Getup's Budget Fightback
The most vulnerable Australians were made to foot the bill, while mining and big business were given a free pass.
We must reward the lifters and discourage the leaners
The Abbott-Hockey budget targeted fundamental pillars of THE AUSTRALIAN way of life.
So the GetUp movement leapt INto action, launching campaigns to protect a 'fair go' for all Australians.
104,000 Australians stood up for our world-class Medicare system, telling the government to abandon its plans to target the sick and vulnerable with a new GP co-payment.
80,000 Australians told the government to halt its cruel cuts and delays to Newstart, to keep young jobseekers from falling into desperate poverty.
55,000 Australians kicked into gear to defend access to affordable education, determined to protect our young people from
ballooning student debt.
joined the budget fightback in a few short months.
SHaring our stories
The fate of the most harmful budget measures fell to a handful of key crossbench senators. When it became clear those senators were willing to listen to everyday Australians, thousands of GetUp members opened their hearts and lives.
In gripping terms, members spelled out how the government's cruel changes to social services, higher education and Medicare would impact their lives and damage their communities. Senators later told of the incredible impact of such direct, personal evidence - quite literally shaping senate debate.
Then when senior government ministers went flying around the country to secure back room budget deals, GetUp members launched an ambitious new tactic. We countered insider lobbying with calls from hundreds of everyday Australians, speaking with every Palmer United Party office, hour after hour, for more than a month.
An amazing 93.6% of GetUp callers found the person they spoke to at least somewhat receptive. And over half got a commitment that their PUP representative would fight to protect what they called about. An extraordinary result!
This brand new scheduled calling tactic was the first step in building a strategic relationship with the Palmer United Party. Already we've seen the Party refusing to make deals with the government on critical budget issues — even citing the calls of ordinary Australians as the reason.
RECLAIMING OUR VISION FOR AUSTRALIA
How do you get away with cutting vital services for millions of Australians while cutting taxes for big business? You turn Australians against each other, so they can't build power to fight back. For Treasurer Joe Hockey, that meant dividing Australians into "lifters" and "leaners" - creating a culture of resentment where Australians think some demonised group is taking from them.
We fought back on social media, where GetUp now has over 300,000 followers with the capacity to reach millions. We used a cheeky Jack and Jill comic to expose the cruelty of Newstart cuts. And we highlighted how 'out of touch' Treasurer Hockey is with the lives of everyday Australians in a Facebook post that reached more than 850,000 Australians.
If Mr Hockey's budget rhetoric is meant to divide us, GetUp's vision for victory lies in unity. It's not enough for patients to stand up for Medicare, students to stand against university fee hikes, or young jobseekers to defend their Newstart access. In order to win, each of us has to see all these fights as our fight - one fight to protect the 'fair go' for all Australians.
We've all done our fair share of lifting, and leaning too. That's why our Facebook post of Perth commuters joining to help someone connected with more than 2.1 million Australians. It was our most viral post ever, with people liking and sharing it who don't normally engage in politics.
That's our vision for Australia - and it's why we'll win too. Because there aren't enough CEOs or conservative think tanks to counter the great good will of the Australian people. Not if we work together. Not if we stay strong and united.
Throughout the budget fightback, one principle has been the key to victory: standing together and united with progressive allies.
The media was paying close attention to health professionals' objections to the Medicare copayment. So in our Health Voices video we lifted up their expert voices as they spelled out the impacts on pensioners, rural communities, Indigenous Australians, people with a mental illness, and women.
And when the Australian Medical Association (AMA) went rogue with their own co-payment proposal, GetUp members joined with our health allies to condemn the move by driving in more than 12,800 emails. The AMA's been quiet since!
On higher education, we worked with the National Union of Students to coordinate a birthday wake-up call for Education Minister Chris Pyne. Our gift to him was a petition signed by more than 55,000 Australians and the chance to walk away from his hugely unpopular changes to higher education. Now we're helping students across the country hold town hall meetings to make clear that the Vice-Chancellors supporting deregulation don't speak for university communities.
Finally, we've been working across the progressive movement to counter the divisive narrative of "lifters" and "leaners" with a unified vision of a 'fair go' for all Australians. That includes taking this fight to the streets...