Yesterday, I joined over 100,000 people around Australia to March in March and oppose the policies of the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and the Liberal (conservative) Australian government. All around Australia – over the weekend of March 15-17, in the capital cities and in regional areas, Australian voters and their families took to the streets to say they had “no confidence” in the Abbott government.
In Melbourne, 50,000 people joined the demonstration; in Sydney 20,ooo; in Adelaide 5,ooo, in Perth 2,000 and in Brisbane 15,000. Thousands of people also took to the streets over the weekend in regional centres such as Gosford, Wollongong, Townsville, Cairns, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Katoomba, as well as countless other towns around the country.
As the March in March Melbourne event listing noted: “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”.
At the Melbourne March in March, as with the other March in March demonstrations in other towns in cities, people carried placards on a range of issues. Protestors opposed Abbott’s policies on refugees, the environment, climate change, worker’s rights, Indigenous issues, women’s rights and much much more.
While I find most, if not all of Abbott’s policies aborhent, I am most appalled by his draconian policies on asylum seekers and refugees which has seen some of the most vulnerable people in the world, who are escaping trauma, persecution, poverty, war and starvation being locked up in hell holes as a part of Abbott’s off shore processing policy (which was initially started by the Rudd Labor government). This policy recently resulted in the murder of a young Iranian refugee, Reza Barati, on Manus Island.
Shamefully, the Australian Labor Party distanced itself from yesterday’s rally – no doubt because many of the issues people were protesting are also policies pursued by the ALP. According to the ABC: “The Labor Party has distanced itself from the rally, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten telling reporters, ”But I do get that people want to express their views. It’s a free country,” he said”.
Tony Abbott showed his contempt for the Australian pubic and voters by flippantly dismissing the protests. According to the ABC: “Prime Minister Tony Abbott was asked about the protests taking place in Australia’s capital cities today, but replied that, “My understanding is that the only big rally in Sydney is the St Patrick’s Day parade. That is the big event in Sydney today. I wish all of them well. If their parade is rained on, there is always some Guinness available around the city.”
I have included some images of some of the placards below. In particular, I have included some of my favourite cultural jamming ones, with pop culture references. I have also include along with some of my photos from the Melbourne rally and other placards referencing the issues people were protesting about. Also below is a video of the 50,000 strong Melbourne rally.
The very last photo I have included is of the fabulous Year 9 students from Newtown Performing Arts High School in Sydney. Earlier in the week they became a viral hit when a video of their encounter with Prime Minister Tony Abbott was uploaded onto youtube. In the video “Tony Abbott avoids and waffles himself through questions regarding gay marriage, asylum seekers and feminine [feminist] leadership asked by year 9 students from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts Students”. I have included their video as well.
Culture Jamming Abbott’s policies at March in March
Photos: Sherlock (Newcastle); Joffrey (Melbourne); Wrecking Ball (unknown); Tinman/Wizard of Oz (Brisbane); Superman (Melbourne); Simpsons (Melbourne)