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So many reasons to March in March

By Loz Lawrey

Let’s make a list. I’ll start right here in this article.

I know I’ll miss many issues because I’m no expert on current affairs, politics, or the state of the economy.

I hope that when you’ve read this piece you’ll add your own suggestions to this list of government outrages and violations of the Fair Go in the comments section below.

I’m just an old geezer who cares about Australia and wants to see it achieve its amazing potential as an inclusive multicultural social democracy where not one citizen is left behind, where policy-making is based upon real-world research, expert opinion and above all, the public-interest test otherwise known as the Fair Go.

Not the “pub test” which usually seeks endorsement for bigotry, NO.

I mean the Fair Go test.

The Fair Go lies at the very heart of Australianness, or supposedly always was (although I’m sure our indigenous brothers and sisters would disagree, much to our national shame).

However, I do believe that the Fair Go is the underlying principle that can unite us all, whatever our ancestral origins.

It’s the key to Australia’s re-invention as a truly modern civilised society, one which provides low cost education to its people, which provides public healthcare and social services for our disadvantaged, which invests in its own future and the social and environmental legacy we bequeath our children.

An Australia which focuses on uniting, not dividing.

An Australia which embraces all humans, regardless of difference, simply because we’re all alive here together and we need to look after each other and make this planet work.

We Aussies are either the descendants of convicts, free settlers, refugees from war and dysfunctional economies, or the cruelly dispossessed yet still proud descendants of the most ancient culture on our planet. Or perhaps simply dreamers in search of a better life.

Sports-loving or hating, carniverous or vegetarian, straight, gay or transgender, black, white, brown, yellow, red or any shade of anything … we are Australian.

Catholic, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, Anglican, Seventh-Day Adventist, Church of the Fying Spaghetti Monster … whatever! We are Australian.

This is our potential – to be a world-leader in inclusive, rational policy-making. To lead the way by embracing renewable energy.

Australia, if it wished, could become the nation that shows the world the way to human betterment and fulfillment.

We actually could, as a nation, make the conscious choice to base our society on principles of inclusion and mutual respect rather than the divide-and-conquer neoliberal rat-race which disempowers most of us.

We could admit that “gross national happiness” requires more than reducing budget deficits and book-balancing.

We could value social capital as equally important as economic capital.

I hesitate to speak in this way.

Because I can already sense the hate-cannons of the right-wing nonsensicators being armed and loaded with the weasel-words of regressive conservatism, often used to great effect against any progressive voice that dares to squeak out: “bleeding heart”, “loony leftie” “greenie” etc. etc.

But hey, I was born in the 50s, a teenager in the 60s, a young man in the 70s. In that era empathy was still cool.

Then the 80s arrived, and I saw the world change. It’s all been downhill since then.

I remember the moment I became conscious of the new paradigm being foisted upon us.

I was standing in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall one sunny morning. Suddenly my mind replayed a collage of images and soundbites from my week’s TV viewing: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and other demons of their ilk peddling the new neoliberal mantra of individualism and competition.

Whether or not Thatcher said “There’s no such thing as society” (the jury’s still out), she certainly meant it.

We were returning to the law of the jungle, to “only the strong survive”, to a new world of “winners” and “losers” in which could only a few could “win” and many would lose.

As a casual worker in a hardware store (because full-time workers, even back then, were no longer being hired) struggling to pay his way and make ends meet, I knew this “new world” would not be kind to me.

That’s the flaw with the whole neoliberal trickle-down concept. Only a very small percentage of the population, nationally or globally, can truly prosper.

The neoliberal lie relies on our gullibility, our blind belief that we too can one day become millionaires too.

Donald Trump is the very personification of that false promise – it seems many Americans still believe more in the American dream than on-the-ground reality: “If we elect a billionaire, we ‘ll become rich too!”

Wake up! Not everyone can be a millionaire! Or even a billionaire. To even put faith in such a concept is an act of greedy selfishness.

Sure, we all want success, but must it come at the expense of others? Must we impoverish others, or deny them social services and support because we want our tax dollars spent solely upon ourselves?

