It was the biggest cheer all day and on a day when angry cheering was all the rage.
As more than 10,000 protesters gathered outside the State Library on Sunday afternoon to march against last week’s federal budget - which promises to cut $80 billion from health and education spending over the next four years - the Greens federal member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, called for all parties to unite against the Coalition’s “savage” cuts, threatening to tip a deeply unpopular Prime Minister from office.
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Anger over budget cuts
Thousands of people expressed their fury over the federal budget in demonstrations around the country on Sunday. Nine news.
“The Greens will block this budget … [and] if Labor and the Palmer Party join with us in an alliance for a new election, we can have Tony Abbott out of office by Christmas,” Mr Bandt shouted.
The response was near deafening.
“If you want to know where the burden of this brutal budget from Tony Abbott is going to fall, it will be on the young, the sick, the poor and on Australia’s first people.”
Across Australia, protesters gathered in capital cities to voice their anger under “March in May” banners.
The gatherings, however, were not limited to budget discontent - protesters also rallied against Tony Abbott’s stance on human rights, refugees, industrial relations and the environment.
RMIT PhD student Emily, originally from Sweden, said she was embarrassed to talk to her friends about the Australian government.
“This entire budget is completely discriminating against everybody who needs a government,” she said.
“I can’t tell my friends anything at home. I mean, no gay marriage, and now no more public health care - when will it end?”
Protest signs were a mix of funny, artistic, poetic and vulgar.
A pensioner who did not wish to be named carried a big sign saying: “Mr Abbott, as a senior citizen, I demand your return of a self-awarded bonus of $2.6 billion”.
I was particularly offended by Mr Hockey’s suggestion that a $7 visit to the doctor is a beer. Actually, Mr Hockey, it’s cereal, and it’s milk.
Others called for “health, pensions and education, not jets and BMWs”, and denounced a “Budget by the fat cats, for the fat cats”.
Jamie McCarney, who was protesting with two friends, said Abbott’s budget was a “break of contract and trust amongst people who voted for him and those who didn’t”.
“It seems like campaigning on a whole lot of promises and then breaking them is not what democracy is.
“It’s an ideological change they’re pushing for, and they’re doing it by picking on the more unfortunate and disadvantaged in the community,” he told Fairfax Media.
Father and university lecturer Evan Stinson said he was “horrified” by the introduction of medical co-payments.
“I’ve grown up with the US system and I know what co-payments are like and the kind of damage they do, and it’s disgusting, along with Abbott’s general disregard for anyone who doesn’t earn $180,000,” he said.
As a father of two small children, he and his wife will also be affected by the cuts to family tax benefits and changes to childcare.
Mr Stinson’s friend, Alex Mcrea, who marched beside him with her two-year-old son, Casper, said the “worst thing about the budget is the complete disrespect for the Australian life”.
“I can’t think of anybody that I know that isn’t affected by this in a negative way,” Ms Mcrea said.
“I was particularly offended by Mr Hockey’s suggestion that a $7 visit to the doctor is a beer.
“Actually, Mr Hockey, it’s cereal, and it’s milk,” she said.