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The purpose of March Australia: demanding change for the better

Why do we march against the Abbott Government? Admittedly marching will not change the government or the government’s ideology, but it will help to raise awareness of important issues and get people thinking, writes Gosford organiser Kym.

I first came across the March in March at the end of last year, but took my time in deciding whether or not I wanted to be involved in an organisational role. One thing lead to another, and . . .

I had never been to a rally in my life, let alone help organise one! I guess that up until then I had never been around the right people or groups to think about becoming more involved; not just about the march itself, but also with the issues we were marching for or against. I had seen the media bias and I had seen the damage this bias had caused; both at a personal level and towards our national psyche. I knew that we could never rely on the media to support our cause. That, however, is a different story.

I know we are a ‘lucky’ country lucky because we do not have war or famine and are free to choose our beliefs. However I know from experience, observation and plenty of research that this beautiful rich country does have some great inequalities and injustices. I know enough to not believe everything the media says and that things aren’t as simple as black/white or lefties and Tories. I found March in March appealing because it was not aligned with any political party, was grassroots and calling for decency, transparency and accountability in government.

I put my hand up to help organise the Gosford march, on the NSW Central Coast. After taking this step and setting up the Gosord Facebook page (now Central Coast), I felt a bit overwhelmed and thought to myself “what have I just done”? I did a call out on the page for volunteers and had a great response. I set up a Facebook group we could liaise in and this grew into countless nights organising the march and and promoting it via the social media.

The Gosford March in March was very successful, with an estimated 1200 people marching, which is amazing for Gosford and probably the largest rally Gosford has ever had. Nationwide we were 100,000 strong. Even though 50,000 marched in Melbourne and we were seemingly hard to ignore, the mainstream media still managed to ignore us.

I also went to March in May in Sydney and was part of the organising team for March in August on the Central Coast. I have to say all three Marches were a positive and inspiring experience. They were well-organised, peaceful, and had great, well-informed speakers. There were a wide range of people represented: young, old, students, professionals, disabled, and people from a range of political back grounds, including a few disgruntled LNP voters.

If you have never been to a rally or don’t know anything about rallies, then it is easy to misunderstand the purpose of the March Australia Marches and dismiss the people marching as just lefties having a whinge or people who want handouts. That way it can be brushed under the carpet instead of acknowledging that most people who marched are hardworking, educated people who have paid taxes their whole life. Many are either personally affected or know someone who is affected by the government’s policies.

Many who aren’t affected are informed enough to know what the impacts of theses policies are on the poor and our environment. It is a strange thing when some of the people, who are most informed, genuinely concerned, and trying to contribute to making change for the better, are the ones labelled as lefties or whingers. I am actually not a member of any political party. Personally, I think we need a third major party and also to make some changes to ‘the system’. I don’t like to talk endlessly about politics or push my beliefs on to people, although I have no problem standing up for social justice, inequality, human rights and the environment. For me it is not about political parties but about humanity, truth and doing what is right.

It is quite easy to get caught up in propaganda without any real knowledge or understanding of the issues, where we have deep-seated political beliefs that aren’t based on any facts or of any use in reality. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all take the time to do a bit of research, use intelligent evaluation and actually have an adult conversation about some of the issues and come together up with some better solutions? It is time to move beyond the sudden deadly silence when anything remotely political is mentioned. Why can’t we promote understanding and education on issues, instead of judgement and fear? It is mind-boggling to have an election based around ‘stop the boats’ and ‘axe the tax’.

Are Australian’s really so concerned about a small amount of asylum seekers that wouldn’t even fill the stadium at Homebush? Especially since most asylum seekers come by plane? Do we ever hear ‘stop the planes’? What about ‘stop the ignorance’ and ‘stop the fear mongering’? Using words like ‘leaners’ and ‘illegals’ does nothing to help people understand the situation. Why not tell people that ‘it is not illegal to seek asylum, whether by boat, plane or any other means necessary’, and that most boat people have proved to be genuine refugees? It even says so on the parliamentary website. Why pander to people’s fear and ignorance? This type of ignorance is being fueled by political ideology and the media. If people were a little more educated then they most probably would have a different view. More understanding does not necessarily mean open borders either. It means we can work together on creating a more humane policy.

Australia has a fairly well-targeted welfare system. It was created as a safety net for those who need it most. Yes there is plenty of room for improvement, but labeling people as ‘leaners’ or wanting handouts does not help at all. This type of attitude and labeling creates unnecessary stigma and actually demoralises people. Most people on welfare payments do not want to be on welfare. Newstart is way below the minimum wage and very difficult to live on. Most want a job and do not want to be in the position they are in. It is unfair to lump everyone together, just because a few take advantage of the system. There will always be people who take advantage of the system, who lie, who steal. There are unfortunately some people like these everywhere, and in every industry. This type of stigma is not fair on pensioners, the single parents, low income families, those who were made redundant, who have not enough jobs in their area, who are disabled, ill . . . the list goes on and on.

