Marching for the Lucky Country: @Trixie_Boo reports on #MarchInMarch Perth

By Reezy Miller  @Trixie_Boo

17th March 2014

Depending on which way you lean politically, the idea of living in one of Australia’s safest political seats – state and federal – may alarm or delight you.

I’m fortunate enough to live in the beautiful coastal Perth suburb of Cottesloe, with its famous beach, restaurants and bars, treelined streets, old and new money in equal measure. In the 2013 federal election, which delivered Tony Abbott as Australia’s 28th Prime Minister, local member Julie Bishop received a resounding 67.4 per cent of the vote, returning her with an increased majority and cementing her place as the lone female in Abbott’s front bench.

As with much in life, things are not black and white. I’m not your typical western suburbs resident, having grown up in a decidedly working class Perth suburb in the Sixties and Seventies. But life has been kind to me. My parents instilled a strong belief in hard work, compassion and kindness to others. They led by example, sacrificed much for me and my siblings to be educated, clothed and fed.

That edict of hard work has paid off. I’m lucky enough to have a successful small business. I love my work, my family and friends. I live in the lucky country.

Well, that’s what I used to think.

What happened to the optimism of Kevin Rudd’s election win of 2007, the seismic shift which came with the Apology, the positive, outward view that Australia had internationally?

Politics entered into the fray.

A car crash, in slow, painful motion, ensued. Both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard sustained terrible injuries. Both lost their job as Australia’s Prime Minister. Abbott stepped into the vacuum with a revitalised Liberal National Party, pushing Australia’s conservative right wing agenda to an electorate that welcomed it.

Our new Prime Minister has deemed it unnecessary to have a Science Minister. He’s appointed himself Minister for Women.

His front bench consists of white, privately-educated men – save my local member, Julie Bishop. There are moves afoot to dredge the Great Barrier Reef, remove World Heritage listings on Tasmanian forests, dilute Gonski and the NDIS, cut funding to the ABC and SBS, and extinguishing the ETS.

Malcolm Turnbull is set to deliver a mutant, bastardised version of the NBN, George Brandis, Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts, has already signalled changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and expressed his displeasure at artists of the Sydney Biennale withdrawing their works from the show when it was discovered that Transfield Services, who oversee the running of the Manus Island and Naura detention facilities, provided major funding to the show.

A large number of Australians have witnessed this change in direction. They welcome it. You only need to venture onto social media to see the great divide between the Left and Right and the fervent belief that they are both so, so right.

Which brings me to #MarchInMarch. Why would I be motivated to turn up to a grassroots, non-partisan rally?

Well, as it turns out, there are many, many people, across every possible income, gender, racial and cultural divide who are deeply uncomfortable with what Tony Abbott and his ministry stand for.

Perth’s March in March drew a huge crowd to the beautiful Perth foreshore, out in force, cheering, cat-calling, applauding and then marching through Perth’s streets.

People of every generation held witty, heartfelt placards and shared the belief that something’s gotta change, that decency needs to reenter politics. Speaker after speaker took to the stage lamenting Abbott’s swift and harsh changes, running the gamut from repealing the carbon tax, Reza Barati’s murder on Manus, fracking, clear-felling and dredging, issues of education and reconciliation, marriage equality and national sovereignty.

Across Australia this weekend, this scene has been repeated. Tens of thousands of ordinary Australians have come together in a collective plea for a return to humanity. This may well be the seeds of a truly grassroots movement that brings about real change, return to what I always believed truly is the lucky country.


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Comments

  1. Here’s my film of the rally. I ran out of digital space to get the march in, although I did manage to make the rather long meander up from Langley to the mall and down St. Georges Terrace back to Langley. Had to quaff a pint of Bellhaven Scotch ale at the Moon and Sixpence after that jaunt.