Sydney Stands Up in the Face of Tyranny

Do these people look like ‘extreme socialists’? I see a little boy and his dad, a possible retired art teacher on the left, a lady who looks slightly like my nan, and a bunch of other everyday Sydneysiders who’re fed up with being treated like they’re not rich enough to have a say.

The ‘Save NSW’ Rally that took place in Sydney yesterday was one of the few things in recent months that the city should be proud of.

Photos by Jam Hassan

Nature’s call got the better of me this morning, as it often does, and I was forced to stop into McDonalds to relieve myself. The only reading material on hand was The Daily Telegraph, and as I sat on the can leafing through it, I immediately regretted my choice. I’d rather read a graphic firsthand account of exactly how chicken nuggets are made, than have to re-read ‘journalist’ Miles Godfrey’s rendition of yesterday’s Save NSW march in Sydney’s CBD. The opening line, “Pot smoking protesters lead by the Greens and extreme socialists brought the CBD to a standstill…” is perhaps the most one-eyed intro to anything I’ve ever read.

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A couple of hundred people?

I was at the rally yesterday, I can’t speak for Mr Godfrey, but you can’t help feeling that the ‘pot smoking’ was the first pre-typed line of his weak, premeditated smear that he tapped on his News Corp company computer, before he set off on Sunday with his prehensile nostrils agape, searching for a whiff of what the kids don’t call, ‘pot.’ I didn’t smell any weed, but I did see lots of non-Telegraph readers who’re pissed off with the ‘gronks’ who’re representing them. The real Mayor of Leichhardt Darcy Byrne, as in the elected mayor who was sacked after his council was merged with two others because he doesn’t agree with the multi-billion dollar WestConnex motorway project (of which the tolls will start at $11 a pop), aptly summed up the multi-faceted disposition of the rally in his speech on the steps of Town Hall. “Let us not resort to simplistic abuse in defiance of the Baird Government, let us stand up and make sure that his government is abolished at the next election.” What this means is that there’s a shopping list of reasons to rid NSW of its Premier, and shouting, “Mike Baird’s a cunt,” which he most possibly is, is not as powerful as picking an issue and voicing your disdain through voting.

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Tyson Koh of Keep Sydney Open.

The multitude of people, of which Baird’s wild abuse of power has affected in different ways, was perfectly clear yesterday. The members of the PSA (Public Service Association) who’re livid about the cuts in funding to TAFE, the institution in Australia that provides affordable tertiary education. The residents of the inner-west of Sydney who’re angry and frightened about the prospect of their homes being bulldozed to make way for a motorway (WestConnex) that they don’t need. The Keep Sydney Open gang who’re perplexed and saddened by the laws that prevent people in a major international city from meeting wherever, and whenever they want. Even the young kids with homemade signs who’re just bummed that precious city trees, like the fig trees on Anzac Parade (that were planted to commemorate the much celebrated, when it suits, Anzacs) have been chopped down to make way for a light rail.

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The thing that the cock-eyed bloodsuckers at newspapers bankrolled by real estate websites, like The Daily Telegraph (hello, don’t want you to know, is that rallies like the one yesterday, are nothing but a great time. People of all ages are all mucking in together, and by rights of being there, you all automatically have something in common. You end up talking to people that you wouldn’t normally associate with, and that’s healthy. If investment bankers-turned-politicians like Mike Baird and Malcolm Turnbull did the same, then we mightn’t be in this mess of civil unrest. Young, angry, left-wing uni students and Anonymous masks, standing next to respectable-looking grandparents, young professionals, farmers, and black, white, asian, middle-eastern, everything Australians, all uniting against one common hinderance to the evolution of Australian society, Mike Baird, is a rare phenomenon. And this was not something that was lost on those who was there. Darcy Byrne, the real elected Mayor of Leichhardt, pointed out that although the inner-west has been the most publicised, 42, (yep 42), democratically elected mayors in NSW were outed by a “stroke” of Mike Baird’s pen, because they opposed WestConnex and other government initiatives like Coal Seam Gas. This is nothing short of totalitarian, and if it doesn’t scare you, then it should.

The Guy would not approve.

The king rabble-rouser of the day was the Greens member for NSW David Shoebridge, and he rebutted meagre arguments like the one in the Telegraph before they were even printed. He pointed out that the problems with Mike Baird are not limited to “Greens and extreme socialists,” as his local council, Woollahrah, who’re Liberal to say the least, are taking Mike Baird to court over his attempt to merge the Woollahrah, Randwick and Waverley councils. He then went on to point out the distinct possibility of NSW turning into police state, and that due to the recently passed consorting laws, if the police had deemed the 5000 or so protesters yesterday (or couple of hundred according to Channel 9), as dangerous to public safety then, “they could take over the mike, start arresting anyone they could get their hands on, and jail people without appeal for up to 3 years.” Not to mention the drug dogs that plague train stations and pubs in Sydney, an initiative that is rumoured to have cost $16 million since 2010, and in Shoebridge’s words, “…does little but bust people with tiny joints, and humiliates people on a regular basis in public places when the dogs get it wrong.” Tyson Koh, of RAGE and Keep Sydney Open, echoed Shoebridge’s sentiments that although policies are easy to back up with manipulated figures and words that most people, naturally, don’t understand, the crux of the matter is that our basic, democratic rights are being abused and taken away. “Sydney’s lockout laws aren’t about going out and getting drunk, they’re about ownership of our city and the right to congregate whenever and wherever we like.”

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Nor would His Airness.

At the end of the day, the overriding sentiment that oozes out of peaceful, proactive events like yesterday is thus. It is very much in the interest of the government for people to be confused. But, you don’t have to be a disciple of the constitution to get pissed off and voice your opinion, in fact it’s quite the opposite. What is deliberately made to sound confusing at the top, affects normal people when policy trickles down. Protesting is a democratic right, and a great way to spend a Sunday. If ever there was a time to take to the streets in Australia then it is now. Shit runs south, and there’s a steaming waterfall of turds that’s covering Sydney, New South Wales, and Australia at present. Apathy won’t do anything to dispel the stench.

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