The message was delivered: no confidence whatsoeverA Statement of No Confidence in the Abbott Government has been
delivered to the Australian Parliament as a message from the 100,000
people who took part in the March in March. And, writes MiM organiser Loz Lawrey,
“As the intensity of the public’s dissatisfaction with this toxic
government continues to grow, the message will be delivered again and
again, over and over”.
“Let it be known, and entered into the public record, that on this
day, Monday 17 March 2014, the People of Australia delivered this
document to the Parliament of Australia.”
On a sunny Monday in March, a delegation of Australians presented a
handwritten parchment to Adam Bandt, the Federal Member for Melbourne,
at Parliament house in Canberra.
Adam had graciously agreed to accept the Statement of No Confidence
and present it to Parliament on behalf of the more than 100,000 people
around the country who attended the March in March rallies protesting
the governance of the Liberal/National Coalition.
A few days later Senator Scott Ludlum attempted to table the
Statement in the Senate, but sadly the tabling was disallowed on a
technicality. Such a document had never been presented before, and the
Abbott government narrowly avoided the need to officially respond.
The March in March 2014 Statement of No Confidence in the
Liberal/National Coalition Government From the People of Australia was
written and rewritten, passing through one set of hands and then
another, from laptop to smartphone to desktop screen, added to and
tweaked, then jigged and rejigged until it truly was a document “of the
Those of us who took part in this joyous assertion of public
sentiment knew all along that successful tabling and debating of this
document was unlikely, since it didn’t fit the strict layout and
presentation requirements for a petition and had no supporting
We also knew that petitions, even if they are tabled, are easily
dismissed and require hundreds of thousands of signatures if they are to
achieve any sort of real acknowledgment or response.
The Statement of No Confidence did not protest any single issue and
made no demand for any particular outcome. With or without signatures
the Statement was, and remains, an overarching assertion of public
disapproval of this government’s decisions and the direction in which
Abbott and his cronies are taking our country.
Although not yet officially tabled, the document still entered the public record via media news cameras and print coverage.
Despite the Abbott government’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the
March rallies, it is aware of the Statement’s existence, and of its
contents – the marchers’ message of No Confidence was delivered.
For the government and its cheer-squad in the mainstream media, a
head-in-the-sand avoidance of the rallies and the Statement was the only
possible response. To respond otherwise was to risk a humiliation even
deeper than the serial embarrassments brought on daily by the public
utterances of Abbott and his ministers, blithely reported by so many
The rallies that took place around Australia were a clear
demonstration that there is great opposition to the ideologically-driven
agenda of the Abbott government and that there is ever-growing public
consternation (note the current polls) at the obvious attempts at social
engineering, the blatant suppression of information, the retreat from
transparency and accountability, the rorting and trough-snouting, as
well as the lies and broken promises.
Oh, and it seems that some people are worried about the attacks on
democracy and human rights, the abuse and mistreatment of refugee asylum
seekers, the dismantling of environmental regulation and general
trashing of our natural environment, the assault on wages and
entitlements, and the closing down or defunding of every institution and
organisation established to support and inform the public interest.
The lugubrious, repetitive pronouncements from “Smokey Joe” Hockey,
whose pants seem to occasionally ignite and smoulder (leading to
on-camera sweating and obvious discomfort), are grooming us for an
austerity regime the like of which Australia has never seen. Let’s not
forget that Abbott considers Maggie Thatcher a mentor to emulate.
Our country is suffering a concerted attack, by a government owned by
vested interests, upon our vision of ourselves as a nation respected by
the rest of the world for upholding standards of fairness and decency
at home and abroad.
Thanks to Abbott and his cronies we are now viewed with global
contempt – a xenophobic, racist raft of white supremacists floating in
the Pacific, abusing all who come near. How have we allowed this
perception of our multicultural society to take root and grow? Is this
Australia has never managed to grasp the opportunity afforded by the
coming-together of our immigrant society (which includes most of us) and
the First Australians whose land it is, to create an exemplary modern
society of equals and forge a new history, free from the constraints,
mistakes and influences of the past. Instead we import the dumbed-down
culture of the deeply dysfunctional United States, ignoring the wealth
of world culture that permeates our society.
Once, we were known as the land of the Fair Go. That’s right, the
Fair Go. Sadly, according to Smokey Joe, the Fair Go gave us all a sense
of “entitlement” which was simply not sustainable. So the Fair Go, and
along with it all sense of decency and righteousness, of empathy and
inclusiveness, must be swept aside to balance the books and satisfy the
Apparently this will elevate us to the transcendent, nirvana-like
state of “surplus”, despite the fact that many Australians will endure
lives of misery and hardship in the process.
Conservative governments notoriously and conveniently ignore human
suffering, dismissing any concept of social justice and equity, and
reducing the discussion of public affairs to a mathematical equation of
dollars and cents.
Only the elements of profit and loss are factored in, while the
values and considerations of human hearts and minds, of skills,
knowledge, intelligence, understanding and caring ( the very stuff of
life) are sent to the margins.
And nowhere on the page is there any reference to the common, or public good.
Somehow it comes about that government of humans by humans no longer
regards the human condition itself as relevant in the decision-making
Somehow the dollar, the measure of greed, becomes not just one factor
among others, but the only consideration. A perversion of governance
becomes entrenched in our system which government messaging and media
manipulation grooms us to accept as the norm.
The marchers who attended the March rallies told their stories
through the number and diversity of messages on the placards expressing
community concerns and through the words of those who spoke. The
Statement of No Confidence is the symbolic summary of those concerns.
The marches and rallies will continue. This people’s movement will
grow. Already Marches are planned for Sydney, Adelaide and Perth for
Sunday 18 May, while regional marches around the nation will take place
at the end of August.
As the intensity of the public’s dissatisfaction with this toxic
government continues to grow, the message will be delivered again and
again, over and over.
And one day soon, to use the religious imagery favoured by Abbott, Australians will be delivered from evil.