News

Convoy of no-confidence aims to drive Govt out of office

James Nason, 18/07/2011

A convoy from northern Australia to Canberra in August will call for a vote of no confidence in the minority Gillard Government.A livestock transporter from North West Queensland who suffered a 50pc drop in business when the Federal Government banned live exports to Indonesia says the time has come for a re-election.

But rather than just talking about it, Mick Pattel is planning direct action.

The owner/driver from Richmond, who also serves as president of the National Road Freighters Association, is planning a protest convoy to drive from northern Australia to the lawns of Parliament House in August.

He hopes to generate enough support and media attention via the “vote of no confidence” convoy to convince the Governor General to dissolve the parliament or to convince Julia Gillard to go back to the polls.

Mr Pattel conceded that while it was an ambitious goal, he said industry across regional Australia could no longer bear the burden of a Government beholden to minority green and independent interests.

The live export ban had devastated businesses and livelihoods across northern Australia, he said, and the carbon tax would serve as a further blow that transport, agricultural, mining and regional businesses could not afford.

Both decisions were symptoms of a Government acting to appease minority interests holding the balance of power, he said.

“This will be a coalition of all industries that are suffering under this system of government we have, where the Government doesn’t have a mandate, and we’re being held to ransom by the greens and a few independents,” Mr Pattel said.

“Labor got only 44pc of the primary vote but got across the line with preferences, and at the end of the day, people didn’t get the Government they voted for.

“We’re saying that this Government does not have the mandate to do the things it is doing, and we have reached a point where we have to address the fact the Government is not governing in its own right and that is being held to ransom by these radicals that hold the balance of power.”

The convoy plan was conceived just 48 hours ago and was made public on the Just Grounds Online community website yesterday.

Mr Pattel, a former Richmond shire councillor and state political candidate, emphasised the convoy was not politically motivated and was not designed to favour one party over another. The aim was to end the current political impasse and to elect a new Government with a mandate to rule.

It is not the first time Mr Pattel has sought to rally people power behind a cause. In July 2008 he organised a national truck shut down in protest of strict fatigue laws and increased fees on transporters. The event was initially planned to  run over two weeks but lacked the support of large national trucking companies and ran for just over 24 hours.

Mr Pattel expects the vote of no confidence convoy to start from either Darwin or Mount Isa and to travel to Canberra in mid-August.

“This is a positive action plan rather than the talk fest we have been going through, and a demonstration of people power.

“If we can land down there with 15,000 or 20,000 people, I don’t think the Governor General can ignore us.” 

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