By Joe Bourke
More than 5000 people attended the ‘March in March’ rally at Town Hall last Sunday to voice their opposition to Tony Abbott and many of the Liberal Party’s key policies.
Rallies were held around Australia, but with the upcoming state election, Sydney had the highest profile.
Several notable figures spoke at the event including Greens leader Christine Milne.
Education, global warming, privatisation of public assets, metadata retention and the transpacific partnership were the main points of Senator Milne’s speech.
Ms Milne also criticised Mr Abbott’s infamous “lifestyle choice” remarks, prompting the vocal crowd to chant “close the gap, not the communities”.
“It is Prime Minister Abbott who should make the lifestyle choice, and we would support him making a lifestyle choice to get out of the people’s parliament and go back to the diminishing, self reinforcing, born-to-rule Liberal club wherever that might be,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Premier Mike Baird launched the Liberal Party election campaign at Angel Place to party faithfuls, including PM Abbott and former PM John Howard.
He pledged 150,000 jobs if re-elected, and criticised the opposition to his party’s privatisation plan, describing it as “one of the biggest, most disgraceful scare campaigns ever seen in NSW”.
Despite Labor leader Luke Foley having voiced his concern that partial privatisation would make electricity prices rise, Premier Baird guaranteed electricity prices would be lowered if the plan proceeded.
Ms Milne slammed privatisation, and said that it could hinder the public’s ability to use renewable energy.
“It is the people’s asset and we do not want it sold off,” she said.
“We need to keep it in public hands so that we can bring on the energy revolution.”
Coal seam gas was also attacked by the speakers. The upcoming release of Frackman the Movie will bring further attention onto CSG and there have been reports that it could cause a swing to Labor in some regional seats.
Ms Milne also condemned both major parties for their stance on metadata, criticising Bill Shorten for “falling into line with Tony Abbott”. This sentiment was echoed by the event’s host Alex McKinnon, who introduced Ms Milne as “the leader of the opposition”.
Following the speeches, roads were closed until 3pm as protestors marched to Belmore Park.