Sorry, I’ve been babbling, as progressives do if you give them a glass of wine and ask them: “how was your day?”… “Peppered with outrage and disgust at the xenophobic, racist, selfish, fearful, regressive and ignorant conservatism of hard-right extremists masquerading as liberals”, they might say. “ Oh, and it was sunny. Bit warm”.

But … back to the list!

Let’s start this list of government policies and decisions that outrage and disgust, that attack ther Fair Go, that erode workers’ rights and entitlements, that tear our social safety net, that abuse and torture refugees, that are anti-social and simply wrong… oops…. list them!

Please add your own to those I’ll invariably leave out:

  1. The Indue welfare card.
  2. The corrupt privatised Job Network.
  3. The Centrelink debt-recovery scam.
  4. The overt attacks on welfare recipients, and the lies and falsehoods around welfare which spring daily from the mouths of government ministers.
  5. The Turnbull government’s collusion with the Murdoch media in the demonising of refugees, welfare recipients and the welfare system generally, by actively providing distorted statistics and false figures on the true cost of welfare.
  6. The Turnbull government’s use of bodies such as the “Fair Work Commission” to attack and remove workers’ entitlements such as out-of-hours penalty rates.
  7. The Turnbull government’s use of the ABCC to demonise and disempower the trade unions that work so hard to represent workers.
  8. The Turnbull government’s blatant lies and misrepresentation around electricity supply and renewable energy.
  9. The Turnbull government’s climate-change denialism and support for the fossil fuel industry.
  10. The theft from the public purse from ther ongoing rorting of political entitlements and travel allowances by politicians.
  11. The Turnbull government’s regime of torture and abuse of asylum seekers in offshore detention.
  12. The Turnbull government’s nonsensical claims that $50 billion in tax cuts to corporations that already pay less than their due will somehow benefit our broader economy and allow some benefit to trickle down to the rest of us.
  13. The contempt with which the Turnbull government treats Australians, as though they were our rulers, not our servants (which they actually are).

I’ll stop here for now. As the late great Bob Ellis would have said: Discuss.

I’m sure once others contribute to this list, we’ll find there are more reasons than we knew to join other concerned Australians on the streets

Bring a placard and let Turnbull and his cronies know:

WE’RE NOT HAPPY, MAL!

Stand Up Australia March in March Rallies will be held around the nation on Saturday 25th March.

Information can be found on your nearest March Australia Facebook page or at the March australia Activist Interchange website http://maai.x10host.com

or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maainterchange/

or at #StandUpAustralia2017

22 comments

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  1. Susan

    Yes Bravo

  2. Deanna Jones

    Thanks, Loz. A great list, and thank you for encouraging people to get out on the street again. Online petitions only go so far.

    The 1800respect helpline has just been listed for tender. This government want to allow profiteering from domestic and family violence. Just when we think we can’t sink much lower.

  3. jim

    Maybe it’s because he never had to rely on these services that Malcolm Turnbull would make a choice to cut $80 billion out of health and education……. Privatise Medicare. cut wages to the battlers. When it comes to understanding how he will hurt middle class and working class families – Malcolm Turnbull is just seriously out of touch.

    The Coalition will continue to declare: “You can trust us with the economy. We ran things well before.”

    Don’t believe them. They didn’t.

    They were, in fact, utterly incompetent.

  4. Keitha Granville

    I am so incandescent with rage these days that nothing the government says or does pleases me in any way. I mostly feel I am living in some kind of alternative country – this is not who I am, who most of us decent Australians are. Adn yet somehow oour voices are not loud enough.We HAVE to find a way to unearth all the people across this country and have them stand up and say NOT HAPPY MAL. The far lefties do it, the far right bigots do it – but the mass in the middle seem to be very hard to ruffle, very hard to make them say something ! I will be at the March in March, again. I hope the bulk of our countryment will be if they possibly can. (except for those who might have to work before they lose their penalties and can’t afford to miss a minute)

  5. Liz

    Excellent list….thank you Loz….I will be there….

