Think about the list below. Will you be marching this weekend?
The Abbott government:
- Has dropped two years of Gonski funding to public schools.
- Has cut funding to public hospitals by $50b.
- Wants to deny the dole to unemployed under-30s for 6 months (in every year they’re unemployed).
- Wants to increase university fees and interest rates on student loans (and reduce the income threshold at which students start repaying their loans).
- Is trying to introduce a Medicare co-payment that would hit the poor, disabled and elderly the most, and stop many people seeking medical care when they need it.
- Is trying to allow hospitals to charge for visits to emergency rooms by patients with ailments that only require a visit to a GP. Again, this would hit the poor, disabled and elderly the hardest.
- Is trying to increase the price of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme with a $5 fee. Again, this will impact the poor, disabled and elderly the hardest.
- Is trying to raise the pension age to 70 by 2035.
- Wants to relegate under-25s to Youth Allowance instead of Newstart (since when is a married 24-year old a ‘youth’?).
- Is waging an all-out war on the environment. It has denied climate change despite scientific consensus, repealed the carbon tax, abolished the Department of Climate Change, abolished the Climate Change Commission, defunded Australia’s 9 independent Environmental Defenders’ Offices, abolished the Water Commission, delayed the Cape York world heritage listing nomination, abolished the roles of Science Minister and Climate Change ministers, abolished the Biodiversity Fund, slashed the CSIRO’s funding, and denied landholders the right to stop coal seam gas miners accessing their land. It’s also trying to repeal the mining tax, defund the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, abolish the Clean Energy Fund, repeal the renewable energy target, delist 70,000 hectares of world-heritage forest, and it wants to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.)
- Gives big polluters $10b/year in tax handouts.
- Locks up asylum seekers indefinitely in inhumane conditions, when they’ve broken no laws and are simply fleeing persecution.
- Is breaching international law by turning back asylum seeker boats and imposing mandatory detention on asylum seekers. (We’re breaching: UN Refugee Convention, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR), International Maritime Organization (IMO), Australia’s Criminal Code (Commonwealth).)
- Has completely ruined the National Broadband Network, and replaced it with a much inferior mish-mash of technologies.
- Reducing the Medicare rebate for various procedures, deferring the dental program, and axing the national partnership agreement on preventative health.
- Is trying to tighten the criteria for receiving and retaining a disability pension.
- Is trying to make multiple cuts to Aboriginal programs (despite the fact that Aborigines are still the most disadvantaged group in Australia).
- Is trying to cut to foreign aid (when we’re one of the richest countries in the world).
- Is trying to make cuts to the ABC & SBS (thus increasing the dominance of the Murdoch and Fairfax empires, which tend towards bias and misinformation).
- Lied about Australia’s economy, pretending we have a debt crisis, when in fact we have one of the best economies in the world.
- Lied about the impact of fuel tax increase, saying that poor people aren’t affected as much as the rich, when in fact, they’ll be affected more.
- Lied about cuts to health, education, the ABC. (Said they’d make none, but they cut them all.
- Lied about changes to pensions. Said there’d be none, but they’re trying to increase the pension age.
- Lied about Asylum seekers, saying they’re illegal, when in fact they’re not. They’re perfectly within their rights to seek protection from persecution by fleeing to Australia.
- Lied about the deficit left by Labor, saying Labor left a $123 deficit over the next 4 years. (Labor actually left a $54.6b deficit.)
- Lied about the impact of welfare on average Australians, saying the average working Australian works over one month full time each year just to pay for the welfare of another Australian. (60% of Australians get more from the system than they put in!)
- Suspended the Wage Connect program, despite it being proven to deliver good outcomes for unemployed people (ACOSS policy director Jacqueline Phillips said, ”nearly half the participants in Wage Connect were in paid employment at the end of the six-month program”, compared to the third who were still employed after a Work for the Dole payment).
- Cut funding from Operation Newstart, an early intervention program for vulnerable youths
- Axed funding to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia.
- Abolished the National Housing Supply Council, which provided data and expert advice on housing demand, supply and affordability.
- Abolished the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing, established to help address the challenges the country faces as the number of older Australians grows.
- Scrapped the Social Inclusion Board, which had been established to guide policy on the reduction of poverty in Australia.
- Scrapped the Home Energy Saver Scheme which helped struggling low income households cut their electricity bills.
- Cut funding to Indigenous domestic violence support services.
