Skip

March in August: "Liar Liar, pants on fire" (also: "Kick this Knob Out")
August 31, 2014 7:21 PM   Subscribe

March in August: thousands rally against Tony Abbott by taking to streets:
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for the latest wave of protests against the federal government.

Demonstrations were held in cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to protest against a range of of social and economic policies being implemented by the Abbott government.

About 3,000 protesters marched through Sydney, voicing their concerns on a range of issues, from Australia's asylum seeker policies, to education cuts and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Some background about the anti-bikie legislation going on in Australia, discussed in the main link.

An excerpt from the March Australia website's about page:
March Australia (previously March in March Australia) began as a series of national protests that were held in over 32 locations across Australia in March 2014. It was organised by named members of the concerned public, remains unassociated with any political party or organisation and is devoted to total transparency. Along with over 50,000 supporters from Facebook alone, we marched with the 100,000 Australians who peacefully protested as a vote of no confidence in the Abbott Government, with the aim of achieving the best possible government for all of Australia.

"Australians united for a better Government" is a unified call for decency, accountability and transparency from and within the Australian Government. The result of the hasty and heavy-handed approach by the Abbott Government has been that this call is still imminent and necessary – we cannot wait silently as our country is systematically torn apart.
Wikipedia page for March in March Australia, and related Flickr gallery.

Bonus links

March in March marks the birth of a new kind of activismThe Guardian
Rage against the mainstreamThe Drum

Top link via the Twitter feeds of Guardian Australia and Graham Linehan.

Previously: Australiafilter: Back to the (18)50s, or a new comedic golden age, "Let's have a bloke's question"
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (40 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
3000 seems like a relatively small protest.
posted by empath at 7:40 PM on August 31


What do we want?

A RANGE OF ISSUES!

When do we want them?

NOW!
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:45 PM on August 31 [6 favorites]


Yeah, 3000 people looks like this (and that's crowded into a single block). Split between "a range of issues", this doesn't seem terribly significant for a city the size of Sydney.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:54 PM on August 31


Three thousand is a relatively small turnout - the Marches in March were bigger, with over 10,000 in Sydney and over 110,000 nationwide. (Australia's population is less than a tenth the size of that of the US, and Sydney, its most populous city, is only 4.5 million. Cramming 10,000 people into Hyde Park or Melbourne's CBD is a big deal. Although Tony Abbott didn't think so, saying that the only big rally in Sydney in March was the St. Patrick's Day parade.)

Still, marching against the sitting government as a whole is a new thing here, and getting a nationwide movement - even a small one - to come along is a big deal.
posted by gingerest at 8:08 PM on August 31 [3 favorites]


I am rabidly opposed to many policies of the current government, but I don't like the approach of protesting everything about them. We've seen what polarisation of politics has done in the US, and I have no desire to see that happen here.
posted by bystander at 8:18 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


I am rabidly opposed to many policies of the current government, but I don't like the
approach of protesting everything about them. We've seen what polarisation of politics has done in the US, and I have no desire to see that happen here.


Agree, we should use apathy and grudging acceptance instead. Besides, we've got Clive Palmer to look after our interests after he's looked after his. Se we'll be OK.

Actually I really disagree Bystander. I think Abbott and his hideous mob are tearing this country apart and standing back and watching it happen is the last thing we should be doing. We should be
protesting - strongly - loudly - often.
posted by mattoxic at 8:35 PM on August 31 [17 favorites]


"We've seen what polarisation of politics has done in the US, I have no desire to see that happen here."

I think protesting is usually borderline productive or counterproductive depending on the political leanings of the population at large and politics are by definition polarized no matter the structure of the government.

Seeing the rise of both Abbott in Australia and Harper in Canada has been suprising from this outsiders perspective.
posted by vapidave at 8:42 PM on August 31 [1 favorite]


gingerest: Although Tony Abbott didn't think so, saying that the only big rally in Sydney in March was the St. Patrick's Day parade.

We've already seen that to Abbott and the Liberals, 100,000+ against them is nothing to care about, but 500+ with them is a mandate.

bystander: We've seen what polarisation of politics has done in the US, and I have no desire to see that happen here.

