13th March 2014
Asylum seekers, the environment and funding for community services were all reasons given by people planning to attend the Blue Mountains March in March this Sunday.
Rachel Higgins, from Springwood, is 17 and wants: “The best for the country and for me when I grow up”. She is worried about cuts to resources at her school, and to the schoolkids bonus. “There are four of us, and this is a stack of money that Mum is missing out on,” she said.
“I want the march to raise a whole stack of awareness. There are so many marches everywhere and I hope that people will realise what we are trying to stand for and think that maybe we do have a point.”
Moira Cox, Rachel’s mother, hasn’t done anything like this before. She heard about the March in March on Twitter and is passionate about her dislike for the current government. Ms Cox is concerned that commercial media will not cover the marches because she wants the Government to see how people feel about them.
“I want this fellow to see he’s doing the wrong thing by the people, except the rich people,” she said.
Sally, from Woodford, is one of the local organisers, and didn’t want to give her surname. She got involved by helping out with the Facebook page, but also says: “Everyone’s organising it, which is good. Someone put up flyers in Katoomba, and it wasn’t us!”
The key issues for Sally are asylum seekers and cuts to the Aboriginal Legal Service. Before the 2013 election, she didn’t like either major party’s policy on asylum seekers and handing out for The Greens at her local polling booth, while her husband handed out for the ALP. Neither had been on a booth before.
“I want people to be awake again. Everyone, including me, has been taking things for granted, particularly our rights, our liberties, our freedoms. We don’t need permission to express peacefully what we want to our local member,” said Sally.
Sally’s daughter, Josie is 8, and wrote to Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott before the 2013 election about people seeking asylum.
Josie received a reply from Abbott (below), and will be attending the march on Sunday.
Allie Booth and Richard Kleinbergs, from Portland, are hiring a bus to bring up to 30 people to the march. “Plenty of people here don’t have a lot of money, and the petrol costs would blow their budgets. We’re not rich, but we can share a bit to help get people there,” said Ms Booth.
“I’ve never been so angry before. I’ve not been politically active, or gone to protests, but I think we all have to be more active in the government of our country,” she said. Allie Booth is particularly concerned about recent laws in Victoria and Queensland that she sees as a contradiction to democracy.
“The Coalition have no morals when it comes to winning an election, and the ALP has lost their way and their strength. We don’t all have to agree, but the public is being ignored.”
Katrina Hawke, from Katoomba, is concerned about the environment and asylum seekers. “I’m really passionate about adding my voice to the group, because I won’t be heard on my own,” she said. Not a member of a political party, this will be the first protest Ms Hawke has ever attended.
“I’m not happy about either major party. There’s nothing proactive, progressive or visionary and I’m sick of the slash and burn mentality.”
The March in March Blue Mountains will be held on Sunday, March 16, at 11am, at Carrington Place, Katoomba St, Katoomba.