The message was delivered: no confidence whatsoever

A 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 people”.

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 signatures attached.

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 journalists.

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 the reality?

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 “bottom line”.

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 process.

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.

Statement Of No Confidence Large

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Categories: Politics

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41 replies

  1. Wonderful writing, Loz. Thank you for what you have done and are doing to protect constructive, accountable governance and improve our country.

  2. I have a theory that I’m developing. It’s a bit out there and possibly paranoiac, but sometimes you really are being followed. All this hype about a harsh budget and “austerity” is all just that – hype. We are being pushed into a state of fear and we’re all falling for it – and contributing to it. We are being set up. I’m beginning to suspect that the budget will in fact be surprisingly benign, the result of which will be most of the electorate saying, “Oh, ok, this Government isn’t really all that bad at all. All the hype was crap. Let’s all relax about it”. That’s when OneTermTony becomes TwoTermTony.

    Fanatics like him have loads of patience. Anyway, could be wrong but it wouldn’t surprise me if this happens.

  3. Wonderfully put,and a perfect summation of what the march was all about and why it was a great success.And why all future marches will only get bigger and better.See some you folk there I am sure.

  4. Dan, you could be right, and I hope you are. An old trick of Howard’s was to scare the begeezuz out of us then hit us only as half as hard as threatened. Another trick was to get the nasties out of the way early in his term, then soften us up closer to the next election. And of course it worked. Voters have short memories.

  5. I have already signed up to a huge list of Australians who do not recognise the LNP as a legitimate government. I don’t remember the link, though.

  6. Stupid me for thinking this Country was Free. It was okay for Tony Abbott to throw slander at the previous Government, but when the heat is on you, you cannot take it.

    I will never acknowledge you as PM because you cannot Man up and face the Public asking them what there thoughts are, instead you attack Senior Pensioners, Disabled People and Carer’s of Disabled Children.

    Shame on you, your an Embarrassment to our Nation. I cannot wait for the next elections, unless you get thrown out quicker.

  7. Michael
    My money’s on the latter option. The sugar will come next time.

  8. Oh lets get a Pims or a glass of Chard now that we’ve done the deed to the LNP.

    PATHETIC, one march does not a government change. Man up, put up or shut up.

  9. Michael,

    The “get the hard stuff out of the way early and people will forget soon enough” is a tried and true political strategy, but I can’t shake this niggling feeling that we’re not going to get that and all the fear-mongering, if I can call it that, is just political strategy. The Murdoch press haven’t done anything to soften this message which makes me even more suspicious. I feel as though something is afoot. It could just be an early onset of gout but something is wrong.

    Given that the Senate make-up is going to change and the Government will not want to alienate it, I really feel as though we’re going to be dealt a much better hand than we’re expecting (there being no actual economic reasons for it to be otherwise) just so as to make us feel much more comfortable about this mob. I’m probably wildly wrong but it’s a feeling that I can’t shake. They are certainly sufficiency Machiavellian enough for it.

  10. Yep, it’s pretty obvious that nothing too bad will happen this budget. He’ll backstep on everything that was ‘going’ to be cut (pensions, health, education, wages, penalty rates, etc etc), and next election, pretty much one day after being sworn in again, we will truly become slaves due to a sudden slamming through of everything he has been ‘testing the waters’ with up until now.

    Unfortunately the general public seem to live in a delusional bubble, where as long as they are ok right now, worrying about anything political would just be silly. They won’t care UNTIL their pay is cut in half, they have no health care and free speech is banned.

  11. I have my own sneaking suspicions. The government will rough us up early in their term, and be complete bastards during the rest of it.

    I just can’t see them turning nice at any time. I have no faith in them doing that.

  12. “Delusional bubble”. I like it. Great term.

    Someone needs to prick it.

  13. I’m actually beginning to wonder if this will be a kamikaze government: the vested interests want them to do as much as they can as quickly as they can (the IPA has publicly stated as much). Of course they’ll try to win the next election, but I think they know that Abbott winning another one will be a seriously uphill battle. So they have to destroy everything first.

