Historic Day For Australian Politics As Politicians Discover People Can Protest Nearby As Part Of Functioning Democracy

Photo: Whistleblowers, Activists And Citizens Alliance Facebook

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Recently politicians discovered that when they insist on inflicting bad laws on the population, the population might resist this by way of protesting. It’s a novel concept that many of the politicians in question believed could only ever happen “on the television box” and at a safe distance from them, giving them ample space to freely tut tut over it at their own leisurely pace.

But they have now discovered the true danger lies where you least expect it. In the place where the bad laws happen and are argued over. Who knew this would be the ideal spot for protest, aside from everyone?

Called the most disruptive parliamentary protest in 20 years, on Wednesday a group of protestors from Whistleblowers Activists and Citizens Alliance interrupted Question Time to call on politicians to close Australia’s refugee camps (‘offshore detention centres’) on Manus Island and Nauru. The group glued their hands to the railings in the House of Representatives. They were forced to shut down Question Time.

Bill Shorten, the walking embodiment of a wet blanket, said of the protests, after checking with a strict Labor voting focus group to see how this comment would play on both sides, “this is the exact opposite of a democracy” (turns out focus group Jane really liked the punchiness of the statement).

Well Bill, given a democracy means rule by the people, the exact opposite of a democracy would be a rule by inanimate objects. Since nobody has allowed Potato Dutton to rule singlehandedly I’m not sure what alternate reality you were experiencing. These are ordinary (extremely brave, passionate, tired of your bullshit) people protesting as part of a robust and healthy democracy that holds the powerful to account without fear of retribution. You can’t on the one hand, decry dictators like Castro for repressing dissent, and then in the next frame, have a cry when some young people glue their hands to your furniture, it’s just not how it works mate.

And maybe we’ve forgotten about holding the powerful to account because we’re confused by a media that appears to be employing some kind of automated article generator system which pumps out articles based on whatever Pauline Hanson is doing at any given second, a system powered by journalists riding bikes at fast paces and not dropping below 100km or it might miss a tweet.

Speaking of tweets. Let’s relive these beautiful train wreck gifts bestowed on our person.

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Respect for basic conventions. Check. Got it. *writes this down* basic conventions must be respected. By this same token then *takes out calculator, punches in numbers* would you say by focussing on the basic conventions of parliament, that we *punches in more numbers* are unable to also respect the basic conventions around *looks at calculator result* not abusing human rights. My calculations show that your priorities are messed up.

But sure, be upset about having to break for recess in the playground that is Parliament house. You don’t like it when people are mean to you in the workplace. They don’t like it when we torture innocent people and try to cover it up. You win some, you lose some.

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Oh yes because speaking in Parliament is the real goal of staging one of the biggest protests the parliament has seen in two decades, real good, must have just listened to You’re The Voice too many times then eyyyyy millennials, just want to be heard for a bit hey, to go such lengths in actually doing something that is risky and difficult and terrifying, just to be able to speak in Parliament.

And what happens when you speak but say nothing? The shameful inaction from the party in opposition who refuses to challenge the government on these injustices is testament to that. Silence is complicity. Actively supporting these mad policies makes you equally as culpable. Labor have a lot to answer for. If both parties can get away with this shit, then who will speak for the popular will of the people?

Not sure what the jury is on clucking like a chicken in parliament but I guess you guys have already got that covered.

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And this ripper, literally not even a few days ago. So sorry to interrupt your arts and crafts time, Tone, carry on then.

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QUIET PLEASE, THE ADULTS ARE WORKING

They make a mockery of our system every time they treat the public with contempt, as though we are ill-informed and just don’t know any better, brainwashed by the internets. As though we’re not here reading the damning, horrific reports and listening to the stories and the outcomes that have been condemned endlessly by everyone from the United Nations to The New York Times.

This government takes democratic rights for granted every day. They try to censor actual free speech by threatening to jail our doctors and healthcare professionals and whistleblowers for daring to tell the world how these systems result in the abuse of innocent people, a denial of their basic human rights, not to mention the cover ups when people die as a direct result of these failed systems. “Go die somewhere else” is not an acceptable policy. Neither is “keeping torturous camps open as a deterrence”. 

You weren’t ready for this backlash even with four years of warning? You expect politeness and civility and for people to accept the gulags you run despite international condemnation? Yeah nah. And the worst part is you tell these people who have been protesting for years and years in every manner available to them, to just keep doing what they’ve been doing that has yielded few results or zero change, because the government on both sides continues to ignore them? You don’t think that’s a case for escalation? They’re only at your doorstep because you’ve ignored them for so long. 

So now that you’ve had adequate warning and the people have spoken, the ball is in your court, quite literally. Or rather, the boat is now floating in your bloodstained fountain.

What are you going to do about it?

Here’s the latest protest by Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance in their words:

Refugee activists take over Parliament House on final sitting days

Politicians have arrived at Parliament House this morning to find two climbers suspended off the roof with a banner reading “Close The Bloody Camps #Justice4Refugees”. Outside Parliament, members of Whistleblowers Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) have also turned the water feature into a bloody pool, representing deaths from turnbacks at sea with signs reading ‘Turnbacks Are Murder’ and ‘Blood On Your Hands’

Today’s action is a continuation of yesterday’s interruption of the House of Representatives by members of WACA, where they unfurled banners reading “You Are All Complicit – Close the Camps Now” and “Stop Trading Lives – Close the Camps Now” while others super-glued themselves to the gallery.

WACA spokesperson Kat Moore stated, “We are here today to tell the Australian Parliament they are all complicit in the murder, rape, torture and child abuse of refugees. This is a state of emergency and a humanitarian crisis. Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island are death camps. Every single person in offshore detention must be evacuated immediately and the camps shut down. There are also many asylum seekers who have languished for years in onshore detention facilities, these people must also be resettled immediately in the community.”

Over fifty refugee supporters congregated in Canberra from around the country for two days of actions cumulating in today’s banner drop of Parliament House. Neither the Government nor the Opposition can be taken seriously whilst Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island remain open. Both sides of politics continue to violate human rights, through indefinite detention, supporting turnbacks, and by refusing to take responsibility for the resulting deaths at sea.

WACA spokesperson Zianna Fuad stated, “It is clear that the Government’s offshore detention policy has failed. Instead we have become world leaders in cruelty, traumatising thousands of people who came to us seeking asylum and safety. The policy is in direct violation of the UN refugee convention. The Government’s US Deal is nothing but a desperate attempt to disguise the establishment of a permanent island prison on Nauru.”

WACA has maintained pressure on the Government and Opposition all year through peaceful direct action, including an interruption of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s keynote speech at a CEDA event in August, when a member of the group successfully invaded the stage with a sign reading “FFS Close the Bloody Camps”.

Ms Fuad added, “The Government and the Opposition are playing politics with people’s lives. The continued violation of human rights means that members and everyone else complicit in the detention industry should expect growing, widespread protests and civil disobedience until the camps are permanently closed.”

For further information:

#CloseTheCamps

#Justice4Refugees

@akaWACA

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WACA is a grassroots alliance supporting communities to campaign to end war, defend human, environmental & civil rights & confront corporate corruption.

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