  6. Wayne Turner

    The failure of “jobs and growth” with stable full-time jobs vacant crashing replaced by casual or part-time jobs aka the rise of underemployment.And unemployment rising over all too.

    The transformation of the ABC to the LNP’s ABC.

    Doing nothing about “negative gearing” because so many of the LNP benefit from it.

    Not allowing parliament a free vote on same sex marriage.

    Etc…

  7. seaworks

    The health service ( an oxy moron if ever there was one) is being run down to the state where if you are sick and need treatment/tests you will wait for up at least a year ion some cases. The only option now is to go private and pay or join a so called health scheme and still pay a heck of a lot. The costs of the health schemes are rising all the time and covering less. It will only be a matter of how long before the healthcare is disbanded or privatised.
    There is still money to pay for fleets of submarines and white elephant aircraft as well as maintaining a huge ADF presence in the Middle East as well as standing patrols at immense cost to the North, to “turn them boats back”.
    The camps in Nauru and Manus are still costing billions to run and still nowhere near solving the problem of what to do with the inmates.
    Maybe it will come down to “Final Solution”?

  8. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Yep. I’ll be out again. I’m hoping it will show that West Australians are now less complacent and unconcerned as they were when the first lot of marches were organised. I’d like to hope that the Labor party gets involved this time – I saw lots of unions there, but Labor nowhere to be seen. They would get a lot of credibility in my opinion if they became a voice of real protest, not one that simply limits itself to making noises in the rather safe and comfortable confines of parliament.

  9. Leanne Jones

    Thanks for the great article.
    I’m angry about our government and their heartless attacks on refugees, cuts to health services, public education, social security, the environment, over the top spending on wars we had no right to be involved in, cuts to spending on domestic violence and the Coal-itions reliance on coal. Their outrageous lies about trickle down economics, renewable energy, terrorism and refugees on Manus and Nauru and how they pose a threat to our security, (they don’t). This government is facist and many LNP members would be charged as white collar criminals in the real world. I am sick to death of what they are doing to all of us and just this week they achieve the first step in making us all poorer by cuts to penalty rates which affect the poorest amongst us.
    Yesterday I read the SMH News review article “The secret Iraqi dossier” by David Roe. This made me so upset about the coalition of the willing and what they unleashed on the World. These men should be charged with war crimes!
    Rise up and March in March!

  10. Ella Miller

    Will there be a march in Tasmania?

  11. Alan Baird

    A worthy rant, justified to the max. The more we watch, the more we realise that the scales of justice have the right hand dish made of lead and the left hand dish made of balsa. The ABC is no longer a low-rating ineffectual counter-balance to commercial media Right Wingers but an addition to the same side. The “Right” people have been appointed and they’re transferring in more “brethren” from the same Augean Stable. A future Hercules will have quite a task to clean them up.
    But wait, there’s more. We trudge off to the Right, always further to the Right, as if it’s a replacement for the word “correct”. Society is not nearly unequal enough. We need to grasp the nettle and accelerate this transference so that it becomes impossible to unwind. When we have reached this nirvana, we can swap leaders, Trumble for Trump, and they’ll both feel “relaxed and comfortable” in their new baileywicks, apart from the latter being somewhat underwhelmed, his head a sudden fit with his hands

  12. Christian Marx

    Excellent article Loz. Unfortunately there are many people in Australia who are beyond redemption.
    At least 10% of the population are filled with pure hatred and will never change their outlook.
    We have to keep talking to the other 90% and continue to expose Murdoch, the Institute Of Public Affairs
    and the corrupt two party duopoly. The future of media is fine articles such as your, untainted by
    corporate, editorial bias.

  13. Johno

    Great stuff Loz
    One thing I would add is this – ‘the continued logging and clearing of our beautiful indigenous vegetation is a disgrace’.
    I have never heard of the march in march. I will definitely be marching.

  14. Johno

    Oh yeah, the massive military budget is a disgrace too.

