400 attend March in March at Armidale

MORE than 400 people gathered in Armidale’s Central Park on Saturday to voice their concerns about decision-making at a state and federal government level.

The rally was held as part of the national March In March initiative, and drew people from across the region.

Thousands of Australians participated in protests in capital cities and regional centres across Australia at the weekend, voicing their opposition to policies and government decisions on subjects as diverse as the Great Barrier Reef, asylum seekers and gay marriage.

The protests were born online, led by a volunteer group which names only a few organisers and that has proposed a “vote of no confidence” in the federal government.

The March in March action shifted to Canberra yesterday where supporters were expected to march on Parliament House.

The Armidale rally featured nine speakers, including former Tony Windsor staffer John Clements, who spoke about the protection of aquifers; Narrabri farmer Stuart Murray who argued mining companies were “riding roughshod” over local farmers; and Inverell’s Kathy Nicholson on the impact of cuts to the TAFE system.

Armidale’s Professor Graham Maddox addressed “the erosion of social justice and the decline in caring for the vulnerable”.

Fellow academic Professor Helen Ware contrasted “the cruelty and illegality” of asylum- seeker policies, with the huge migrant numbers accepted into Australia each year.

Barbara York, speaking on behalf of the organisers, said they were pleased with the roll-up, which included a large number of young people who had learned of the rally via Facebook.

She said many were there representing local single-issue groups, and others who were “alarmed at corporate power and the decline in transparency and governance standards”.

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