March in March

A series of protests have been held around Australia today. The #MarchInMarch demonstrations are calling attention to a various policy issues that the Abbott Government is mishandling. Abbott is a climate change denier who is privileging the greed of Australia’s mining giants over environmental sustainability. He dismantled the Climate Commission within the first 24 hours of being elected. He’s a misogynist who is against pro-choice; who has made several sexist remarks about women’s public role in society; whose cabinet only has one woman, and yet he crowned himself Minister for Women’s Affairs. His election campaign focused on a platform denouncing Australia’s human rights obligations to asylum seekers (the so-called “stop the boats” campaign actually targets the most vulnerable minority of unauthorised entrants and which sociology research shows will not work). 

This great speech by Victoria Rollison hits on the common thread between these issues: fear. She calls for a return to community, defined as protecting the human rights of all Australians, not just our elites.

Australia turned inward when the majority of us voted for Tony Abbott. We rejected kind and compassionate when we chose to ‘stop the boats.’ We rejected common sense when we decided the money spent saving our economy, our livelihoods from the Global Financial Crisis, was wasteful. And we rejected science when we put our fear of an increase in electricity prices ahead of our determination to slow climate change.

Abbott promised these scared, threatened and oh so gullible people that he would fix everything. That it was a good idea to be selfish and mean and greedy. To forget that they lived in a community. Dog eat dog is back in vogue. So we need to fix this.

We need to show people that when they turn their backs on their communities, they lose out, every time…

The path to prosperity for the nation and the path to healthy communities is not individual success. It’s success for all of us. It’s really that simple. Once you understand this, once you use this idea to frame how you see the world, suddenly Abbott looks like a horrible option.

Suddenly progressive policies aren’t scary, because they represent the common good. We should be helping our fellow Australians up the ladder of social mobility. Not kicking it down and burning it as Abbott is doing now. A stronger you makes our team stronger. And our team is all of us. We’re all part of the same team.

Read the speech script on Rollinson’s website

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