Tag Archives: government

Thank you for marching

20140322-161210.jpg

Thanks to every single supporter for your likes, comments and shares; it was thanks to you that we were able to get the word out about the national protests.

Thanks to every person who donated to March in March; it was thanks to you that we could afford the necessities including printing, insurance and banners.

Thanks to everyone who made creative and family-friendly signs and banners; it was thanks to you that we were able to express our true and deepest concerns.

Thanks to everyone who shared your photos and videos of the march; it is thanks to you that people are aware of the 100,000 Aussies who marched against the government, despite the disappointingly lacking media coverage.

Most of all, thank you to every single person who marched; it is thanks to you that the government was made to hear us, whether they would like to acknowledge it or not.

This is just the first step but thank you for taking that necessary first step with us.

Advertisements

GUEST POST: I will March in March because we are part of the world, not apart from it.

20140311-085503.jpg

– 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

Offensive propaganda allegedly pushed by Liberal MP at Edith Cowan University

20140220-000751.jpg
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.

20140220-000910.jpg
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.

20140220-001501.jpg
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”.

20140220-001123.jpg
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.

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

20140202-201834.jpg

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

20140125-111141.jpg
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.

20140125-112601.jpg
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.

20140125-112724.jpg
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.

20140125-112142.jpg
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.

20140125-114045.jpg
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

    20140216-192532.jpg

    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.

    20140216-191843.jpg

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

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

    20140216-192411.jpg

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

    20140312-213926.jpg

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

    20140216-192332.jpg

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

    20140216-185540.jpg

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

    20140216-192201.jpg

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

    20140216-192118.jpg

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

    20140216-192028.jpg

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

    20140216-191939.jpg

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

    20140216-191758.jpg

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

    20140216-191707.jpg

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

    20140216-191532.jpg

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

    20140216-191446.jpg

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

    20140312-215742.jpg

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

    20140216-191359.jpg

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

    20140216-191213.jpg

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

    20140216-191123.jpg

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

    20140216-191031.jpg

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

    20140216-190709.jpg

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

    20140216-190413.jpg

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

    20140216-190330.jpg

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

    20140216-190211.jpg

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

    20140216-190137.jpg

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

    20140216-190103.jpg

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

    20140216-190016.jpg

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

    20140216-185444.jpg

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

    20140216-185813.jpg

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

    20140216-185735.jpg

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

    20140216-185702.jpg

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

    20140312-220853.jpg

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

    20140216-185612.jpg

    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