Then you might want to try stopping Abbott's constant attempts to make our system more American, because every step of the way he's used those polarising tactics and aggressive lying to push through his agenda. Maybe blame the degradation of politics on the people performing it, not the people reacting to it.
(I even agree that protests are of limited use, especially when they are just rewritten or even not reported in the media, but that doesn't make them the problem.)
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:06 PM on August 31 [8 favorites]


What do we want?

A RANGE OF ISSUES!

When do we want them?

NOW!


Oh, yes, because gods forfend people are dissatisfied with more than one thing at a time.

This particular government has a range of regressive, unpopular policies. It is hardly unreasonable that protests against the government will reflect that.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:43 PM on August 31 [4 favorites]


Per Julian Burnside's speech in Melbourne, it seems Toned Abs has now been named at the ICC. I have NFI what would need to happen for that to go further. Perhaps some law-talking types would like to weigh in?
posted by pompomtom at 9:51 PM on August 31


(and while I'm here: the idea of rushing into US-style plutocracy in order to avoid US-style polarisation seems fucking daft to me.)
posted by pompomtom at 9:53 PM on August 31




Yeah... that's the link I borked... ta
posted by pompomtom at 10:02 PM on August 31


After myself and a couple of hundred thousand other people turned up to protest Australian involvement in the Iraq war I realised that protesting is a mugs game. Now, perverting youth through teaching them basic ideas about society and culture, also not surprised that this government wants to shut down access to tertiary education.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 11:41 PM on August 31 [3 favorites]


gods forfend people are dissatisfied with more than one thing at a time

The article says 3,000 people marched in Sydney. The issues identified by Teh Guardian were:
  • Education;
  • Refugees;
  • Gaza; and
  • Indigenous Australians.
Come on. They couldn't find a coherent theme with a mere 3,000 people? That isn't a march; it's a debating society. Regarding the march in Brisbane, it says
The Queensland government’s anti-bikie laws and plans to sell assets were among the issues discussed, as well as the plight of refugees and the Great Barrier Reef.
So there's two State issues, one Federal one, and one Statey-Federaley one. They could at least have chosen which government they're protesting. Or "discussing", since apparently they didn't have enough people to, you know, march.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:02 AM on September 1


"I loathe the Abbott Administration" is a coherent theme, Joe.
posted by gingerest at 12:13 AM on September 1 [12 favorites]


Does it matter? There are a lot of things to be upset about. Some things matter more or less, depending on the person.
posted by Quilford at 12:13 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


I know there's an organisational problem when I have to find out about this via mefi.

Sure, there's a laundry list of sins on the mind of the Abbott regime, but it's going to take a variety of manoeuvres to curtail or stop them manifesting. I've been so depressed since the election I've largely sidestepped the news from Oz, particularly with respect to politics, but it doesn't take day-to-day current events knowledge to understand that protesting has to be focussed.

And given the attitudes of libs/lab towards immigration, *that* is probably the best issue around which to organise and protest with a LARGE number of people I reckon. A lot of the other stuff requires political arm twisting, and while protesting about medicare change proposals might seem like a good idea (and maybe it is anyway?), perhaps it's better to lobby politicians with the balance in the senate. A small upfront fee for medicare services won't get 200,000 people into the streets, but 200,000 signatures might be persuasive for a senator? Maybe.

In summary: I don't like Abbott or just about any of his ministry or their policies, but I blame the dumb Australian people who put them there. We're just gonna have to limp on until the next election. But even then.. gawd I can't see much depth on the left side of the aisle either and I want Bill Shorten removed for his roles in ousting Gillard; I'll never forgive him for that.

Australia, we're fucked.
posted by peacay at 12:28 AM on September 1


They couldn't find a coherent theme with a mere 3,000 people?

Is there some sort of rule that people at a protest can only object to one issue at a time?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:48 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


The Drum article linked in the FPP actually tackles this ridiculous criticism:
Then we get to the real insight into how "news" is understood by the mainstream:
The lack of coverage of March in March probably had something to do with the fact that, like so much left-wing protest, it was unfocused. The speakers and protesters had a grab-bag of complaints, from asylum seeker policy to gay marriage to fair trade. The only uniting theme was raw hatred of the Prime Minister, and the offensive signs/language about him were off-putting to a broader audience.
For sake of argument, let's accept the contention that the marches were unfocused (and let's let slide the even more unsubstantiated claim that "much left-wing protest" is too).

