Its important for the big-government-dependent parties to deny the power of the Convoy.
Less than a week ago, there was a rally at Parliament House with around 3,000-5,000 people. And today there was another one, this one with around 600 vehicles according to Matt and Janet Thompson, and this one by people who have gone to extraordinary lengths, driving up to 5,000 kilometers from all corners of the country.
The convoy is a rolling protest that involved thousands of people across the nation. In Sydney, people switched their headlights on in sympathy, and Andrew Bolt records at least one witness suggesting half the cars on the road had their lights on.
Feelings and support for the convoy are widespread and running high. One of the convoy supporters from near Clermont reports: In only 24 hours, we gathered 300 signatures for the petition, local beef producers had organised fuel donations of over $13,000 and the CWA had organised food and drinks for everyone on the convoy. This support from a town of only 2000 was amazing and a testament to a united effort.
Dale Stillers comment is typical on Just Grounds: The convoy has experienced nothing but support. There have been flags, balloons & ribbons on gates, signs & fences all the way from Rockhampton to Goondiwindi. Other trucks as they pass on the highway are on the 2way, wishing the convoy well and of course often accompanied by a blast of the air horns.
The bottom line is that the nation supports the Convoy: There are over 100,000 votes on the NineMSN poll and 80% are with the trucks.
So what do you do when hundreds of cars, trucks and vans descend on the Parliament in a historic move, from all over the country, demanding an election? If you are the ABC, you call it 200 trucks, dont mention the cars, feature those who have an interest in putting down the protest (Bob Brown), and make sure you mention how it was smaller than expected when actually, it started as one driver, and thousands of people joined in. The ABC coverage is so shamefully biased, a government PR agency could hardly have done a better job. They carefully avoided selecting any of the key messages in the speeches or petition (but they put in any odd unconnected grievance they could find); they didnt interview the organizers, instead just showing a snippet of a song and a truckie tooting. They didnt mention how far the trucks had come, how much expense they had gone too, or that the Convoy had gone to great lengths to make sure they didnt inconvenience the people of Canberra.
That ABC report didnt ask a single driver why they had felt it was necessary to take such extraordinary action.
Unless I missed it, the 6pm ABC radio news in Perth found time to mention there was backburning around Broome (it is a big wildfire up there), but not enough time to mention that thousands of people are so angry with the government they drove all the way from Broome to protest.
The Convoy organizers staged their entry so carefully, coordinating it with the Federal Police. They meticulously planned everything so as not to put out the average Canberran, even starting at 5.30am so as to avoid the peak hour traffic. They were scrupulously considerate. (Perhaps too much so.)
In the end, the fact that they were so well organized and polite was used against them. The pro-government forces hyped up the anger against the out-of-towners with threats that it would cause major traffic delays and bring Canberra to a standstill. But when the protest didnt cause any of the promised disruption, instead of admitting they were wrong, and apologizing, they pretended that the lack of traffic problems shows the Convoy was a fizzer. Spin spin spin. Its too easy, isnt it? If the Convoy had slowed up the traffic, it would be called a nuisance.
How do you portray the grassroots movement of cattlemen, miners, truck-drivers, business-people and farmers as being unrepresentative? Just call them all truckies. Oh, and ignore the devastating polls that show that this government is one of the most unpopular groups in all Australian history that indeed 6 out of 10 Australians share similar opinions to the protestors that are being called extremists.
Its time we protested about the ABC. Whats the point in protesting about the government, if it wont be reported accurately by the main Australian taxpayer funded broadcaster? Solve the ABC problem first, then the other problem inept, self serving governments will tend to solve itself. Its time to demand better reporting, or get our tax money back.
Some of the news round up:
The Labor Party is mocking the people who would normally be its support base
Anthony Albanese, Labor MP, stood in the House of Reps and labelled the concerns of ordinary Australia, represented by the Convoy, as a Convoy of No Consequence. Then he and his colleagues laughed .
Rashida Khan replied: The government thinks the plight of the average Aussie of all walks of life who politely ask for better treatment and respect is a stupid joke.
Denise on Just Grounds: Paul, well get the last laugh when they lose their seats at the next election. We will laugh loud an long.
The Just Grounds team are asking people to email the Government:
Please send out emails tonight and tomorrow morning to Labor and Greens MPs ask them whether they will meet with Convoy organisers and listen to the concerns of ordinary Australians.
You can either:
1. Click on this link http://www.convoyofnoconfidence.com/convoy.html and follow the instructions to send the pre-written letter to all politicians; or
2. Write your own letter and put this address in the To box of the email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org; or
3. Write your own letter and manually put in email addresses. (Psst, says Jo, I have an email list here for Australian Parliamentary Representatives)
UPDATE: Alan Jones was livid when an SMH journalist asked him if he was being paid to be there.
The SMH Journalist Jaqcueline Maley reports Alan Joness response:
There are farmers there who say to their wives and family I hope youre listening and report this, Jacqueline Maley from The Sydney Morning Herald [SMH] who say to their wives and family, Im just going [up] the back to fix up the fences, and they dont come back, he told the crowd, who duly jeered at me.
I spend a lot of my time doing those sorts of things. Ive just been asked by a journalist from The Sydney Morning Herald, am I getting a fee from being here today?