What ever happened to the view that those doing it tough were seen as ‘Aussie battlers’? Everyone wants to add their judgements and criticisms. Before passing judgement about certain groups of people, ask yourself: have I ever experienced, met, worked with or found out more information about asylum seekers, homeless people, unemployed or people with a disability? If the answer is no, then why do you have such strong opinions on something you have no experience with and know nothing about? I understand that some people aren’t into politics, especially since watching parliament can be like watching a high school rabble. It is quite easy to see that type of nonsense and decide not give a crap, because whatever I or say do is not going to make much difference any way. I am too busy; I have my own life to live. I have a roof over my head, I have friends, I have beer, and it doesn’t affect me. Why should I care? Why should I go marching around like an idiot for something that doesn’t affect me? Why don’t people just contribute to democracy with their vote at the next election? These are some of the attitudes and comments I have come across. Is it really so silly to take the time to do some research and have some discussion about what is happening in our country and our communities? Are we just supposed to stick our head in the sand like an ostrich and be oblivious to everything until next election rolls around? Does it not matter that the funds have been ripped out of vital community services? My electorate has high youth unemployment rate and the local youth refuge has lost its funding. Maybe these youths should go and get a job. Who cares if there are more unemployed than jobs available, they should all just get a job. Does it not matter that there are homeless families sleeping in cars because there is a lack of services to support the homeless? Maybe these homeless should just chose not to be homeless. Does it not matter that abuse, domestic violence, redundancy and mental health issues are some of the reasons for homelessness? Does it not matter that my electorate has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Australia, yet funding to one of our local domestic violence support services has been cut? Legal aid has also been cut, so it is harder for women who are victims of domestic violence to ‘leave’. These are just a few of the many Central Coast, NSW issues. I’m sure each electorate has their own issues.

Marching will not change the government or the government’s ideology, but it will help to raise awareness of important issues and get people thinking, talking and contributing new ideas. We can’t all help everyone all the time or change the world on our own. Every person’s input makes a difference and when working together we can make change. We can all make the effort to question things and become a little more informed. This is the whole point of marching; to raise awareness and in unity work together for the common good: Australians. The more people that become aware, the more likely change will happen.

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17 comments

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  1. John Lord

    Thank you for writing that. I know you won’t mind if I repeat your last sentence.

    This is the whole point of marching; to raise awareness and in unity work together for the common good: Australians. The more people that become aware, the more likely change will happen.

  2. Terry2

    As an aside, I heard today form an insider that there is pressure building for a Cabinet reshuffle with Morrison wanting out of Immigration – reckons he’s done the job – and has his eye on Defence with Johnston to be dumped following his poor performance and the commitment he made to build the new subs in Adelaide which is falling apart at present : also Turnbull is fed up with being cage in Communications but obviously won’t want Immigration which is a poisoned chalice.
    Wouldn’t be surprised if Hunt is also dumped – Sinodinos won’t get his job back as Assistant Treasurer which will probably go to Josh Frydenberg.

    Not sure what Peta is going to do with Abbott !

  3. bjkelly1958

    Terry2, the horizontal mambo, as usual?

  4. trevor

    Building the pressure for change, little by little,by little. March in the streets, write to pollies, organise whatever way suits.

    Abbott recently(Sat6Sep01 WA News) stated that a hysterical campiagn is organised to say he has lied.

    Abbott has no shame and no humanity, he is just a ruthless ideologue who craves power and entitlements.

    The winds of change and the seasons of nature are not defenceless to, nor dependant upon the wishes of humanity.

    Karma and the chain of events one launches with integrity or none always bring to the author an outcome of surprise.

    The ability of the Abbott of Phoney to instill his mongrel upon Australia is limited, even though it presently feels there is no way to negate this bastard, his minions and his backers of Destruction, Destabilisation,Deciept and Declarations of intent and witches brew of Duplicity.

    Keep on keeping on was and still is a simple declaration that allows you to have a life, your daily bread and act with integrity or not to define the Abbott of Phoney and his onslaught of onerism as it affects you and yours.

  5. Ana Milosevic

    We have to maintain the rage and keep EXPOSING Abbott of Phoney, his intent is to erode our democracy and impose his fascist ideology as a rule of the law. I will march and protest against this fascist government for as long I can move my old body along. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Martin Luther-King Jr.

