Bust the Budget Rally and March – 6 July 2014

Child with homemade placard - Save Peppa Pig

An extraordinary diversity of protests and protesters marked this, the third Bust the Budget rally in Melbourne. Asylum Seekers, the ABC, Unions, Climate Change, Medicare, Education … the list goes on. Also pronounced was the anger against Tony Abbott and resentment at his departures from pre-election statements and promises, as the selection below may indicate.Total numbers were hard to gauge – as The Age reports, figures from twelve to twenty thousand were being quoted – but they were at least comparable to the earlier protests, and that in spite of the weather and the timing (in the middle of the school holidays). Some idea of the overall size can be got, however, from the fact that the march up St Kilda Road from the rally location opposite the Arts Centre took just over twenty minutes to pass a single point (continuous video of this stage of the march is in preparation and should be available in the next day or so, by way of confirmation).[Video added 7 July.] Apart from the new starting point, the event took the traditional form: rally with speeches followed by a march through the CBD, ending at Parliament House with more speeches. These divisions are loosely followed in the photos below, but first a few overviews:
At the start -

Also at the start

Part of the rally

Another view

On the March -

Head of march coming up Bourke Street

March arriving at Parliament House

Final rally at Parliament House (the rain that had held off until now prompted a quick unfurling of brollies) -

Looking over head and brollies towards Parliament House

From the rally at Queen Victoria Gardens -

A selection of placards targeting Tony Abbott (some captured during the march)-

The March sets off –

Peppa Pig leads march up St Kilda Road

From the March (rather few, but see forthcoming video for full coverage) -

A few more from the end -

Woman sitting on kerb with dog

Resting at the end

Baby Boomers for Climate Change Action - placard spotted at Parliament House

Spotted at the end

Woman cradling small dog

Another dog getting a deserved rest

Bust the Budget II – 12 June 2014.

Bust the Budget banner leads march

The surge of protest that followed the May budget is far from subsiding, and it seems our plan to retire may be on hold for a while longer – which would no doubt gladden Tony Abbott in the unlikely event of his ever getting to know of it. This time it was the unions that took to the streets in Melbourne – construction workers, teachers, nurses, plumbers, firefighters, ambos, postal workers, public servants, students and individuals – and in numbers hardly less than the general rally in May. (Various media reports – see links below – quote a figure from Trades Hall of twenty thousand.) At both the assembly point outside Trades Hall, and again at the end of the march, outside Parliament House, it was next to impossible to get close enough to hear the speakers, and there will be no attempt here to report what was said (again, see reports linked to below). The photos here should be pretty much self-explanatory and only a few are captioned. Some video is in preparation and will be posted shortly.*

Some media reports that have appeared so far:

The Age

The Herald Sun

Channel Seven news


Crosslight

*

March for Medicare – 30 May 2014

Something upwards of two thousand people of all ages assembled at the State Library to hear a succession of speakers condemn the Coalition Government’s attack on Medicare in its recent budget, before marching through the CBD to Federation Square. Jacob Grech, one of the organisers and a former member of Defend and Extend Medicare at the time of the Howard Government’s attempts to dismantle universal health care in Australia (see reports from the time here and here), recalled that the Federal Health Minister at that time was a certain Tony Abbott, and Catherine King, opposition spokesperson for health also commented that “[every] time the Liberals get into office, they try to destroy Medicare and this is the latest attack …”
The march down Swanston Street was timed for peak hour on a Friday, and the abnormally large police presence was possibly a reflection of safety concerns rather than an attempt to intimidate, although a post on the event Facebook page had reminded those planning to attend “that the Move on Laws (Summary Offences Amendments) were enacted several days ago”. Not that these amendments should impede lawful protest … Mainstream media covered the event, for example this report on the ABC – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-30/thousands-rally-against-medicare-co-payment-plan-in-melbourne/5490836, but the most detailed reports are on YouTube – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvNbnVYcw5o, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyBbZ-VHpTE, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu0eallhyt8 – all by LeftAndCorrect. The two clips posted here are intended to fill a gap, in the case of the speech by Catherine King, and extend coverage of the march itself.

One detail may need amplification: at the rally there was mention of the announcement by the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service that they would refuse to charge the new $7 co-payment. This met with huge applause. See also http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/health-service-facing-budget-blackhole-by-not-charging-copayment–20140527-zrpb7.html and http://indymedia.org.au/2014/05/22/wgar-news-this-budget-could-devastate-indigenous-australians-mick-gooda-abc-the-drum.