- Completely defunded the National indigenous legal service.
- Abolished the position of co-ordinator-general for remote indigenous services.
- Abolished the National Office for Live Music along with the live music ambassadors.
- Increased private health premiums.
- Taken away promised pay increases to childcare workers.
- Taken away promised pay increases to aged care workers.
- Repealed pokie reform legislation that combatted problem gambling.
- Reduced tax breaks for small business.
- Completely defunded Youth Studies Australia, a journal that provided research-based information and analysis on issues affecting Australians from early adolescence to young adulthood.
- Appointed a former IPA Policy Director as a Human Rights Commissioner, even though the IPA had publicly called for the Commission to be abolished… while Tim was still a director! And despite the fact that Tim advocates hitting occupy protesters with water cannons!).
- Failed to declare a scholarship awarded to Abbott’s daughter by a friend.
- Is trying to introduce laws that would make it a criminal offence for journalists to leak information relating to ASIO’s ‘special intelligence operations’ (a new type of operation in which ASIO officers have immunity from liability or prosecution if they do something unlawful). So if a journalist discovers an ASIO officer is doing something illegal, and reports it, s/he could go to jail for 5 years.
- Has introduced a new code of conduct for Australian Public Service (APS) employees, which prohibit public servants from being “harsh or extreme in its criticism of the Government” on social media (even if anonymously). If they are, they can lose their job. And their workmates are compelled to dob them in if they see it happening. The APS employs more than 167,00 people, across a range of departments and agencies, including the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the Australian Law Reform Commission, the Clean Energy Regulator and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. That’s a lot of people with a lot of key, relevant knowledge, who are now no longer allowed to voice their political opinions online…
- Has threatened a NSW TAFE teacher (through the Department of Immigration) over comments a friend of hers made on a private Facebook post. It’s important to note that this woman is a public servant, but NOT an APS employee. If ALL public servants can now be censored, not just APS employees, that’s 12.8% of all Australian voters who aren’t allowed to voice their political opinions online. (There are 14,812,090 enrolled voters in Australia and 1,891,300 public servants.)
- Wants to introduce laws that would require internet service providers (ISPs) like iiNet to retain all metadata relating to Australians’ internet use. And they want unrestricted access to this metadata, without a warrant. Metadata includes a history of all the websites we visit, the time and date of emails we send, who we send them to, and whether they were received, even the content of our tweets (possibly private DMs too). At the moment, law enforcement agencies require a warrant to access this information.
- Is considering banning environmental boycotts (i.e. campaigns against companies on the grounds that they’re selling products or services that damage the environment).
- Has adopted or endorsed, or is considering, more than a third of the IPA’s policy wishlist. (The IPA is a free market think-tank sponsored by the coal mining, tobacco and Murdoch industries, as well as other big businesses and the rich.)
- Tried to make it easier for people to be racially offensive (all because journalist (and IPA member) Andrew Bolt fell foul of the law for making racist comments).
- Is considering eliminating laws that stop media monopolies.
- Is privatising assets that shouldn’t be privatised (they’ve already privatised Medibank, and now wants to privatise the Mint, parts of Centrelink, ASIC’s registry function, the Defence Housing Authority and Australian Hearing).
- Is refusing to back a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) even though corruption is obviously rife at the state level (particularly within the Liberal party), and the federal Liberals get a lot of their funding from the state fundraisers.
- Is actively pursuing the TPP, which would allow, for example, foreign foreign food corporation to sue Australia if we label unhealthy food with its actual ingredients or ban an imported food because it contains a dangerous pesticide. Or for foreign pharmaceutical companies to sue us if we don’t let them patent life-saving medicines. For foreign gas companies to sue us if we investigate the impact of fracking. And for foreign tobacco companies to sue us for enforcing plain cigarette packaging.
March dates & locations
Visit the March Australia website for a list of dates, times and locations for this weekend’s marches.
I’ll be marching in Gosford. Hopefully I’ll see you there.
Click Join on the Facebook event if you’re marching
If you’re marching this weekend, don’t forget to click Join on the Facebook event page for your local march. So numbers are accurate:
- Go to your local March Facebook page
- Locate the link to their August Event (usually you can click Events, just under the header image, but sometimes you have to scroll further down the page)
- Go to the Event page
- Click Join
Why are you marching?
Please comment to let us know why you’re marching this weekend.