By Anne Carlin  @sacarlin48

11th March 2014

The time is drawing nigh. March in March 2014 is happening this weekend in 29 locations across the nation, and then on Monday morning, the big one takes place in Canberra. You can check out the details of all the marches here.

Many of you might be wondering what are these marches all about, who’s organising them, are they legal, will I be safe if I go?

I did a little bit of research which I’d like to share with you.

People coming together

The most important fact to know is that March in March 2014 is simply about people coming together, people who want to give the message to the Australian Government, led by Tony Abbott, that they are unhappy with many of the decisions and actions of that government.

Be assured that this is a true organisation of the people and is not being run by any political party, any business group or union, not even GetUp!

Jenna Price at The Sydney Morning Herald came to the same conclusion as I did: “What is it? It’s what looks like an authentic public reaction to the Abbott Government’s way of running Australia – which means it’s not only about asylum seekers; or climate change; or education funding; or union bashing; or attacks on universal healthcare coverage.”

You can also get some more background information from Wayne Jansson at No Fibs.

Volunteers from across Australia

What started from very humble beginnings, almost as a thought bubble on Twitter, has grown to a large group of volunteers now being organised by a national administration committee, with members from all over the country. This committee has the support, at each march location, of  a sub-committee responsible for the organisation of their march.

These hundreds of volunteers are giving their time and energy because they believe that they must speak up. A popular catch-cry is ‘not in my name’.  The hundreds of volunteers involved are very diverse and passionate about their cause. They are old and young; male and female; religious and non religious; students, workers, unemployed  and retired; straight and LGBTQI;  firebrands and those of a more temperate nature. Many of them are committed to different messages that they want to give to the government.

Tim Jones (@forthleft) a member of the national administration committee, said this spread of messages has meant some challenges for the organisers, but the evidence shows that all have risen to the challenge. In less than two months, one march planned for Canberra has morphed into 30 marches across the country. To me, this is clear evidence that when people from all walks of life are passionate, when they care, when they want to take action and when they have sound leadership, they can work together successfully.

A family friendly protest

I will be at the march in Brisbane on Sunday with my sister and friends. You can read about why I am motivated to march at No Fibs. I am clearly not ashamed to have a bleeding heart. I wanted a clearer picture of what would be happening. Like you, I had many questions to ask, so I spoke to Matthew Donovan, a key organiser in Brisbane, to get some answers.

I couldn’t be happier with what I learned. Have you ever been to a family friendly protest? Well if the answer if “no”, I think you are going to find out what it looks like when you go to March in March in Brisbane on Sunday.

The committee of six in Brisbane consists of a broad range of people who represent and understand the needs of many diverse community members, and they have a strong commitment to ensure all people will be welcome and safe. They are planning for children, people with disabilities, the frail and elderly – everyone.

A special group that I respect highly, St Marys in Exile, has long championed the humane treatment of asylum seekers who seek protection in Australia and they will be marching as a community on Sunday. I have no religious affiliation but am always uplifted by attending their services, so I hope to start my Sunday with them at their morning service.

The rally starts in Queen’s Park at 12 noon (better to get there a little earlier if you can) with speakers from a wide spectrum of beliefs and cultures. There will also be stalls and entertainment before and after the march. The details of speakers will be available here before the march, possibly even by the time you read this. It is expected the march will commence before 1pm and take about 45 minutes.

Yes, March in March is legal

The National Administration Committee has ensured that all the local committees have the appropriate permits and permissions in place. The organisational process could not be more open and accountable. Each march location has a Facebook page where people can post, comment and seek information. For those who are not Facebook members, all information is available on March in March. Twitter aficionados are certainly not neglected, check out @MarchinMarchAus.

Whoever you are and where ever you are you will be welcome at a March in March this weekend. I hope to see many of you in Brisbane on Sunday.

Anne Carlin is a member of the ALP.