Since Monday 7 March I’ve been doing 2 hour speaking and display gigs three times per week. At City Place, Cairns Central, and some other location in Cairns (last week was the University).
The display banners work well. The central image is the one Jim Dowling showed to the Court during our Pine Gap trial. That page holds out a “Ploughshares solution” to permanent war. The other side promotes our ANZAC Day vigil, with a bit on TS11.
It’s daunting to stand in a semi-sterile public place, and spruik about Afghanistan, Peace, and social justice. At the same time it’s very energising. There’s plenty of agreement in the community about war. Widespread cynicism and powerlessness. Some encouragement. Major avoidance.
In each location, the spruiking and display attracts attention from a couple of hundred people each time. It’s good for me to notice both the patterns and the range of public response. I see the mext 6 weeks as refining my display for deployment in Rockhampton when I move there at the beginning of May.
In my last post I encouraged folk to make submissions to a Parliamentary inquiry, and advocate some Peace Conversion measures – taking money away from arms acquisition, and putting it into disaster planning and relief, using the ADF in that role.
I had thought (briefly) that this inquiry, and some ideas from Rob Oakeshott, might provide an opportunity for some discussion. Thanks to those who moved on the idea.
Sadly the Parliamentary process was over very quickly (less than a week). The Committee held one public hearing in Canberra, the day before submissions closed. The numbers were assembled by the whips and wheeler dealers, and any ideas about peace conversion were quietly killed.
The Greens supported the government’s legislation re the Flood Levy, and this appears to be part of the Greens/government negotiations that led to a Carbon Tax also being introduced into the Parliament this week. As a person excluded from Green Party politics, I’m not entirely sure this was a good move from the Greens, but I’m happy to watch for future developments.
Meanwhile I’m happy to have written a submission that sets out my thinking on the contrast between arms spending and human safety. That submission is published here. I’m including it in my little propaganda stall.