Anne Ashby from the No Carbon Tax website reports about the Convoy of No Consequence Rally outside Anthony Albanese's office.
A crowd of approximately 500 people marched on Anthony Albanese's office today to protest about his insult to the Convoy of No Confidence on 22 August 2011. The rally and march were organised by Consumer and Taxpayer Association Jacques Laxale, as a result of public outrage after Mr Albanese, the Member for Grayndler, called the Convoy "the Convoy of No Consequence" during question time while the protest was underway.
Mr Albanese is the Federal Labor Member for Grayndler, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Leader of the House and his comments were reported by the media across Australia. The Gillard Government laughed at Mr Albanese's comments and an emboldened Kelvin Thompson, Labor MP for Wills in Victoria, later called the Convoy "the convoy of incontinence" after he'd seen a two Winnebago’s and a caravan parked near Parliament House. At no time did any member of the Government walk 200 metres and cross the road to meet with the Convoy and listen to their grievances.
The well-behaved but very vocal crowd marched down Marrickville Road behind the 'death of democracy' coffin, carrying various signs and armed with megaphones, Australian flags and inflatable toy hammers. People of all ages and many nationalities joined in the call for a new election, to stop the carbon tax and Government waste. Many were angry about the Government's mishandling of the Malaysian solution. Others expressed concern about Bob Brown’s media enquiry and the threat to free speech in the media. Also concerning to many people was Julia Gillard’s personal phone calls to media bosses and the removal of articles from the Internet as a result.
Mr Albanese, flanked by security, addressed the rally and answered questions presented to him by Chris Johnson from CATA. Mr Albanese answered the questions, however gave his support to the Gillard Government and said he fully supported the Government's position on the carbon tax. As justification, he told the rally that there were more people at the Petersham Town Hall question and answer night than at the Marrickville protest. These comments did nothing to endear him to the crowd, and his voice was drowned out by calls for a new election and for the Government to stop the carbon tax. The one thing the protesters wanted to hear was an apology from Mr Albanese for his comments about the Convoy. None was forthcoming.
Other speakers at the rally included the Victorian Liberal Federal Member for Indi, Sophie Mirabella, who called on the Government to do the right thing by Australia and call a new election. Malcolm Roberts from the Galileo Movement spoke to the crowd about the science and presented a two-page document to Mr Albanese for comment. A young lady drove all the way to Sydney from Bendigo Victoria, Anita Donlon, to address the rally. Ms Donlan was MC at the Convoy rally and was insulted by Mr Albanese's comments against decent, hardworking Australians who had travelled for days to be heard in Canberra. A 94-year-old ex-POW Verdun Walsh who had never attended a rally in his life, also addressed the rally. Other speakers included Norma Biggood, Angela Liati and Peter Madden from the Christian Democrats.
It is concerning that minders allowed a middle-aged lady to get close enough to Mr Albanese to pull his tie. The rally organisers did not witness this incident, however footage appeared on one of the evening news programs. Mr Albanese was not intimidated by the confrontation by the crowd – indeed he appeared to relish it - and at no time was his personal safety at risk. The mood of the crowd when Mr Albanese addressed them was more hostile today than at previous rallies because this was the first time they’d been addressed by a Labor Minister. Many wanted to vent their frustration were disgusted by the performance of the Federal Government and the Malaysian solution debacle was the final straw for many of them. Many protesters said that if the current Government sees out its full term, the damage could take generations to repair.
The Government refuses to acknowledge that something is really wrong when conservative Australians, many of them elderly and who have never attended a rally before, take to the streets to protest against Government policies and failures. It is this arrogance that will ultimately lead to the Government’s downfall.
Some photos below.
At least MP Anthony Albanese had the guts to turn up.
Follow him on twitter @Bulmkt