  14. Dan:

    You worry me Dan that is just too close to the bone for comfort. If that were the case the early period of his second term will probably be hell.

    I think The Prince maybe getting his comeuppance.

    What a devious, if not prescient, mind you have.

    I am now more than a little tense and anxious.

    Fridge I need my brown bottle.

  15. They are just getting the country back into a financial position, so the hard stuff has to be done first. Once you are not paying billions a year on interest, then things will change. Knock off all the union and political corruption, feed the masses with tax breaks and the like and bingo another term in office. LOL.

  16. Andrew,

    Roswell’s alternative view is the more obvious one and it’s certainly the political narrative being run, but the natural tendency of this lot to be devious has me thinking there’s a ruse of some kind at work. I guess we’ll know soon enough. The question after that will be how pliable the new Senate is going to be. Palmer likes to huff and puff a lot but the Government will happily exploit PUP’s political inexperience whenever they can.

    Generally speaking, political parties think longer term at least when it comes to their own electoral fortunes. I’ve no doubt the Coalition is enacting strategies that are designed to give them the best possible chance of a second term and they will be aware of potential dangers to that goal. Thousands of marchers, for example.

  17. I am surprised they are going ahead with the $6 co-payment for doctor’s visits. Last I heard Peter Dutton was saying it should be means tested – those who can afford it should pay. Guess that one didn’t fly with Credlin’s star chamber.

  18. Kaye

    I didn’t think the co-payment would fly as Abbott had just made a big fuss about eliminating red tape and now he wants doctor’s surgeries to collect $6 – it would have to be cash wouldn’t it – and pass that on to the federal government or do the doctors pocket it ?
    So a medical practice that has gone to the trouble of putting their business online (including Medicare claims) now have to facilitate a system for collecting and banking cash.

    That, Tony, is red tape imposed by government .

  19. Terry,

    Not to mention the red tape involved with everyone on the disability pension getting reassessed every few months.

  20. They have to go ahead with the $6 Kaye Lee because the latest deficit figures according to Liberal supporters in my area, are that Labor left owing $380 billion. This deficit left by Labor seems to be like the fat cat’s belt, ever expanding.

  21. I had no confidence in the Coalition before the election (hence didn’t vote for them, along with most voters), so little confidence after the election that I attended my first protest march since the 1970s, and every new decree proposed by this government since erodes my confidence further. Even if you remove their apparent lack of compassion or even empathy from the equation, the Liberal National Party (aided and abetted by our anachronistic parliamentary system) is leading us inexorably towards sociological and ecological disaster, all while begging us to believe that it’s necessary to secure our future. Seriously? In a nation so rich, in so many ways, that it’s nickname is The Lucky Country? As an Australian voter, I have a right and a duty to call “bullshit” on that. And I’ll keep calling them out until they start doing their job or step aside so someone else can have a go…or (and I know this has Buckley’s chance of being heard by anyone who can make it happen) how about those who care enough to put up their hand to lead us, actually cooperate and sort out this mess?

    By the way, “lucky country” is taken out of context; the original quote is, “Australia is a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.” Things haven’t changed much since 1964, have they?

  22. Eddy wrote “Once you are not paying billions a year on interest”

    Please excuse my ignorance but from whom are we borrowing and to whom are we paying interest?

  23. I have a question for anyone here. There was 100,000 who attended the MIM right? How many more out there who would have marched if they could have? Perhaps there could be a headcount of those people too.
    It is obvious to everyone that there is a complete lack of confidence in this current backward, totally inadequate set of people who lack the social ability to include the very people who need help the most.
    So now perhaps we can show the government that we really mean business by getting actual signatures by signing a properly organized petition. Could this be done by those who organized the MIM? Or does it need to be done in a legal way so the document has to be acknowledged by the HR & the Senate & taken seriously.