To claim this as a reason for a lack of coverage is to simply admit that you can't handle complexity. It is to admit that your definition of news only allows for a single point of focus.

It is the timeless cry for a "hook" or an "angle" on which to hang a story and it is a legacy of traditional understandings of what constitutes news. It is a legacy of the space constraints that applied in the pre-internet world.

At best, it is a reason, not an excuse. I mean, where is the rule that says a protest has to have a single focus?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:55 AM on September 1 [10 favorites]


Two things (though related). First, these two marches (plus a few other's I've personally attended) have been significantly larger than reported. The police appear to have a vested interest in under-reporting the attendance figures and the media only report the police attendance figures. I know this because I noticed it and made a concerted effort to estimate numbers at subsequent protests.

Second, the media appear to be disinterested in covering the protests. The March In March was of a similar size to other protests (if not significantly larger) that have been reported on prime time public news broadcasts. I don't believe this is due to the complexity of the issues or because it was "unfocused". These two protests were ostensibly against the budget measures. That seems to me to be a clear and easy enough message for the media to present - a few pointed questions about the budget answered by attendees and images of speeches with a talking head does 2 minutes make.

That the Coalition (the ruling Liberal and National parties for those that don't know) are still only 2 points down (with a 4 point margin of error) on the two party preferred polls may indicate the increasing gap between the left and right in Australia. Or maybe it just indicates the left have become more vocal as a response to the budget.
posted by bigZLiLk at 1:38 AM on September 1 [3 favorites]


It's a really bad business when you start looking back on the interminable Howard years with (almost) fondness.
posted by drnick at 1:40 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


I am rabidly opposed to many policies of the current government, but I don't like the approach of protesting everything about them. We've seen what polarisation of politics has done in the US, and I have no desire to see that happen here.

You are not separate from politics. You are not outside the pie chart; your stance is a slice of the chart. You are saying "hey everyone just be quiet and don't rock the boat," which is at the very least a shout of support for the status quo.

Protests aren't the be-all, end-all of politics, but they're certainly a step up from zero. The American left (some of us, anyway) learned through the Bush years that standing aside and waiting for the other side to operate in good faith is a waste of time. Us powerless masses can at least make some noise.
posted by zardoz at 3:00 AM on September 1 [3 favorites]


The claim that the numbers on a particular march were under reported is one that has been made by every activist at every protest anywhere in the western world for the last 20 years. Sometimes they are underreported sometimes they are not. However, you are kidding yourself if you think your effort was better. Assuming there were at least 3000 people at the protest, one person cannot make an accurate size estimate working alone.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 3:04 AM on September 1


The issues identified by Teh Guardian were:

Tsk! That's Teh Grauniad...

Except in Australia, where you can get away with calling it the Grauno.
posted by acb at 3:47 AM on September 1


Mass protest is a tool, it isn't an end in itself and when a protest is badly publicised or too fringe to attract significant numbers it probably does more harm than good to a cause, it makes you look weak. That and half the time protesting is a way for people to feel like they are doing something, whether it's effective or not.
posted by deadwax at 4:39 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


You are not separate from politics. You are not outside the pie chart; your stance is a slice of the chart. You are saying "hey everyone just be quiet and don't rock the boat," which is at the very least a shout of support for the status quo.

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." - George W. Bush
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:29 AM on September 1


"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." - George W. Bush

We don't need Dubya. We have Toned Abs: Everyone has got to be on Team Australia.

Even party elders from his own party thought that was dick move.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:06 AM on September 1


I am rabidly opposed to many policies of the current government, but I don't like the approach of protesting everything about them.
posted by bystander

Eponysterical.

Protests seem kind of goofy and ineffective sometimes, and it is frustrating to see that the big turnout didn't pan out, or to look around and see some weird peripheral issue posted on a big sign. But protests aren't nearly as ineffective as waiting for someone else to do something. Two relevant quotes:

"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
Jessica Mitford

“Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.”
Jerry Garcia
posted by Killick at 6:48 AM on September 1 [7 favorites]


"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."

