work that POI does.

They also have plans to soon release an app that will allow users to scan a barcode or search a product to quickly and easily ascertain as to whether or not it contains palm oil. Apparently news of this app has at least one company feeling cornered to the point that they actually threatened the volunteers behind the POI group

The cowardly anonymous letter leaves little to the imagination:
  
  
While the police investigate, we should all do our part to stand up to this company and the industry itself by following and supporting the POI page here and by making use of the app when it becomes available. 
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GUEST POST: I will March in March because we are part of the world, not apart from it.

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– By Deanne James

As March in March approaches and the daily emetic that is reading/listening to the “news” and any associated commentary gets stronger, I find myself increasingly wondering: where the bloody hell are we? Much to my dismay, I think the answer might be somewhat out of Lara Bingle’s league to discern. Although at this point, I’d be willing to consider anything that anyone might be able to offer up in order to understand what has happened in this country since that awful September evening in 2013, when Australian voters cut off their collective noses to spite their own face.

I am the great-granddaughter of Julia, whose family originates from El Mina in Tripoli, and who travelled from her home to Cuba, Melbourne and Dunedin before settling with her husband in Tasmania where my grandmother Amy was born. I grew up in Chester Hill, when the Villawood Detention Centre was still a Migrant Hostel. As a student of Chester Hill North Public School and Chester Hill High School, I had many classmates of Vietnamese origin. Quite a few of them would recount tales of being ushered into a tinny by their parents under cover of darkness and making the journey from their homeland to Australia to seek refuge. These were kids who grew up to be doctors, lawyers, teachers – valuable and proud citizens; citizens who never forgot where they came from, yet embraced Australia as their new home. Their stories joined with mine to make up the fabric of the Australia that I loved so much in my younger days.

With all this in mind, it is our treatment of refugees – and in particular the death of Reza Berati – that fills me with the most shame right now. Our country was founded and settled by boat people, many of them considered to be the dregs of English society, but a great many of whom were simply trying to survive – stealing bread to feed your starving family? Off to the colonies you go with the murderers, rapists and a few aristocrats. I’ll wager the Indigenous caretakers of this land weren’t asked if they minded the British getting off their boats.

In economic terms, offshore processing is a huge waste of money – those taxpayer dollars people are always bleating about. If you happen to possess some small measure of a conscience, you will see it for the unspeakably cruel and ideologically dangerous solution that it is. Segregation, secrecy, rations. Men, women and children locked up indefinitely, hidden away, in order to satisfy the rabid desire of the ill-informed to see “queue jumpers” punished just for wanting a better life, one free from war, famine, civil unrest. If there is no one in your homeland to whom you can apply for asylum, you just GO. Only when you get there, you are treated with contempt, stripped of your dignity, separated from family and kept in the dark in regards to your request for asylum. How we have failed those who have reached the point of such desperation that they would sell all that they own, risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones, that they would get on a those boats in the first place.

I have a big problem with people being used as bargaining chips with which to score political points. Comparative to the rest of the world, we receive very few arrivals; we are more than capable of doing our share. With continued civil unrest, famine, war, and looming environmental disasters, we will see more, not less, people willing to risk everything for a chance at a better and safer life; will we close our doors to all of them?

People are reduced to numbers and statistics to lower the risk of them being seen as actual human beings. Politicians, Shock Jocks and journos whip the masses into a frenzy using language better suited to times of war, creating a culture of fear. Anyone who dares to question is threatened or abused – the National Broadcaster copped a beating for its reporting of claims by asylum seekers that Naval personnel abused them during a tow-back to Indonesia. And whilst the pitchforks were out on that issue, scant mention was made of those who were lost and/or perished in the Indonesian jungle after being towed back by our Navy.

In an attempt to find whatever nuggets of truth are left lying around, we take to social media and independent news outlets. For it’s not just asylum seekers that we are being led a merry dance over; it’s a whole range of social, economic and environment issues.

So it is that this coming Sunday, I will march for those who came from far and wide seeking our help and whose voices are silenced by politicians who seek only to use them for their own political gain. But I will also march for those who will be further disadvantaged by cuts to benefits that already see them living below the poverty line; for those who will have to work longer – but who may find themselves unemployed at 65 with only basic skills and a workforce that doesn’t actually want to hire the elderly; for those who could end up homeless as a result of policy that forces them to sell the family home and live off those funds before being eligible for a pension (where on earth do you go if you’ve sold your house, given the price of rentals? Your car?); for those who are waiting on the NDIS; for those who can’t afford Private Health Insurance and rely on Medicare; for our fragile environment which is under attack by the logging industry and mining magnates hell-bent on dumping their sludge in one of the world’s most beautiful marine parks; for the ABC and SBS, whose services provide a vital alternative to the Murdoch empire’s one-eyed, inflammatory style of journalism.

