Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Rallying against wrong

Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 in Campaigning | 0 comments

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has – Margaret Mead


Yesterday I went to my second ever rally. I did feel proud of myself as shouty shouty rallies are not really my thing – I do not covet public attention – and am more likely to whisper my thoughts, or write about them, rather than shout / chant them on one of the main streets of Sydney. There are issues, though, which get me so fired up in regards to their total un-justness and down right wrong-ness, that they demand a step outside of the comfort zone. The issue which brought me to this rally is one of those. So, chant (albeit softly) I did, wore some very protest worthy “gag” tape across my mouth and held a placard (Go me !!).

On a similar vein as to what brought a couple of hundred health professionals in front of Town Hall last month to protest against proposed laws to prevent them from speaking out against atrocities in detention centres to asylum seekers, the rally I attended was to protest against proposed legislation to “gag” whistle blowers from speaking out against cruelties in agribusiness. The proposed “Ag Gag” legislation would make it impossible (and, in some cases, unlawful) for people to speak out and /or gather evidence about such cruelty.  The government’s misleading title of “Criminal Code Amendment (Animal Protection) Bill” would make such revelations as the recent live baiting scandal in the greyhound industry never see the light of day and the brave souls who captured the footage / evidence would be the ones to be punished rather than the perpetrators. Wrong on so many accounts. Just when you think our government could not get anymore morally bankrupt, the likes of Barnaby Joyce, Chris Back and Niall Blair are actively pushing for this Bill. In a world where the consumer is increasingly demanding transparency about where our food comes from, they are desperately trying to keep the hideous conditions which factory farmed animals exist in hidden to protect their big business agriculture cronies. Or, as more succinctly put, a quote from the rally ‘the reason activists are a “threat” isn’t that they are breaking windows, they are making them”, says it all.

As many wonderful people in the past have stood up and said no to all the outrageous things which once existed (slavery, homosexuality being illegal, indigenous people and women being unable to vote are a few which come to mind), there is something to be said for making the time to turn up, be loud, don an aptly sloganed t-shirt and show your contempt in person. It educates the public (so many passersby took flyers or stood and listened to the speakers) and, I hope, shames the government by having educated and articulate speakers tearing to shreds their ridiculous proposals, in a very public forum.

If you want to know a little bit more about Ag Gag (and ways to voice your disdain about it) and what it could mean for Australia, here are some interesting links.

Voiceless article defining Ag Gag in Australia

Animal Australia’s petition against Ag Gag 

US Will Potter’s intriguing site detailing everything there is to know about Ag Gag (his book “Green Is the New Black” is a great, but scary, read)

Let’s hope that those wanting to implement this Bill in NSW have the same lack of success as Idaho did in recent days where Ag Gag laws were deemed unconstitutional and thrown out.

With so many worthwhile, current issues out there worth fighting for (gay marriage, coal seam gas, action on climate change, refugees, big mines in pristine areas…the list goes on) I think that attending a rally in person is a great, empowering thing to do. Plus, people power WORKS . Even if it’s something a bit offbeat which you have to attend on your own (like I did !) as none of your friends are into it (or not enough to give up their Saturday mornings for anyway), you will be surrounded by like minded people who “get” you and your cause.

Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi speaking at the rally




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