  24. Sandra,

    A petition for what? A petition that demands what? I think I want to start a petition against such petitions. No petition of this sort is going to be taken seriously by any Government, let alone this one. We had an election. They won. We won’t get a chance to undo that till the next election. It’s as simple as that.

    However, in terms of the numbers that are dissatisfied by the activities of this Government so far, most polls since the election seem to suggest that a significant number of people – outside of the usual leftist suspects which the Government need not care two hoots about – are unhappy. That’s cause for the Government to be a little concerned and for the rest of us to be a little heartened. Perhaps even more than a little.

    The trouble is, as the old saying goes, a week in politics is a long time and opinions polls can change wildly in that sort of timeframe, depending on the circumstances. If the Government does fail, in this term, to set in place those circumstances which might move public opinion towards it, then I think our desire to see it gone in a single term is one that has some real chance of sublimation.

    It will depend to a certain extent on the performance of Labor through that period. It’s obvious that they’re deep in policy development mode right now – or I damn well hope that’s where they are – but if Labor doesn’t sell, and sell hard, true socially democratic values in the next few months instead of engaging in poll-driven policy-point auctioning, we are in a spot of bother. I really think that salemanship of a Leftist ideology is utterly necessary to arrest the deeper cultural shift this country is experiencing. The more we drift to the right, not just politically, but culturally, psychologically, communally, the easier it is for conservative forces to ply their trade, to sing their siren songs and weave their dark magic spells.

    Policy matters, no doubt of that, but right now the war is ideological and our side of politics hasn’t even turned up for the fight. Or, to the extent it has it’s doing the old thing of bringing a knife to a gun fight.

    Does the Left still retain the confidence in its own philosophy to be able to effectively and instinctively and reflexively argue its case? I actually worry about that.

  25. Read up on the Jesuits..! We let them in so we should do a bit of research into the scary mob that now calls themselves a government…

  26. Conservative objectives will not diminish with the current budget. They may back off through political expediency but there is no way we can assume they will not attempt to bring in every one of the IPA wishlist.
    It is only a mater of time. It is critical not to drop our guard. Keep posting blogging and marching. We must not fall in to the trap of the occupy movement.

  27. I believe this lot will adopt the standard Liberal approach and will hit hard in this budget and offer trinkets later in their term, knowing people have short memories and are likely to forget the pain.

    The long-term problem I foresee is, once we’ve surrendered these rights and entitlements, getting them back will be all the harder, which is exactly what they are hoping for – that they will become the norm and we won’t have the resolve to fight for them to be reinstated.

  28. Thanks for the sermon Dan, not really relevant to what I was referring to though.
    Obviously you didn’t read the whole article. You should try it sometime, you might though probably not, learn something about sociology or the lack of it affects us mere mortals.

  29. @Dan Rowden

    … It’s a bit out there and possibly paranoiac, but sometimes you really are being followed. All this hype about a harsh budget and “austerity” is all just that – hype. We are being pushed into a state of fear and we’re all falling for it – and contributing to it. We are being set up. I’m beginning to suspect that the budget will in fact be surprisingly benign, the result of which will be most of the electorate saying, “Oh, ok, this Government isn’t really all that bad at all. All the hype was crap. Let’s all relax about it”. That’s when OneTermTony becomes TwoTermTony….

    Have had similar thoughts for a while myself – preferred to keep these ideas very, very quiet. However, now that they are ‘out’, the question to be asked, is this?

    Is the Abbott government so self interested, so myopic, so sure of its righteousness that actually delivering what it threatens will not be a form of political suicide?

  30. Great article Loz. Thankyou. Up here in Lismore we will continue to voice our opposition to this extreme right-wing agenda. We are currently expecting several hundred Police to arrive to bust up the Bentley Blockade which sees THOUSANDS of concerned people turn up to try and stop Metgasgo turning the Northern Rivers into Gasfields. We will be ready to march come August. Thanks for all your work.

