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In Tony Abbott's world - Senator Larissa Waters' speech to the Brisbane March in March

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Larissa Waters 16 Mar 2014

Hi everyone, it’s so great to see so many of you here – give yourself a round of applause for having the heart, the guts and the determination to send a message to Tony Abbott. 

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and their elders, past, present and future.

Of course, in Tony Abbott's world, traditional owners are all on income management, because he thinks they don't know how to manage their own money

And in Tony Abbott's world, Andrew Bolt is the Minister for indigenous affairs - and only for the aboriginals that he deems black enough for that status

In Tony Abbott's world there are no women in Cabinet, in fact there are no women in Parliament, because we're all at home in the kitchen/ironing, wearing only white

In fact in Tony Abbott's world there is no Parliament, because it was just faster to let the mining companies regulate themselves, and it was appropriate to put three star Generals from the Army in charge not just of protecting our borders from innocent people fleeing persecution, but in charge of things like health too because we declared war on Medicare.

And in Tony Abbott’s world, we've bulldozed the forests, because they were just getting in the way, of the mines, the hotels, the cows.

And the Great Barrier Reef, well we just blew it up because all that coral and all those dugongs were getting in the way of the coal ships.

Tony Abbott's world is like a horror movie version of the 1950s.

Is that the world you want? It aint the world the Greens want.

But in just six months of Tony Abbott's government, all those social institutions, precious ecosystems and values that you and I hold dear are under attack.

Tony Abbott wants to rip up this nation's first climate laws - right when the science says it's now or never to act to keep a safe climate.

He wants to repeal the mining tax, because it's not enough that the big miners got to write their own tax rules, they should be able to write themselves a total exemption from tax! 

He's trashing the Great Barrier Reef, approving the world's largest coal port at Abbot Point. Aptly named. 

He wants to make it more expensive for people to go to the doctor. 

Because apparently it's fun to go to the doctor and people just do it even when they're not sick! It's probably those people on welfare, they just hang out in gangs at the doctor.

So a welfare review. Because evidently poor people are just pretending to be poor. They’re dangerous. They probably ride motorbikes.

So let’s get em off the couch and into the bush to become a Green Army – but pay them below the minimum wage and exempt them from workplace health and safety laws.

The list goes on.

A climate sceptic in charge of the Renewable Energy Target Review 

A commission of audit to look at slashing government spending – headed by the actual former head of the big end of town, the Business Council of Australia.

But don’t wait for the Commission of Cuts to cut the Environmental Defenders Office funding entirely. 

They’re helping people challenge the government’s decisions, and trying to protect the environment for the common good, so they must be really bad people.

Those unions that represent workers must be bad people too – so let’s set up a witch hunt – er, a royal commission - to look into just how effectively they are representing workers rights, rights like being paid fairly and working safe hours.

Ditch the Gonski principle of funding schools according to need, and put Christopher Pyne in charge of what teachers teach.

Oh, and women in Parliament? They’re a “side issue” according to the Finance Minister Matthias Cormann.

So Abbott is planning to abolish the workplace gender equity reporting, so he can keep hidden the 17.5% gender pay gap and glass ceiling that women still face this century.

And on women, and children, if they’re fleeing persecution – don’t help them. Lock them up. Separate them. 

And outsource our moral and legal responsibility to shelter asylum seekers to our poorest neighbour, and then, leave these human beings in limbo, and actually just let them be killed, in detention centres that we fund.

This has gone too far. 

This Government does not speak for me. It does not speak for you. It is the worst kind of mean, prejudiced and secretive. 

That’s why today is so important.

Today, across the nation, you are sending a message to Tony Abbott, to Campbell Newman, that we won’t stand for our values being silenced, our institutions being slashed, our environment and our civil liberties being attacked. 

You don’t give up, and neither to the Greens.

I'm flying out to Canberra this afternoon for another fortnight of Parliament, listening to the bigots and the misogynists in the Senate Chamber, and playing find-the-woman on the Government side.

But we will take it up to Tony Abbott and his amorphous blob of white, privileged men

We’ll send your message to them.

That Australians are a kind and generous people.

That we want equity, fairness and forward thinking from our political representatives.

That we want a world:

• where we let women, children and men fleeing violence become a contributing part of our society,

• where we protect our Great Barrier Reef and our ancient forests and unique species,

• where we spend more on public transport that new roads,

• where we pay women and men the same amount for doing the same job and where we value the work done disproportionately by women as equally important to a healthy society,

• A world where our education system gives free, good quality education to all - not depending on your bank balance,

• where mining companies pay the amount of tax they should to compensate for profiting from resources that belong to all of us 

• And where your right to healthcare is universal, and not determined by your bank account.

Together we can deliver that world.

Keep talking about what’s important to you. Around kitchen tables, at work, at uni, and in the streets.

Sign up at the Greens stall for how to help us fight this backwards and depraved government.

Let’s consign Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman to the dustbin of political history.   

“First they came for the bikies, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a bikie.

Then they came for the nurses, and the doctors, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a nurse or a doctor. 

Then they came for the environmentalists, and I did not speak out-- because I was not an environmentalist

And then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.”

 Thank you for speaking for me, and by being here today, speaking for all of us

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