By Tracie Aylmer
As the election finishes up and Upper House votes with preference deals are finalised, I would like to give another perspective on how Labor won so significantly. There were a number of issues. Two of those issues involved the selling of Western Power and Fremantle Port. A third issue was the destruction of the Beeliar Wetlands.
Recently, I had been involved with the protests against the Roe 8, 9 and 10 highway. It was an incredibly dumb idea, particularly when there was another option that is going to be much cheaper and more worthwhile.
As someone with a Masters degree, I saw highly educated people, grandmothers, mothers, teenagers, Councillors in local government, grandfathers, fathers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers and many other members of the community not just protest, but also be arrested at that site. Many people were happy to put their hands up. During rallies, people were divided into groups – one group unable to be arrested and the other group deliberately going out of their way to be arrested as the cause was too great. I was one of the people arrested. All I did was touch a fence.
When Barnett started bulldozing, a concerted effort was made to kick him out at the election. Groups of people got together to find ways in order to show exactly how bad an idea the destruction was. Signs went up, then Barnett’s followers took those signs down and put their own signs up. It led to a type of sign war, where signs were changed, then amended, then changed back again. People were fined or arrested for tooting their horns while driving past ‘No Roe 8’ signs, although in the end there were too many people tooting their horns and the police couldn’t arrest or fine everyone.
In four key electorates, a leaflet was letterbox dropped. Those electorates were Bicton, Southern River, Jandakot and Cottesloe. They were anti-Barnett leaflets designed to educate voters on just how much debt WA is now in due to Colin Barnett’s policies. It appears that those leaflets had made a difference. Key areas had a reduction in liberal votes.
Then there was that photo. A few Rethink the Link protesters wrote on their arms, then made sure to have a photo taken with Barnett. It was hard work getting that photo taken, as others had heckled Barnett shortly beforehand. The protesters had talked their way into it, and then the photo went viral. Barnett had no idea, and had a nice chat with one of the protesters. He hadn’t even realised that this particular protester had been arrested a few weeks prior, at the construction site.
Last week, another photo with Barnett had gone viral, this time with a person donning the prop for Barnaby the Carnaby Black Cockatoo. Barnett had continually stated that this threatened species had offsets for which they could fly to. It was a ridiculous statement. Since I live near the area, these cockatoos have been flying around trying to find out where they can settle. They are now displaced and even more threatened.
Then there was the video footage of a Pauline Hanson lookalike in a wedding gown, demanding to know what was going on with the preference deal and why he didn’t like her.
In addition were the Senate inquiries, of which there have been several throughout the last few years, as well as question upon question upon question. The secrecy had gotten to the whole community. We knew there was no business plan. We knew it was a case of throwing money away to the contractors that were Barnett’s mates. We saw through the poor excuses, and didn’t accept one single excuse that came out of Barnett’s mouth.
Then there was the land grab that tried to steal Native Title land off the Noongar People for the whole south west area of WA. This was completely unethical. Barnett had given funding to the organisation, in order to make sure that the deal happened. The Noongar People have wanted to unite ever since. They deserve much more respect than what they have been given. Barnett wanted to steal everything way from them, and give them a pittance in return. This included the area in the Beeliar Wetlands, which had been a birthing place for tens of thousands of years. The secret areas in the Wetlands were bulldozed without a second thought a few weeks ago. Many of us united with the Noongar People to shed streams of tears. Barnett does not like women.
All of the above showed not just creativity, but also how much we in WA did not want Barnett nor the Liberal Party. It was a concerted effort amongst the whole of the community. It wasn’t just one person. We had all united to overthrow Barnett and his lack of vision.
That is why Barnett lost so severely. We had all simply had enough. We joined together, and this is the result.
If McGowan shows any reconsideration for what the community wants and needs, we will show him exactly how we feel. We are strong in our community. We cannot be divided any longer. We know how to fight, and we will win whatever battle comes in place, of course using non-violent direct action.
McGowan has been placed on notice – include all of us or he will be shown the door. It’s that simple.