  6. Annie

    Thank you for being so open and honest Kym – a wonderful article that deserves wide sharing.

  7. stephentardrew

    Just being there changes me for the better knowing people do care.
    Numbers are of little consequence when motivation and conviction are the arbiters of change.
    Most movements for change start small.
    What matters is continued conviction that goodness, justice, compassion and love are worthy of our attention.

  8. stephentardrew

    All’s Not Lost: So close to the bone. Brilliant yet absolutely cringe worthy.

  9. Ruth Lipscombe

    Thank you.I despair until I read articles like yours ( and comments) which help remind me that the worst Gov ever is not ‘beloved’ by everyone.

  10. Kaye Makovec

    “I know we are a ‘lucky’ country lucky because we do not have war or famine and are free to choose our beliefs. However I know from experience, observation and plenty of research that this beautiful rich country does have some great inequalities and injustices. I know enough to not believe everything the media says and that things aren’t as simple as black/white or lefties and Tories. I found March in March appealing because it was not aligned with any political party, was grassroots and calling for decency, transparency and accountability in government.”

    Me too.

    In fact the entire article mirrors my thoughts and actions precisely, even down to spreading the word in the hope that just one person may see the light and pass it on 🙂 At least I don’t get abused for it like I know some have been and only been blocked by the Liberal Party of Australia, so far 🙂

    Never been a member of any political party or Union but am a leaner on a government handout which I gratefully accept 🙂

  11. Kaye Makovec

    Oh dear All’s Not Lost, I fear all is lost.

    Poor fellow my country.

  12. Lord Antiu mm & arhh Man

    SO WHEN ARE THE NEXT MARCHES ?

  13. mischmash1

    Well said, my sentiments exactly, however I am a Labor supporter and I know that if we don’t vote Labor we will be burdened in hell with another term of Tony of Phoney..Yes put the Greens number 2..but never a PUP environmental traitor..I was stunned, gob smacked when three relatives living in the Wyong/Gosford area admitted they had voted for Liberals…One a former life time Labor voter, once a dole bludger himself in his 20’s said his local Lib would get rid of those terrible dole bludgers, I later found out that he listened to Ray Hadley and read the Daily Terror,.. a life time welfare recipient woman who I found posting on one of FB’s most vile anti Gillard pages plus a truck driver fan of Pickering who sent me the most vile sexist Gillard cartoon via email. They will will be howling now I hope if any reality has hit their heads via real media..or maybe they will reject facts because they love a good whinge..whingers and whiners love Tony of Phoney…The Murdoch media brainwashed these gullible fools into voting against their own life..such incredible hate filled media propaganda I’ve never witnessed in my life..I’m also very concerned about our children watching and reading this racist, ignorant media..if we all turned it off we could send these well paid voices to a dole queue..let them stand in line with the leaners.. and eat mud cake.

  14. choppa

    If you watch the speach of a certain failed labor politician who has written here at the march in march rally, you can clearly see it is just a typical leftist scare mongering campaign….with ill informed tards whinging about their right to get something for nothing. Not aligned with any political party is a joke – it was a failed attempt to attract the gullible Australians whilst whinging that the only reason the libs are in power is because they bought votes and control newspapers. Did you see shorten at that union rally the other day – same shit, but even more comical – you just keep reducing what little respect the majority hold for your minority views. Meanwhile. …the lifters keep putting the welfare in your pockets and barely make a whimper.

  15. corvus boreus

    Choppa; Cliched, generalistic judgementalism regarding parasitic non-contribution(with attendant sledging) spat out by a former jail-bird. A pathetic, plagiarised, pointless post.
    I berate myself for even reading your worthless crap, let alone responding. I shall do neither in future.

  16. Mensor Hacker

    @Choppa: Hello. I have now identified your ISP, your computer and a great deal more.

    You seem a bit less boring than you appear on an initial glance of your comments here and elsewhere. A cursory examination of what’s on your hard disk has revealed some interesting images, emails, address book entries, cookies and browsing history.

    Relax ‘Choppa’. There are bigger fish to fry than you. But if I get bored and I find the time and you continue to irritate me with your silly little doctrinaire and facile opinions (and especially if you’re in the employ of a certain political party) I may take the time to pass on what I find to various friends I have in the media and elsewhere. Nothing personal ‘Choppa’. Perhaps you are even well-intentioned.

    Do you know what a full factory reset on your computer entails? Do a low-level format of your hard disk to best remove all it’s data or, better still, replace it with a new one. Make sure you are disconnected from the internet and then reinstall your operating system. Update your security software to something substantial, and change all of your passwords.

    Come back if you can contribute in a more thinking and objective manner and you’ll be welcome here.

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