March in March
In mid-March, Australians took to the streets to protest Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership in a series of marches. The mostly left-wing protesters had one approach in common: anger dressed as humor.
100,000 Australians vs. Abbott
In mid-March, an estimated 100,000 Australians took to the streets in capital cities across the country. They came from all walks of life to walk, or as it was, march against Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership of the Liberal National Party coalition. The mostly left-wing protesters were unified in their approach to political debate: anger dressed as humor.
No single political issue
From the conservative government’s policy on the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, to the de-listing of UNESCO world heritage wilderness zones, to renewable energy and education reform - there was no single political issue that caused the marches. The sign pictured above lists the various budget cuts implemented in the first 190 days of Abbott’s time in office.
'Gays on boats are my worst nightmare'
Abbott’s opposition to same-sex marriage was one of the political issues being criticized. Former Catholic seminarian Abbot had said that he's "threatened" by gays and that they "challenge orthodoxy." The sign above combines this with the way asylum seekers are handled. The so-called "boat people," who make their way to Australia by sea, are currently processed on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
One of the dominant issues expressed at the marches was climate change. In 2010 Abbott proclaimed, "climate change is absolute crap!" While he has not repeated the statement since, he recently appointed industrialist Dick Warburton, a prominent climate skeptic, to lead a review of Australia's renewable energy target.
Anger dressed in humor
While Australians protested various political issues, one thing demonstrators had in common was their approach to the political debate. Rather than resorting to violence, they used humor to express their frustration. Pictured above is Abbott in his swimming shorts. While Putin likes to ride horses bare-chested, Abbott enjoys to bike and swim in spandex.
A greedy dinosaur
Here Abbott is represented as a relic from an outmoded period in cahoots with the world’s richest woman, Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart. Abbott has come under fire for plans to cut taxes on Australia’s and the world’s largest mining concerns.
Nope to hope
This protest sign is based on graphic artist Shepard Fairey’s icon poster for US President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign, making use of a wordplay by turning Obama’s "Hope" slogan into saying "Nope" to Abbott.
Comparison to Nazi Germany
Some protesters even went so far as to compare Abbott to Adolf Hitler, pasting his head onto Hitler's body. The banner calls his administration "racist, sexist, elitist, homophobic and fascist."
Grassroots organized marches
The name "March in March" originated from a grassroots campaign against Internet censorship in Australia. Even though the protests were mainly organized on social media, young and old came to the streets to make their voices heard. According to this elderly lady, "protest is an ancient right" - even when organized with new means. But Tony Abbott dismissed the event, claiming it was of small size.