A LARGE crowd turned out to voice displeasure at the actions of the Federal Government at Canberra’s “March in March” protest rally outside Parliament House, a day later than most of the co-ordinated events around Australia.
The protesters came together to advance a wide range of causes and express their opposition to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the current government and a long list of its specific actions, decisions and policy changes since coming to power in September.
The Canberra event’s official Facebook page describes March in March as “three days of peaceful assemblies, non-partisan citizens’ marches and rallies at Federal Parliament and around Australia to protest against government decisions that are against the common good of our nation”.
A “speakers corner” began at 9am outside Old Parliament House, and at 10.45am the march began the short walk to the front lawns of Parliament House, with speeches and songs scheduled till about 2pm, with Greens MP Adam Bandt appearing at 1.30pm to symbolically receive what is described as a “people’s vote of no confidence in government policies and decisions that go against common principles of humanity, decency, fairness, social justice and equity, democratic governance, responsible global citizenship and conserving our natural heritage”.
Those who joined the movement particularly oppose the Abbott government’s policies on asylum seekers and the environment, especially climate change, along with the scaled-back National Broadband Network, public sector funding cuts, a perceived lack of support for science, the government’s refusal to subsidise struggling manufacturing businesses and its clampdown on information released to the media.
Several of the marchers who spoke to “CityNews” said they considered themselves neither left-wing nor Labor supporters, but had strongly opposed more than one of the Liberal government’s decisions.
Other members of the crowd were organised by left-wing and progressive organisations, including unions and socialist groups as well as refugee advocates and environmentalists.
Before the event, the organisers rejected suggestions that holding the march on a Monday, rather than on the weekend as in most of the other cities, would limit the number of people in attendance.
Photos by Stephen Easton