The livestock transporter at the centre of a planned protest convoy to Canberra in August says he has been astounded by the groundswell of support that has grown around the plan.
What began as a plan to lead a single convoy from Darwin to Canberra in August to try and force an early election has now ballooned into 11 convoys that will converge on the capital from every mainland state and territory.
“It has really got to the point where we know now it is going to be huge,” organiser Mick Pattel said.
The livestock transporter from Richmond in North West Queensland and president of the National Road Freighters Association said he wanted to do something to give business and industry a chance to voice their anger over recent high-impact decisions by the minority Gillard Government.
“We have a government that has been compromised because it has entered into an agreement with a minority group, the minority group has determined who will govern the country, not the people, and we don’t believe that is a democratic outcome at all.”
The driving aim of the convoy is to rally support for a vote of no confidence in the minority Federal Government, and to allow voters to elect a new Government with a mandate to govern in its own right.
The convoys will leave from Atherton/Cairns, Port Hedland, Katherine, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Colac, Warragul and Bendigo, and are timed to arrive in Canberra on the morning of August 22. Full details can be found at the Just Grounds Online community website which is the central planning point of the rally.
Mr Pattel hopes to have one million signatures on a petition calling for a vote of no confidence by the time rally arrives in Canberra.
“Eleven convoys across the country going through every town on those routes, I don’t think those numbers are unachievable,” he said.
Mr Pattel said calls by Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, for an inquiry into the Australian media triggered his decision to act.
“That set the alarm bells ringing for me, because I believe it is an attempt to take away the freedom of speech in this nation and to control the media and we don’t want that to happen,” he said.
“That was the trigger for me, along with the carbon tax, the live export, the Murray Darling, the Wild Rivers, there are a million things.
“This government has launched from one disaster to another, they are a trainwreck in motion.”
Mr Pattel said the convoy was not a political rally, but a coalition of industry expressing its discontent with the current political environment.
Mr Pattel, who had secured Liberal National Party pre-selection to stand as a candidate for the seat of Mount Isa in the next Queensland state election, told Beef Central he has stood down from the nomination until the convoy is over.
“I will reconsider my position on that when this is all over, but at the moment the main issue here is the convoy and the success of the convoy.”
Mr Pattel said the Australian Federal Police has been working with convoy organisers to ensure the volumes of traffic involved could be properly managed.
“The police have been very, very cooperative, and that is encouraging for us, because the last thing we need is confrontation.
“We’re saying it is going to be peaceful, we have a good class of people coming down, mainly business people and people who are concerned about where our country is going, they’re not a radical mob of ratbags that are pushing one agenda.
“All they want is a Government that has got a mandate to Govern in its own right, really you can’t expect much more.”
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