I wonder to what extent, say, the Tienanmen protesters, or those disappeared by the Argentine junta in Operation Condor (to name two examples) can be said to have succeeded in doing that. Certainly in China, the guilty are firmly in charge and running up trade surpluses with the rest of the world.
posted by acb at 7:11 AM on September 1


We're not fucked. We're just going backwards for a while.

Take it from a man old enough to have been excited by the advent of the Whitlam Government: Tony Abbott's brand of head-completely-up-his-arse blindness is nothing new. The McMahon Government was much the same.

Abbott is an evil prick but he's not as clever as he thinks he is; he's even more arrogant than his spiritual mentor but has neither Howard's monomaniacal self belief nor his raw rat cunning. He's a populist opportunist who got the job he has by accident and has only managed to keep it though his alacrity in presenting his ringpiece whenever Rupert feels the need.

But Rupert will die soon, after which his Australian press arm will be sacrificed on the altar of efficiency, and Abbott will not survive without his fawning press pack.

The Rudd/Gillard fiasco was diverting enough that yet again the Great Unwashed forgot for a moment that the silvertail brigade has never had our best interests at heart. If the consequence of that is that we have to suffer a term with that complete knob and his non-team of witless poseurs in power in order to annoy Brayden and Kylie Home-And-Away sufficiently to think before the next poll, so be it.

The rising generation's Whitlam moment will be the advent of Australia's first Greens-led coalition government; I await it with fond anticipation. Meanwhile, I plan to be buying stocks in renewable energy companies at the bottom of the market.
posted by flabdablet at 8:09 AM on September 1 [3 favorites]


This made me smile. Apparently it is "Minister against the Environment," Greg Hunt.
posted by Nevin at 8:54 AM on September 1 [3 favorites]


I really don't understand the attitude of throwing up hands and saying "we're fucked" - is it so you don't have to do something? Is it so you don't have to risk failure, or trying something and having it not pan out?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:00 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


But Rupert will die soon

Depends on your definiton of “soon”. He's in his 80s, his mother lived to be 100 and furthermore, he has access to the best medical care America has to offer the super-rich. Australia may be under his leaden hand for some time to come yet, and by the time his time comes, the Australia he leaves behind may differ from the brief thaw of the Whitlam-Keating epoch as profoundly as Chile circa 1990 differed from Salvador Allende's embryonic socialist utopia.
posted by acb at 10:16 AM on September 1


The Rudd/Gillard fiasco was diverting enough that yet again the Great Unwashed forgot for a moment that the silvertail brigade has never had our best interests at heart. If the consequence of that is that we have to suffer a term with that complete knob and his non-team of witless poseurs in power in order to annoy Brayden and Kylie Home-And-Away sufficiently to think before the next poll, so be it.

I've voted democrats until their complete collapse and now vote greens because having someone with a heart and a bit of compassion keeping the balance of power is the only thing I can do, my opposition to their opposition to "AHHH THE RADIATIONS" be damned. I would welcome a greens led leftist coalition that would get back to the values which made Australia the great egalitarian country it was in the first place. Where it was about equality of opportunity and not about who your father knows.
posted by Talez at 10:52 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


Rupert will never die. He's like the Phantom, there always another - Before Rupert there was Kieth who was pretty evil in his day. Keith was merrily involved in kicking along the first world war because it was good for business. After Rupert we've got James - and by all accounts he's an evil little shit just like daddy. But - the base thing about them is that they are becoming irrelevant. Buzzfeed is killing their business model.
posted by mattoxic at 6:07 PM on September 1 [2 favorites]


...until they acquire it.
posted by flabdablet at 7:58 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


his mother lived to be 100

His mother was not a vicious ruthless self-serving arrogant conniving over-entitled prick.

Just being Rupert ought to be a stressful enough pursuit to knock a decade or two off the old life expectancy.
posted by flabdablet at 8:03 AM on September 2


His mother was not a vicious ruthless self-serving arrogant conniving over-entitled prick.

My point was that longevity is partially heritable, and that it's likely that Murdoch's odds of living long enough to bring about a world as if Whitlam-Keating never happened shouldn't be discounted.
posted by acb at 11:29 AM on September 2


I take that point. But do please allow me my last flickering glimmer of belief in Just World Theory.

Failure to grasp at straws is a waste of straws.
posted by flabdablet at 3:53 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


« Older Stampylonghead   |   Men + Kittens Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post