I’m marching because I don’t think businessmen and women of unspeakable wealth have a right to dictate to us the things we should and shouldn’t do to improve our financial standing, when many of them did nothing but be born to “earn” theirs; because I believe that science, education, health (both mental and physical), technology and renewable energy are worth investing in. I’m marching for the workers of SPC, Toyota, Ford and QANTAS who were told to accept that the “age of entitlement” is over, despite Cadburys getting a bail out, and the Tasmanian logging industry getting a promised boost of some 75000 hectares of forest for them to destroy (if the petition to remove it from World Heritage Listing is successful), and despite the mining sector continuing to receive subsidies and incentives to assist them. It seems that those who chide the rest of us for feeling “entitled” are the ones who feel the biggest sense of entitlement of all.

I am marching because I care about the country my children will grow up in. We are part of the world, not apart from it. This planet is it – there is nowhere else to go. We need to treat one another with respect and dignity whether we were born here or not; whether we have money or not; whether we are well educated or not. We cannot punish people for their social standing, where they were born, the colour of their skin, the god or gods they worship (or don’t worship), their gender, or their sexuality. For all these things, I march on Sunday. For what was once the good name of my country and my fellow citizens; for my children, for me. The dismantling of this country as a fair and equitable place for all people to live and prosper will not be carried out in silence; not in my name, and certainly not in any of theirs.

I am not a member of, nor affiliated with, any particular political Party. I have during my life voted Labor, Liberal, Green, Independent and many things in between. As someone who takes their right to vote seriously, I believe that a swinging voter is a conscious voter; and I believe that voting for party over policy is lazy dangerous. Just look at what happened when people voted for “the other guy” because they were pissed at Labor.

Related:
March In March Australia 2014: A national protest as a vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government
March in March Australia 2014: What We Are Protesting
Tony Abbott’s ‘Message from the PM’ removed by Youtube. What happens next?
WARNING TO WA VOTERS: Liberal Party’s return address envelope for postal vote application is NOT addressed to the AEC
Manus Island guards allowed armed locals into the centre to attack asylum seekers
Tara Moss reveals disturbing details about the murder on Manus
Offensive propaganda allegedly pushed by Liberal MP at Edith Cowan University

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

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?

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: A national protest as a vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government

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    No matter how it happened or who is to blame, the sad reality is that we as a nation have been inflicted with a self-serving excuse for a government. The country has completely unravelled under the Abbott Government and until now, we’ve felt utterly powerless against his will.

    Based on their belief in unchallengeable power, Abbott led his campaign with lies and scare-tactics. Now that they hold the reins, they have broken promises and systematically torn apart long-standing and successful policies as quickly as they possibly could. This frenzied attack on our own country has done nothing to benefit anyone other than the rich – those who need assistance least of all.

    Standing against human rights, they’ve instructed our Naval forces to turn back the desperate and down-trodden with force, they’ve denied marriage equality and they’ve cut the already minimal benefits to the needy in every possible sector.

    Determined to allow big-business to profit at any environmental cost, they’ve cut the ‘green tape’ by removing heritage listings to allow dredging and logging of our most precious and previously protected environmental resources.

    They’ve denied clear science by being stubborn climate sceptics with what will be devastating consequences, reversed pre-election promises to fight whaling practices and, by being ignorant to their responsibilities, have destroyed international relations with Indonesia.

    …and this is just SOME of what has been done since September 2013.

    Australia has become a shell of what it once was and we, for the most part, are truly ashamed. We have fought for individual causes with our petitions and a form of independent media that is free from the restraints of owners such as the repulsive and repugnant, Rupert Murdoch.

    We have been left with what feels like an insurmountable battle, but this has not stopped us from trying everything that we can. Now it is time for us to stand united using our loudest possible, most well-informed collective voice and march as one against the Abbott government.

    March in March 2014 is an independent, national protest being held in a variety of locations across Australia. It has been organised by members of the concerned public and is not associated with any political party.

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    We are marching in peaceful protest as a vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government on the weekend of March 15/16th (Canberra on March 17th). You can view the current list of locations, dates and times (where available) here. Read more about why we are protesting here and check our our article in Independent Australia here.

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    March in March Australia has been organised by a specialist team of volunteers local to each area and a national administration of 7 people. Led by Tim Jones and Craig Batty, the national team includes people of all ages and backgrounds, from all across Australia; Candace Wirth, Margaret McMillan, Loz Lawrey, Chessy Collins and myself, Leesa Little.

    Special thanks to Jan and Sally for everything they did to get these marches off the ground.

    March in March is not sponsored by any organisation or party and is a uniquely grassroots movement. We have relied on the generous donations of the public to pay for each aspect of the 32 marches. Without the help of these donors, this simply would not have been possible. You can make a donation via our crowd-funding page here.

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    You can keep up to date with details of the march by ‘liking’ the official Facebook page and following us on Twitter at @MarchinMarchAus.

    It’s time for us to prove that while the Abbott Government has refused to listen thus far, we do indeed have a voice.

    I will be marching as a vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government in March 2014; will you?



    Links:

  • March in March: Why we are protesting
  • March in March Australia: Times, dates and locations
  • March in March Australia on Facebook
  • March in March Australia on Twitter
  • March in March Australia’s website

  • Related:
    Cory Bernardi: Conservative values or an excuse to be a bigot?