  31. I agree with Sandra. If 100000 hard copy signatures is what is required to table this document in parliament then lets get it done. Even better, would be if 100000 were to march on parliament to deliver the petitions and remain until we have an outcome we are satisfied with.
    Regardless of the term of the election, the government are our representatives. We the people, hold the power to say shape up, or ship out. And we’ve decided that we don’t like the way this government operates and so are terminating our previous agreement. We do not have to wait for the next election, that would be negligent and stupid.
    Sack them! Charge them for their crimes and let them fight amongst themselves. A s for the rest of us… lets get back to the task of finding a government with the balls to do what is right; not simply what is easy. Willing and capable of representing the views and needs of ALL its people and the guts to make it happen.

  32. Dear Bill Shorten,

    You just sent us an email. It was nice, but I have two questions regarding it:

    Today I am announcing the start of a major campaign to rebuild the Australian Labor Party and renew our sense of purpose. A campaign to create a Labor Party that’s stronger because we have more members and our members have more of a say.

    There is no question. If we want to change the government, if we want to change the country for the better, we must change too.

    The response to our first-ever Federal leadership election showed that Labor is up to the job of rebuilding. My vision for Labor is for a party that represents and reflects the Australian community – a party with 100,000 members.

    We have to make it easier to join, and we will. To rebuild the party we need a new, more open and democratic model of membership – giving our members a strong voice.

    We have to give our members a greater say, not just in the election of our leaders but in the pre-selection of our candidates too, and we will.

    We have to have greater engagement in our National Conference and ensure our National Platform reflects modern Labor values. But rebuilding our party is not just a technical job of updating our rules – it is a moral task of renewing our ideas and sense of purpose.

    Rebuilding is never painless – but it is far less painful than the alternative.

    A weaker, less relevant Labor party left trying to fight the battle of ideas with an arm tied behind our back.

    We cannot stand still and watch as Tony Abbott punishes the people we have always served. We cannot submit to the twisted priorities of this Prime Minister. We must rebuild.

    1. What are “modern Labor values” exactly?

    2. What ideas, precisely, are we taking to the battle of ideas? It’s a nice sentiment but it needs detail.

    Thanks.

    Dan Rowden

  33. When the next federal elections come around, Australians should learn that the LibNats and the greedy corporate moguls is all about dollars and who will be enjoying exploiting the mainstream backbone of Australia; the average Aussie Joe who works hard to try and make ends meet … From this lesson alone and after our nation gets closer to being a banana republic we must rid our country of this fascist ideal and vote in a political party who puts people first … I sincerely hope that Aussies ignore the MSM and vote with their heads and not from lies that are sugar coated … Underneath that sugar coating there appears to be the poison pill that harms the how we live … That poison is very real; it will take decades to get our house back in order and regain what we all work for; i.e., equality, freedom and security …

  34. Spot on Dan.

  35. People, he has nothing to soften his harsher policies so don’t delude yourselves.

    The sheer fact that human rights minister got a huge payrise is proof.
    A buy-off to allow him to just let him pass what ever crooked policies he wants.

    Joe Hockey’s proposal to cut elderly pension and push retirement age up to 70….
    Isn’t as simple as that, he wants to cut off existing pensioners to force them into a nearly non existant workforce.

    It is only going to get worse, and all so at next election he can say “I fixed the broken budget and put us in surplus”
    Which was purely a fabricated lie, to put fear into the people.

  36. That is the thing Alana…there are no jobs/ And we dare not mention 457 visas for fear of being branded racist; not that you blame poor people from poor countries taking their chance.

    The Drum ran a longish panel on it last night but I waited in vain for any of them to mention the elephant in the room, unemployment.

  37. Yes Sandra Lots of people would have marched, but no word of it up this end, nearly all my friends and aquaintainces didn’t vote for ‘Them’ , who did?
    Somehow a more national approach may be required. We also love the ABC!

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