A UNITED COMMUNITY; Its Effects, Potential and Opportunity

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A sign of discontent from minor party voters at the Martin Place Rally on May 1, 2016. Photo by: Hannah Ramos

On May 1st, over three hundred people gathered at the Martin Place Amphitheatre in protest against the Australian Government’s voting reforms for this year’s upcoming Federal election.

Starting at 2pm, the gathering was slow to rise as participants and passer-by pedestrians stopped to take a moment to listen to the protest voicing the discontent against the Government’s choice to change the voting system. The stands eventually filled with attendees made up of a number of conservative voters, alongside supporters of other minor parties.

In interview, Family First Senator Bob Day emphasised the importance of conservative voters participating on the day, stating that “[the rally] shows that people aren’t going to take lying down this taking away the voters rights,” he says. “These laws are taking away the voter’s right to delegate to their favoured minor party and preferences”, in what reveals to the government that there is social unrest with the decisions that will affect the future Australian voters.

This rally is just one of many that occur within Australia in response to governmental change, and one of a number that will surely grow.

Which brings about the question, what do events like rally’s against governmental reforms signify in the current Australian political climate?

And what power do communities have when they come together?

 

ACTIVISM; what & why

Although activism has varying definitions, the general consensus is that activism is focused on  consistent campaigning for a specific cause. This can be towards either social, political, economic, or environmental issues in effort to make changes or improvements within society through varying forms.

Activism, to most, is often viewed in negative terms. It’s either perceived as violent or aggressive in intent, what’s more is its effectiveness through its presence in the public arena. While in some instances that negative perception bears some truth, it is not always the case.

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Photo by: Hannah Ramos

For some, activism has become their way to express and fight for their right to express their beliefs. A right that many Australians maintain the ability to do without vilification or governmental restriction.

Within a political climate that is constantly changing, activism presents an opportunity to think about the potential that activism can offer the conservative community.

The Australian 2011 Census recorded 61.1% of Australians listing themselves as Christian, with denominations ranging from Roman Catholicism, Anglican and Protestant.

But when only a small fragment of that supposed population comes to rise against the conservative values that Australia is based on, what will government to but change laws and regulations according to the wishes of a more ‘vocal’ people?

 

 

A COMMUNITY IN ACTION

While a large number of Australian’s may step back at the thought of engaging in something so ‘extreme’, it’s important to realise the range of different kinds of pro-activism that conservative Australian’s can involve themselves in.

 

rallies & protests

Looking back upon the rally event on May 1, where conservative voters gathered in support of the protest paints a clear picture of the potential of the entire movement.

Whilst mostly subdued compared to the larger protests broadcasted on TV, the concept of a public declaration of one’s opposition to a governmental change is one of many ways that conservatives can work towards keeping their values and interests within Australian laws.

“All people should stand up,” says Family First Senator Bob Day, as he cited the importance of conservative Australian voters using the opportunity to support the cause. “Politics is just public morality. Public policy is just private morality writ large, a big version of people’s individual morality.”

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Senator Bob Day speaking at the rally against the Australian voting reforms. Photo by: Hannah Ramos

For people who find may find themselves reluctant to be proactive in making their voice heard, Senator Day says this,

“If you don’t engage, and don’t let your views be known… someone else will. And somebody else’s morality will take hold.”

 

the sydney easter parade

Earlier this year, the Sydney Easter Parade took to the streets of Sydney City CBD on the 28th of March in celebration of faith and the name of Jesus. With the tagline of “Unstoppable Faith”, close to 3000-4000 people joined in the event, a celebration that included live music, food stalls, and entertainment for the whole family.

Event Director Ben Irawan spoke positively of the event, emphasising the importance of “unity” in the conservative community and for “Christians [to have] a united voice in the city, no matter what denomination you are, as long as you believe in Jesus”

The Sydney Parade has been in existence in various forms over the past twenty years, but has now become a day of celebration rather than an outright protest. Irawan encountered the event six years ago, seeing its potential despite the small number of participants, and sought to help the organisers generate more ideas in attracting the larger community.

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2016’s Sydney Easter Parade marching through the city. Photo by: Paper Cranes Productions

Whilst the parade is not wholly evangelistic in intent, Irawan speaks of the parade as an opportunity to show that faith and belief in Jesus is still very much present in Australia, stating that the event is an opportunity to “celebrate the name of Jesus in our city and show to the City of Sydney that Christianity is alive and well”.