Catherine King’s speech:

From the rally and march:

Bust the Budget – Rally and March in Melbourne, 18 May 2014

[Updated 21 May]
View over pat of crowd at State Library

Though called at only a few days’ notice, Melbourne’s rally and march in protest at the Coalition Government’s first budget attracted numbers rivalling the March in March: organisers claimed ten thousand during the initial rally rising to twenty-five thousand by the end at Federation Square. (Rallies in other cities were also large scale, for example ten thousand in Sydney and six thousand in Adelaide according to the ABC.) The format was traditional: speakers at the State Library, march down Swanston Street (though a departure from custom was the splitting up of the march at Bourke Street, with part continuing directly to Federation Square and part making a detour via the Mall and Elizabeth Street and back to Swanston via Collins Street) and final speakers at Federation Square. (For more information on the event, see the Facebook page).


At the State Library

Warm-up music was provided by Celine Yap. The list of speakers was a long one, here and again at Federation Square, and was increased by an unscheduled ‘intervention’ on the part of Indigenous activist and broadcaster Vivian Malo. Among those who spoke at the library were: Karen Pickering, feminist and organiser of Slutwalk Melbourne; Yorta Yorta man Jason Tamiru; ACTU President Ged Kearney (see also http://www.actu.org.au/Media/Mediareleases/AbbottGovernmenttearsapartAustralianwayoflife.aspx); Shaun Murray, Coal spokesperson with Friends of the Earth; Mohammad Ali Baqiri, a refugee who spent three years in detention (see http://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/a-second-chance-the-stories-of-fawad-ahmed-and-mohammad-ali-baqiri/); and Adam Bandt, Greens MHR for seat of Melbourne. MC was RRR presenter Richard Watts.

Others have posted video of some of these speeches on YouTube, for example:

Vivian Malo by Sean Bedlam – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB8gY7WiDJY

Adam Bandt – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WW4MsgdTp8&list=UUExNRjztVKtVu1CNzPpIFCQ

Celine Yap singing

Celine Yap with Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind”

Mohammad Ali Baqiri

Mohammad Ali Baqiri

 Karen Pickering

Karen Pickering

Adam Bandt speaking

Adam Bandt

Vivian Malo in front of Aboriginal flag

Vivian Malo

Jason Tamiru speaking

Jason Tamiru – “We’re at the bottom of the stack in this country”


Shaun Murray

Shaun Murray

Ged Kearney

Ged Kearney



On the march

Aboriginal flag leading march

Marching down Swanston Street

Senior citizen with placard demanding Abbott reurn his 'self-awarded bonus'

This marcher attracted much attention from photographers

Woman in shorts and placard with caption ' Abbott can kiss my perky lesbian ass'

As did this one


Musicians at the old City Centre

Busking against the Budget


(See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnZtyOLTSuk)

Woman in climate action t-shirt hold leads of two dogs

Plenty of dogs on the march

Woman cradling dog

Even if some had to be carried

woman holding baby with mini-placard reading "Wah!!!"

As did some of the younger protesters

Young woman with placard of variant of classic "First they came for ..."

Bringing up the rear

At Federation Square

By the time marchers had assembled at Federation Square organisers felt able to announce a revised attendance figure of twenty-five thousand. Here there were more speakers, with Father Bob Maguire his usual self prominent in a list that included disability activist Jax Jacki Brown and NUS Education Officer Sarah Garnham, Operations Coordinator at Friends of the Earth Samantha Castro, Danae Bosler of Public Transport Not Traffic, broadcaster, writer, media maker and festival director Marcus Westbury, and Tamika Hicks, ALP candidate for Rowville. Rounding everything off was activist singer/songwriter Les Thomas, with a song specially written for occasion – caught here on YouTube.
Danae Bosler’s speech has also been posted to YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf-JCjlEGNo and Tamika Hicks’ can be found here.

Jax Jacki Brown speaking from wheelchair

Disability activist and spoken word performer Jax Jacki Brown

Sarah Garnham speaking

NUS Education Officer Sarah Garnham

Father Bob pointing with his walking stick

Father Bob Maguire


(Father Bob amongst other things used the view over the river to the Eureka building to make a point he has made before about the symbolism of the gold panels at the top of the tower and the blood-red ribbon flowing down from them. See for example at 7min 30 in this video from the eve of the 2007 Federal Election – http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/23nov-eureka-engagemedia.avi)

Walk for Justice for Refugees – Palm Sunday 13 April

Banner at head of march - Jusitice for Refugees

Growing community awareness of the reality of the current Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers has led to a revival of protest, with attendances at rallies not seen for years. Yesterday’s turnout in Melbourne was variously put at ‘as many as 3,000′ (ABC) to a rather extravagant ‘60,000 might be a conservative figure’ (post on the Walk for Justice Facebook page). Asked for my estimate by one of the organisers towards the end of the event I put the figure at ‘close to 10,000′, and there now seems to be fairly general agreement with this, at least on Facebook. Mainstream media, in so far as it reports the event at all, persists in putting it much lower. However that may be, it was an impressive demonstration.*

(The tag cloud doesn’t include items in the pre-2008 archive, so for anyone who might be interested or wants a reminder, here is a list of some earlier refugee rallies in Melbourne as reported here, including two on Palm Sunday:

