Today’s Australia Day Celebration Event turned into a protester led debacle .For me it was an embarrassment, Both to our country and as a civil peace-loving society in 2012 I mean whether you like Gillard, Abbott, the Government or Opposition this was a pathetic situation that our OWN prime minister was in obvious fear at the time as people rumble around like they are at the running of the bulls…NO ARRESTS=A FREE PASS TO BEHAVE LIKE MORONS AGAIN DOWN THE TRACK LIKE SOME FERAL SMALL SHANTY TOWN WHERE THERE IS NO RESPECT
You can be arrested or charged for jay walking but not carrying on like this. I wont even go on about it being our National Day.
THIS will go viral around the World like we are a bunch of red neck classless animals with a mob mentality. BTW Bloody tent Embassy…well that’s another story but is long past its use….
UPDATE 27/01/12 6.35pm
PM STaffer rang tent embassy, great look Julia….Sack the messenger…
UPDATE 6.30pm: A SENIOR media adviser within the Prime Minister’s own staff has been forced to resign after tipping off protesters about Tony Abbott’s remarks over the Canberra tent embassy.
Tony Hodges, who has been on Julia Gillard’s staff since July 2009, admitted making a phone call alerting a person to the Opposition Leader’s comments.
That person then contacted people at the tent embassy, sparking ugly scenes that have gone around the world.
The revelation is a major embarrassment for the PM, who this morning denied any knowledge her staff were involved.
Update 27/01/12 12.45
Just to show another side here is a video from behind showing the mayhem, read my observation at the end and let me know what you think guys…(youtube keep deleting my videos so I’m trying flickr, sorry it;s so slow…)
About 200 protesters trapped Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott in a Canberra restaurant, where they were attending the inaugural national emergency medals ceremony, before police arrived to clear a passage for the pair.
The protesters, from the nearby Aboriginal Tent Embassy, banged on the three glass walls of The Lobby restaurant chanting “shame” and “racist”.
On a day that many Aboriginal people consider “invasion day”, they had taken offence at comments by Mr Abbott that the embassy may have reached its used-by date.
The embassy celebrates its 40-year anniversary tomorrow and thousands of indigenous Australians have travelled to Canberra for a three-day “Corroboree for Sovereignty”.
About 50 police, including the riot squad, were called to The Lobby shortly after 2.30pm.
While trapped inside the restaurant, The Nine Network recorded Ms Gillard expressing her concern for Mr Abbott’s safety.
“Okay, what about Mr Abbott? Where have you got him? We’d better help him through too, hadn’t we?” she told her security guard when he informed her it wasn’t safe to stay much longer.
Meeting up with Ms Gillard, Mr Abbott said he was concerned the glass windows would be smashed and asked when they would leave.
“They’ll let us know. We’ll just pull together,” Ms Gillard reassured him.
The two leaders, protected by police and security officers, escaped out a side door after almost 20 minutes.
Ms Gillard stumbled and lost a navy-blue suede wedge shoe while running to her car.
The protesters later collected the shoe and proclaimed it as a trophy.
This morning, Mr Abbott had said he understood why the tent embassy was set up “all those years ago”.
“I think a lot has changed for the better since then,” he said.
“I think a lot has changed since then, and I think it probably is time to move on from that.”
Aboriginal activists accused Mr Abbott of inciting racial riots and demanded an apology.
One of the founders of the embassy, Michael Anderson, said Mr Abbott’s comments were disrespectful.
“He said the Aboriginal embassy had to go, we heard it on a radio broadcast,” he said.
“We thought no way, so we circled around the building.” ….What a clown M.Anderson is, sounds like the leader of a lynch mob, how would he like that to happen around his family?….
He said the protesters wanted the leaders to clarify their position and whether Mr Abbott was serious about removing the embassy.
“You’ve got 1000 people here peacefully protesting and to make a statement about tearing down the embassy – it’s just madness on the part of Tony Abbott,” Mr Anderson said.
“What he said amounts to inciting racial riots.”
He defended the actions of protesters and said police overreacted to the situation.
Indigenous leader Mick Gooda condemned the protesters’ behaviour.
“While we need to acknowledge that there’s a real anger, frustration and hurt that exists in some indigenous communities around Australia, we must not give in to aggressive and disrespectful actions ourselves,” he said.
Ms Gillard, welcoming international ambassadors for a function at the Lodge tonight, said she was fine.
“The only thing that angers me is that it distracted from such a wonderful event with great people from emergency services,” she said.
“I’m absolutely fine, I am made of pretty tough stuff and the police did a great job.”
She refused to comment on whether Mr Abbott should apologise for offending the activists.
A spokesman for Mr Abbott said he would not retract his comments.
Police have said they will not make any arrests.
One of the medal recipients inside the restaurant, Tracy Griggs from Victoria, said she would not let the incident marr her day. Good on you Tracy
“I still know what I did on the day (during the 2009 Victorian fires) and the role I played,” she said.
The tent embassy was set up when four indigenous activists camped at the site opposite Old Parliament House on January 27, 1972.
The men – Mr Anderson, Billy Craigie, Bertie Williams and Tony Coorey – were angry at the McMahon Liberal Government’s refusal to recognise Aboriginal land rights.
Since then, the embassy has become a focal point for protest over Aboriginal sovereignty.
Here is an en excellent point of view from the website The Punch…
The Aboriginal Tent Embassy has never engendered any public respect. It has never done anything to bring black and white Australia together. It is sadly fitting then that the 40th anniversary of this illegal assortment of galvo humpies was celebrated with an unprecedented outburst of violence which saw our Prime Minister being dragged along the ground and our Opposition Leader behind a riot shield.
The scenes in Canberra represented a new low in the four-decade history of this politically useless eyesore. If it was the intention of its inhabitants to draw attention to the plight of black Australians, they instead invited nothing but scorn.
The irrational nature of their conduct was captured in a single quote from Tent Embassy founder Michael Anderson yesterday: “To hell with the government and the courts.”
That would be the same government which formally apologised to the stolen generations in 2008.
The same courts which in 1992 overturned the racist fiction that upon its European discovery Australia was terra nullius – unoccupied land – and enabled long-overdue native title rights.
And the violence came on a day when, at citizenship ceremonies around the country, our indigenous heritage was being celebrated, the traditional ownership of our land being recognised, before thousands of new Aussies as they took their pledge of allegiance.
Any fair-minded person can understand why indigenous Australians are still unimpressed with January 26, the day of their invasion, being treated as a day of celebration. But you would seriously doubt whether any of them would have been cheering today’s scenes, nor opting for the excuse that the violence was somehow inflamed by Tony Abbott, who (only in response to media questions) made the muted observation he could understand why the Tent Embassy was originally set up, but that it had served its purpose. More Australians would now agree his assertion, and with greater vehemence, after the chaos which unfolded yesterday.
One other issue – having looked at the photographs of today’s chaos, both on Fairfax websites and on ours at News Limited, there could be some interesting discussions within the Australian Protective Service about how they responded to the siege and the subsequent “evacuation” of the PM and Opposition Leader. Julia Gillard’s office has clarified that she was not knocked over or hit by protesters. The photographs appear to show that the police were trying to run past the protesters with the PM being frogmarched out, and that she lost her legs in the process, possibly because (quite understandably) she’s not as quick on her feet as a 20-something elite copper who spends half his life working out and doing sprints.