Last month our conservative Liberal Party Government, lead by Tony Abbott, brought down a horror budget. Think of anyone who is vulnerable ~ disabled people, people who are unemployed, single parents, low income earners, students etc etc ~ and this budget has hit them hard. It has cut funding to schools and hospitals across the country. There are attacks to Medicare, the ABC and SBS, universities and apprentice funding. These are attacks that will flow on to those who are working. No prize though for guessing which department had a 6% increase to its budget ~ Defence, of course.
However, people are not taking this lying down. Yesterday there was a protest called by the union movement, rallying workers from a wide range of industries.
Australia has a very proud tradition of union action, and unions have been very supportive of social issues, as well as purely industrial ones. Union membership has dropped over the last few decades, but maybe action like this will encourage new members to see that unions are organisations that fight for rights at work, as well as in the wider world.
The crowd was estimated to be about 30,000 and it was exciting to be amongst so many others.
I love the banners and signs that people carry. (Wave your mouse over the photo for more information about the photo.)
Some photos from the march itself. While you look, imagine all those people chanting slogans like:
“They say Cut Back! We say Fight Back!”
“What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like!”
“The workers united will never be defeated!”
I hope that this is the beginning of a fight against the budget, a fight that involves the union movement. This march tells me that people are angry about the budget and that they are prepared to loose a day’s pay to let Abbott and Hockey know. There is momentum there to be built on.
Not everyone was a burly construction worker!
And lastly, I had to take this photo. The comment “Latte drinking, left-wing tossers” is often thrown to disparage those who are perceived to be all talk and no action. Well, here is another version of “Latte drinking, left-wing tossers”!