Thousands protest 'budget horror'

Saturday, May 24, 2014
Protesters march down Broadway in Sydney. Photo: Peter Boyle.

Thousands of people marched against the federal budget and took part in March in May rallies on May 18.

About 15,000 people rallied in Melbourne against the proposed budget cuts. Viv Malo from First Nations Liberation told the rally that while $50 million was devoted to police in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, $500 million will be cut from Indigenous services. She said: "You are killing us. This is not a lucky country. You won't have your freedom without ours."

Mohammad Ali Baqiri, a former detainee on Nauru, said: "I thought John Howard was cruel, but look at Tony Abbott. He is wasting taxpayers' money to build detention centres around the country where they torture innocent refugees.

“All of us will suffer, because we all have to pay for these unwanted detention centres. We don't want to be slaves to this government. They want to make the rich richer and the poor poorer."

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Ged Kearney said: "This budget will attack Medicare, education, the poor and the elderly. We are a wealthy country; we can afford a decent social safety net. We do have a right to welfare, we have a right to education and a right to be healthy."

Greens MP Adam Bandt said: “If you want to know where the burden of this brutal budget from Tony Abbott is going to fall, it will be on the young, the sick, the poor and on Australia’s first people. The Greens will block this budget. If Labor and the Palmer Party join with us in an alliance for a new election, we can have Tony Abbott out of office by Christmas.”

In Sydney, an estimated 15,000 people took part, making the rally bigger than March in March. The crowd marched from Central Station to Victoria Park. The recent horror budget angered many and the crowd overwhelmingly demanded that the opposition parties block the budget in the Senate.

In Brisbane, about 1500 people took part in the march. Most speakers called for the budget to be blocked.

[There will be a Bust the Budget rally on June 12, at 10:30am, at Victorian Trades Hall.]

From GLW issue 1010