From the other side of the student rallies

Protestors at the Budget rally, VIC.
Protestors at the Budget rally, VIC.

 

The recently announced Budget has inspired an uproar from Australians from all sectors of society. In the past week, there have been two major protests in every state capital, with thousands of people getting onto the street and showing Tony Abbott that they will NOT lie down and let him steamroll over their future. But, for those who haven’t been able to attend, and have instead been digesting the media’s coverage of the protests, I have some shocking news for you.

The media has spun the protests as something they’re not. 

Headlines such as “The ferals are revolting”, supported by pictures of angsty teens battling armed policemen are splashed all over Australia’s newspapers. The media has painted these protests (which Tony Abbott labelled as “revolting”) in the light that shows the people protesting as a small, imbecile minority group of people who are only “making it worse for themselves”. But the thing is, it’s the majority who are attending these predominantly peaceful protests.

I live in Melbourne, and attended the May 18 protest about the budget, as well as the May 21 student protest. Around 25,000 people gathered for the first, and 3000 for the second. At the budget protest, I was surrounded by elderly people, disabled people, Aboriginal people, students, single parents; normal people. These people are the 99% that Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey forgot to include in their budget, these people are tax-paying, law-abiding citizens who are disgusted by what the government is proposing to do to them. The media, as always, lowered the number of people at the protest to make sure that the people of Australia weren’t too impressed with the effort thousands put into showing their outrage. However, despite the media’s unfair negative spin on the protests, at least they’re being reported – unlike the March in March protest earlier this year, which many news outlets ‘forgot’ to report on.

At the student protest, I was surrounded by not only students, but mature-aged adults – people who also care about the welfare of Australia’s youth. It wasn’t only school uniform-clad teenagers sitting in a circle on the ground, it wasn’t only the one or two people who stupidly ran into the policemen, it was 3000 concerned, responsible, mature and passionate people who marched in Melbourne yesterday to composedly show their opinion. The media doesn’t want you to know this. But I do. We do.

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