Long time between protests
THOUSANDS of people have converged on Parliament House in Canberra to protest about pretty much everything.
Organisers said the turnout resulted from several years without decent protest rallies and a strong pent-up demand to make banners and yell loudly.
Various groups were protesting carbon tax, gun laws, global warming, global cooling, drought, flood, right-wing zealotry, left-wing zealotry, world hunger and the price of biscuits at the office cafeteria.
One protester, carrying a sign that simply said "I'm cheesed off with everything", said he believed the carbon tax would exacerbate the situation in Libya and stop farmers using their guns to kill vermin.
Former political figure Pauline Hamstrung, apparently in the wrong decade, blamed the carbon tax on Asian immigration and foreign aid.
"It will just result in longer dole queues and the rich will get richer and the poor will get fatter and ordinary Australians will end up holding the bag for rich foreigners who exploit penguins and steal our land," she said.
The protest encouraged people who had never protested before to turn up at the rally.
Special beginner classes were held on heckling, placard painting, voice projection, screeching, chanting and effective name calling.
Advanced protesters were given refreshers in how to get arrested and effective deployment of eggs and vegetables.
One elderly couple carrying a flask and a rug said they saw the rally as a way to meet interesting people and yell at them.
"It's still a week until pension day and I think deep down we were hoping there would be lamingtons," they conceded.
The rally caused uproar in Parliament with Minister Greg Combat describing some of the placards as "highly offensive and using completely the wrong font".
The Government attacked Opposition Leader Tony Abshot for turning up at the rally and supporting poorly-designed signs. Mr Abshot defended himself saying he often woke up in the wrong places and he agreed with at least seven of the 69 causes represented at the rally.
Political observers said the rally may represent an ugly turning point in public debate that resulted in greater name calling and more bullied kids crash-tackling their tormentors on YouTube.
Education authorities said the rally highlighted the poor state of numeracy in Australia. Organisers claimed there were 3000 people at the rally, police estimated 1000 and TV news reports said 1500.
A rally is expected to be held next week to encourage greater funding for mathematics.
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