Events such as the Sydney Easter parade afford the conservative community a platform in which they can proudly engage with a community-wide expression of their beliefs and values in the public arena.

 

the power of social media

Another change in the world of activism is its transition to the online sphere of the internet, in what most would recognise as “social media activism”.

This method of campaign has what physical campaigns don’t; it allows for the sharing of information at immediate speed, allowing readers to be up to date with current events in real-time. This also allows for citizen journalism to truly flourish with just a click of a button.

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Photo by: Public Doman Pictures

What most individuals may not realise is that the mere ‘sharing’ of links to web articles, videos and photos can act as a method of activism in its support for whatever cause or news issue that interests them.

Social media has even allowed for the use of ‘#hashtags’ to be used as a way of users to express their opinions and support of current issues in society in what is now recognised as ‘social media movements’, such as the #IceBucketChallenge that swept the online sphere in 2014.

Just last year, following the shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College began the #YesIAmAChristian movement via Facebook and Twitter that marked the final words of some of the victims that were shot due to their Christian beliefs; a hashtag movement that is still being used today.

 

 

 

While Australia has not encountered such tragedy, one cannot deny the power of the social media to impact a greater public. Activism is no longer a thing for everyday conservatives to be afraid of, rather to opportunity to use social media as a way to communicate and share with ‘friends’ as well as show a community united by their beliefs.

 

THE POWER OF UNITY:

So what does this all mean for Christian and conservative Australians?

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Photo by: derek*b

Activism comes in all kinds of forms and possibilities that are all within the means of Christian and conservative Australians today; whether it be through participation in public events, rally or protests, or even social media.

Just like the voting reforms that may affect conservative values within Australia, in order to keep values within the Australian government the conservative community need to look forward and be more proactive in the opportunities presented to them. And through that, can they make positive changes in our nation.

 

[Hannah Rae Ramos, SID: 312068735. Word count: 1250]

 

Several changes brought by Sydney CBD light rail upgrade

Transportation is always a big concern for the public. Sydney, as a renowned metropolis, the public transportation has a big room to improve. According to the report of ABC news, this project arousing controversy which more or less affecting the CBD commuters and related businesses. In this level, I would dig into the new transport design bringing what changes in the present and future Sydney.

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Based on the proper resources, the light rail project mainly aiming to relieve the increasing CBD transportation pressure, shorten commuting time and enhance the city competitiveness. Approximate $2 billion investment will put into paving the tunnel. Moreover, the CBD and South East Light Rail project is estimated cost about $500 million in total. The official department claims that the new light rail will deliver significantly greater benefits for Sydney. As payback of the massive investment, traffic integration, increased capacity, simpler transfer and possible business chance could be surely expected.

However, the instantly visible inconveniences also become a difficult issue to cope. One of the most noticeable changes is the transport burden has massively boosted in Elizabeth Street due to the Pitt Street closed. Even some favours alternative arrangements for buses instead of a light-rail line through the CBD, concerned the impact on Elizabeth Street from a sharp increase in buses, which could result in long lines of vehicles.

The opposition leader Luke Foley also claimed that the light rail project is either cannot bring a long-term return or solve heart area traffic congestion mostly. Put it simply, and the new light rail will occupy the whole road so that block other go through the main street. Furthermore,  certainly affected businesses cannot get compensation by this construction.

Therefore, I am going to write my news feature story by leading up a personal angle story. For example, I will randomly interview some citizens, retailers, officers, then pick up one most engaging story in the opening paragraph. After that, briefly, introduce the background information (e.g. the initial reason for planning this project, the necessity of this the light rail, etc.)and different opinion from various behalves. Lastly, listing supporting data to illustrate specific questions and adding a few comments.
Considering the news feature title keywords’changes’, I would like to interview three groups. Firstly, I am planning to ask some shop owners who shop located along Pitt Street. The main aim is to research the secondly, collecting some ideas from the random pass by pedestrians, which may bring diversify answers based on different background. Lastly, contacting with the project officer ask them the official estimation of benefits and challenges regarding the upgrade.

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“The project will present some significant challenges so it’s important that we draw on international experience to assess the best ways to procure, construct, operate and maintain light rail.”(Gladys Berejiklian, 2013) http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/sydney-cbd-light-rail-project-director-appointed

As this is a news feature story, the target publication platforms could be Sydney Morning Harold, ABC News, Daily Mail and so on.

 

Post by Wu Yingrui(Rebecca)

SID: 450461534