STORY AND PHOTOS BY KIAN HALL
The rumbling hum of protest fills the air as people gather in Belmore Park, Sydney CBD, for the March in May. People, young and old gather to show their anger, their disillusionment, and their sense of betrayal for the government. People hold signs and banners protesting, among other things, the proposed Medicare levy, cuts to the arts, cuts to education, human rights abuses of asylum seekers, and environmental issues.
The anger at the recent budget is evident everywhere you look with the claim of ‘class warfare’ hanging in the air and on banners. People are angry about the attacks on the most vulnerable, the poorest, the elderly, the disabled and the sick. One of the protesters, a young mother said, ‘We live in a country that can afford to take care of everyone.’
With a country doing so well economically, there are few arguments against her statement. According to her she someone who would typically vote for liberal, she’s financially well off, her husband and her both work and have two young children, but she is still at the March in May, protesting against this government, even though the changes he proposes wouldn’t really have much negative impact for her.
Other protesters described the budget as ‘an attack on young people’, ‘ridiculous’, and a ‘disgrace’. Some described the Abbott government as ‘useless’, and even as tyrannical. At one point the crowd chanted ‘One term Tony’. The anger and disillusionment towards the government was not limited to the Liberal party, with many protesters talking about Labor being the party that brought in a lot of the policies they were protesting about.
Reasons for attended the march ranged from wanting to do more than just comment on social media, to ‘everything’. Some identified their main reason for attending as being about the environment, others about the human rights abuses of asylum seekers. Most said something about the budget, and others about Abbott being ‘Hell bent on dismantling everything labour has worked for’. One middle aged man gave his reason for attending as being that ‘Bill Shorten needs to grow a set.’
Whatever the reason for each individual attending, the march sent a clear message to Tony Abbott; that there are a lot of Australians that are very unhappy with his government. With over ten thousand attendees across the country, the March in May was a clear statement of dissatisfaction with the policies of a government that has, according to the protest’s organiser, broken 27 promises in just 8 months.