2002
Rally and March for Refugees – 2 February
Rally for Refugees – Palm Sunday, 24 March
National Day of Action [for refugees] – 23 June
Tampa Day – Rally for Justice – 30 August

2003
World Refugee Day – 22 June

2004

Refugee Hope March – Palm Sunday, 4 April

World Refugee Day – 20 June
)

The format was conventional**: music to warm up, speakers, march, more speakers to wrap up. Music beforehand was provided by Celine Yap, aka Little Foot – folk, Kavisha Mazzella, and Victorian Trade Union Choir; other choirs were stationed at stages along the route of the march down Swanston Street to the gardens opposite the Arts Centre. Speakers included the Rev. Alistair McCrae, past president of the Uniting Church of Australia, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, and three young asylum seekers, one of whom read a harrowing letter from a mother in detention… MC was Corinne Grant.

Views of the rally on the State Library lawns:

In the crowd at the State Library:

On the march:

At the end (we were not able to stay for the closing speeches, but left to the sound of Little Foot singing Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” …):

*Some media reports:

The Age

The Guardian
PressTV

** Though a new feature was the ringing of church bells following special services at the cathedrals and other churches – see the media release below:

City Church Bells to Ring out for Walkers on Palm Sunday

Across Australia in cities and regional towns Palm Sunday is being observed by Faith communities, Academics, School students and ordinary Australians who are deeply disturbed by the current treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

In Melbourne bells from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and St.Michael’s and St.Francis churches will ring out across the city as the WALK FOR JUSTICE FOR REFUGEES begins. The walk is organised by the Refugee Advocacy Network, working with a broad coalition of groups from across all ages, faiths and political persuasions.

Churchgoers from St. Paul’s, St. Patrick’s, Wesley Church and the Welsh Church will converge on the State Library to join the Walk. Church leaders, Professors and academics, Union leaders, School students, Community and Human Rights groups as well as politicians from the Greens and Labor parties will gather at the State Library. Choirs will serenade the walkers at the major intersections along Swanston Street.

Speaking on behalf of the Refugee Advocacy Network, Sister Brigid Arthur said: “We are walking for Justice for Refugees, because ‘stop the boats’ is not a policy worthy of Australia. It’s a cruel way of shirking our moral and legal obligations. People have a right to seek asylum in Australia regardless of how they travel here”.

Sister Brigid went on to say: “If we are genuinely concerned to stop people drowning at sea, then we must provide, safer ways for people to seek asylum in Australia. We must work closely with other countries not to stop the boats, but to protect vulnerable people fleeing war and persecution.”

Australians are calling for an end to the current policies. They are asking that we:

• Stop sending asylum seekers offshore and process claims for asylum here in Australia

• Close Australia’s detention centres

• Arrange for fair & speedy processing of Asylum Claims and Family Reunion

• Stop deporting people to places of danger

• Substantially increase our refugee quota

Walkers for Justice for Refugees will gather on Palm Sunday 13th April from 1.30pm for a 2.00 pm.
Start at the State Library, Cnr Swanston & La Trobe Streets Melbourne before setting off for Princes Bridge.

Contact Sister Brigid Arthur 0408101134
Marie Hapke 0409252673
Pamela Curr 0417517075

‘March in March’ – the Melbourne Rally and March, 16 March 2014

Melbourne responded to the callout (see http://marchinmarchaustralia.org/ and the Melbourne march Facebook page) with one of the largest rallies since the 2003 protests against the war in Iraq. Figures varied widely, as usual, but we are rather inclined to the upper end of the claims, or towards 50,000. It was also one of the most varied, and in recognition of this we are posting the largest selection of images so far on this site for one event. There is also a choice of thumbnail/gallery or slideshow, the latter comprising lower resolution copies. It may be in order to post a few separately:

Part of crowd at start of rally

A very small part of the rally at the State Library

Black and red flag

The holder of this flag told us it was 45 years old – dating back to moratorium days

Placard in German - 'These crimes, your blame'

International contribution

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Close Manus Island – Rally for Refugees 1 March 2014

Overview of rally at State Library
[Note - this a stitched image and may show slight discrepancies at the seams]

As mentioned in the previous post, the Refugee Action Collective called a rally at the State Library today to protest at the treatment of asylum seekers, calling specifically for the closure of the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, but also an end to mandatory detention and an enquiry into the death of Reza Barati, as well as the resignation of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Attendance was probably not far short of 3000, enough to fill the lawns. Speakers included Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young as well as former detainee Ali Bakhtiavandi and representatives of the Kurdish and Tamil communities. We shall leave others to report on the speeches and content ourselves with the following gallery of photos from the rally, plus a few from the ensuing march to Federation Square, which we were not able to follow to the end.
See the previous post for various links, including this one to the relevant Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/1398283463766506/