Here in Australia where the sun shines brightly, the wind blows fresh and strong across our sweeping plains, where the waves crash into our never-ending shoreline and where a bunch of truckies spurred on by a radio shock jock gathered in our nations capital to try and depose the minority federal government.
Why you might ask? it would seem that the truckies and shock jocks didn’t like the result of the last election much and kind of don’t like they way our political system is governed, as enshrined in the constitution. The organizers of the event, who refer to themselves as the “Convoy of No Confidence” in the days preceding the protest predicted that thousands would join the protest on the lawns of parliament house Canberra.
I don’t want to be too picky but the “Convoy of No Confidence” isn’t a very good name for a convoy me thinks but that’s activism Australian style for ya. There was an eloquent poem on the organizers website. Please wait while I clear my throat…ok.
There is movement in Australia, the word has passed around,
A bob tailed truck is leaving Darwin NT on the 17th, Canberra bound.
Now the truck will bolt from Katherine yards on the 18th of August 2011,
No doubt the mob will be joining him, on his journey down.
A progressive Convoy is what he has sent the message for far and wide,
The call will be answered without a moment’s hesitation from all who can drive.
So down your tools, put your leave notice in - for today we become part of Australian history together.
At the end of the day, about 80 trucks and about 100 odd ancillary vehicles made the trip and weren’t actually authorized to drive their rigs to parliament house itself. The protesters, lead by dis-endorsed Liberal candidate, Mick Pattel, called for a new election and had a multitude of concerns: the carbon tax, the ban on live cattle exports, the Malaysia refugee people swap deal, pokies reform and more.
The lower than expected turnout lead MC Alan Jones to come up with conspiracy theory in which he was reliably informed that a convoy two kilometers long had been stopped by police at ACT/NSW border and therefore was a threat to democracy. Police and the Mick Pattel himself debunked within the appalling threat to freedom and to the Australian way within minutes.
The protestor’s major beef though seemed to be with the political system that allows independents to negotiate with both major parties to determine a minority government. With the next federal election two years away it looks like at this stage as though the disgruntled view that adorned the lawns of Canberra will have to wait.
Governments are elected to govern; our election terms (3 years) are short enough as it is. The 24 hour news cycle and the rise of punditry often passed of as journalism means that the venom, relentless political analysis and criticism gives governments of all pusuasions very little room to breathe life into their policies.
The frenzy whipped up means that elements of the population believe that things are in such a dire state that the government should be thrown out just after 12 months after being re-elected. Maybe we all just need to take a chill pill and let the democratically elected parliament do its work and if the electorate doesn’t like it then it will have the opportunity to vote in a new parliament in two years time.
In the meantime we can watch Alan Jones rant about the death democracy trying to create a smokescreen for the woeful turnout.