I have attended more protests, demonstrations and supported more local community events in the last six months than my combined thirty odd years before. My specific love for this most recent event, you can protest against anything you want. It’s like an open fancy dress party. No theme to keep anyone in line. Just paint a slogan on a sign, show up and rub shoulders with friendly strangers who are also keen to vent their frustration.
Well, not quite as simple as that. It’s an annual event held for everybody to express their distaste with the current governing administration. Whoever it happens to be. We could have Dorothy the Dinosaur sitting in the most powerful chair and still have a safe space to complain about her stupid purple legs. Just kidding Dorothy, you f*ckin rock!
Back to the March in March. It’s a beautiful Saturday morning in Surfers Paradise. I arrive with a professional intent which almost immediately crumbles into the sand. Due north of the humble gathering, the female beach volleyball something-or-rather championship is being played. Due south is an outdoor yoga class, obviously open to young attractive females with immaculate bodies only. Hold up, what the f*ck was I meant to be doing?
It’s protest time. I am very interested in what our punters have come to make a stand for. I pay little attention to the political climate and am hoping to learn from the mob. There are signs against the reef destruction, advocacy of gay rights and a general ‘the guy in charge is a jerk’ type atmosphere.
I find an old friend within the mob. He has the activist look spot on. Dark sunnies, camo trousers and a vest. Nothing declares ‘I stand for something’ like a vest. I enquire, what is it that grinds his gears about the current administration? There is a brief pondering for the right words… “I just don’t feel safe with this guy making policy”. Good call. Big words follow like insidious, destructive, imbicile and of course… wanker.
The crowd comes together as a single entity and begins the march down the Surfers causeway. I ditch the familiar face in exchange for some animated strangers. The first man I encounter is eager to share. His name is Richard, he is 62 and he has purpose in his stride. “Mate, I have never protested, never felt strongly enough to do so, until this clown took the highest chair.” We share our fears, doubts and frustrations. Most of all, we are confused. When did democracy become creepy dictator?
The march comes to a halt a few hundred metres down the track. The chanting picks up as a display of unity and of course a photo opportunity. I feel proud to rub shoulders with these community members who are willing to at least DO something to display their desire for progress. Just as I turn my back to leave, the colloquial expression which any Aussie can understand “Tony Abbot is a bloody wanker”. Well, no mixed message in that. Great show Gold Coast, keep up the good work.