  15. crypt0

    It’s quite obvious that the LieNP are trashing brand Australia, and the future of it’s citizens along with it.
    Is it possible to do so much damage without it being deliberate ?
    I don’t think so.
    Thank a f@#king Liebral … if you still know any.

  16. townsvilleblog

    Loz, Since 2013 the LNP government has attacked we everyday Australians unmercifully, firstly in their first budget in 2014 they cut $80 Billion from public health and education (schools and hospitals) they have gone on to abolish almost every government benefit we used to have, the schoolkids bonus, family tax benefit B the list is almost endless. Most recently cutting penalty rates from the poorest paid working people in Australia, some of these people are lone parents, some are the bread winner in a one income family, all are working poor.

    Now just to add insult to injury we have heard today of wage increases for parliamentarians whose penalty benefits are in the extreme category, and which they take at every opportunity like being paid $270 per night to stay in your own home when in Canberra, and so many more. These are the people who lobbied the unFairwork Australia Commission for months to get the outcome they wanted on Wednesday.

    Everyday Australians must see the light, the LNP are a collection of greedy people who are servants of the world’s 0.1% of wealthy people who own 50% plus of the global economy. Their LNP government structures their tax policy in a way that offer multinational multibillion dollar foreign owned corporations collect huge billion dollar incomes and avoid paying a cent in income tax, they certainly are not concerned with the everyday Australian who continues to vote for them, heaven knows why? We have seen the Australian people suffer 1,186,000 unemployed and a further 1,398,000 underemployed people who are desperate for work, but who cannot find a job for love nor money. Australia now has a record 3 million plus people living below the poverty line, upward of a quarter of a million homeless people yet this tory government doesn’t care a jot.

    I am going on 62 years of age and in my lifetime I have never seen this nation in worse shape, it feels as if we are in recession, and we probably are, its just that the ‘official figures’ don’t show it, themselves (ABS) victim of LNP cuts, so much so that last years Census could not be carried out properly. The independent research organization Roy Morgan Research puts the unemployment rate at 9.2% whereas government figures has it at 5.6%, I know which source I believe.

    The ordinary Australian who ‘doesn’t follow politics’ had better begin to do so or he or she won’t know what hit them. We must oust this uncaring, mean and nasty hypocritical LNP government at the first possible opportunity or we will have to write off a generation of Australians, just for the insatiable greed of a few wealthy people, who are far too selfish for their own good.

  17. Pete Petrass

    Don’t forget the $56 billion elephant in the room call the NBN. It will cost a future, probably Labour, government almost as much again to upgrade it to full fibre. For the same money Abbott/Turnbull could have continued with fibre from the get go instead of handing the taxpayer an ideological waste of $56 billion. Abbott/Turnbull could have been national heroes had they just come in and fixed Labour’s stuff ups and done the full fibre NBN properly.`

  18. jim

    We have the worst government . since 1949 and it’s the LNP,……As the Australia Institute’s research in June found – across a broad range of economic measures, the Abbott/Turnbull government has performed the worst of any Australian government since 1949. Economist Jim Stanford’s report examines economic performance across 12 indicators – including GDP per capita, the unemployment rate, employment growth and the growth of real business investment and intellectual property investment ….

  19. babyjewels10

    Everywhere I’ve posted the March in March details, it’s attracted little or no attention. With all of the above, it’s gobsmacking to me how complacent, apathetic and lazy Australians are, to their own downfall.

  20. laura ayoub

    well said and thank you. i’ll be marching and bringing a few friends.

  21. Mick Byron

    babyjewels10
    February 27, 2017 at 8:57 am
    Everywhere I’ve posted the March in March details, it’s attracted little or no attention.

    I have similar experiences and it seems that there are only about one third the venues of 2015 virtually no publicity no response from organisers regarding march locations dates or times and very little community interest.The very worst thing that could happen is a rally that turns out to be a flop and this is how this is shaping up.
    Spmetimes it is better to have no rally at all than one the opposition can use as a tool of ridicule

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