Australia’s #MarchInMarch this weekend (March 15 – 17) is another left-leaning people-powered event that you probably won’t hear much about in the mass media – despite the fact that it involves massive protests in 29 locations.
The messages on the signs in these nationwide marches are wildly inconsistent and they’re funny as hell. Humor and inconsistency are usually the work of the grassroots, not front groups. This Canberra Times article confirms it.
Despite the diversity of messaging, it’s crystal clear people marching are anti-Tony Abbott and fed up with their right wing government. Their homespun revolt reminds me very much of our anti-Walker protests 3 years ago.
Will their verve be dampened by a dull electoral race to come? Will front groups scurry in front of their movement soon to erase refreshing messages like these?
Here’s the “What is March in March” statement from the web site:
A peaceful, non-partisan citizens’ march and rally at Federal Parliament to protest against the current government’s policy decisions that are against the common good of our nation. This signifies the people’s vote of no confidence in policies of the government that go against common principles of humanity, decency, fairness social justice and equity, democratic governance, responsible global citizenship and conserving our natural heritage.
Here’s he statement that the marchers will give their parliament on Monday the 17th:
“Statement of No Confidence in the Abbott Government
From The People of Australia
Let it be known, and entered into the public record, that on this day, Monday 17 March 2014, the People of Australia delivered this document to the Parliament of Australia.
This document is a “Statement of No Confidence” in the Liberal National Party Coalition Government and is tendered on behalf of the many thousands of people around the nation who marched in rallies and protests on the 15, 16 and 17 March 2014.
The people express their profound dissatisfaction with actions of the Liberal National Party Coalition Government and the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, during their term in office.
This document asserts that many decisions made within this Government’s term in office have already resulted in, and will continue to result in, great damage to Australia’s economy, to our social structure, to the deterioration of our country’s international public image and to further devastation of our natural environment and our Heritage listed sites.
The people protest at a great number of policies and decisions being implemented by the Liberal National Party Coalition Government which are in denial of the best interests and image of our nation and an affront to the common good.
This document affirms the public dissatisfaction with policies that are incompatible with our international moral and legal responsibilities and to our way of life as a compassionate and caring people.
The social democracy that represents the very fabric of Australian ideology requires that the Government govern for the common good of all its people.
We believe that decisions have been made in our name which are unfair, lacking in integrity, costly and divisive.
We, the people of Australia, call upon the Government to recognise this Statement of No Confidence.”
Green Left Weekly of Australia has a live blog of the actions HERE.
Here’s one woman’s description of on the ground events in Newcastle.
Here’s the main facebook page.
I know almost nothing about Aussie politics so I’ll just share some information that very briefly addresses a couple messages you see in the #MarchInMarch photos I’ve culled from flickr.
A word from Tony Abbott’s top business adviser Maurice Newman uttered in December of 2013 might help us understand what’s afoot there.
“For all the propaganda about green employment, Australia seems to be living the European experience, where, for every green job created, two to three jobs are lost in the real economy,” Mr Newman said.
“The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade, is crumbling.”
So, when you see “NBN” in the sign above, you’re seeing a reference to the National Broadband Network. It seems that with the election of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, the rollout of the NBN was curtailed. It went from a $44.1 billion fibre-to-the-premises network to a $29.5 billion fibre-to-the-node plan. More info is at abc.net.
I’ve seen repeated reference to camps or Manus Island in the #MarchinMarch signs. Manus Island is an island in Papau New Guinea where asylum seekers have been relocated from Australia from 2001 – 2004 and from 2012 ’til the present.
I get the sense that the Manus Island camp is a cross between Guantanomo Bay and Lord of The Flies.
In short, the Manus Island camp is a living hell.
I wonder what role disgust with inhumane conditions at Manus had to play in pushing some individuals into protest.
This a is a piece by a former occupational health and safety manager at Manus Island, a camp for refugees. He blew the whistle on sexual assault and torture of some of the detained by others detained about one year go.
Last month there was a riot at Manus Island that killed one person and injured 77 others. The riot was thought to be a conflict between guards and “asylum seekers”. However a guard has blown the whistle to say that staff let local Papua New Guinea police from the island come into the camp to beat detainees while guards either did nothing or participated in violence.
Of this song he wrote,
“I’d been writing a song about the extreme mismatch of our navy facing off against asylum seekers in ramshackle boats. The official silence and militaristic language. The paranoid obsession Australia has with asylum seekers. The billions we spend so we can turn our back. Then Manus Island happened and it clarified the purpose of the song, giving us a tragic consequence to a hopeless situation. Somewhere along the way we mangled our perception of success to be measured by how many boats have landed. This is hysteria. So many miles from the myth of the ‘fair go’. It’s a call out to musicians and artists to put humanity back into focus.”
Facebook events for cities across Australia HERE.