Tens of thousands of Australians have taken to the streets this month to protest Prime Minister Tony Abbott's 2014 federal budget, which includes large cuts to healthcare, education, social welfare programs, and the arts.
The marches are about more than just the budget, though. They are about the political vision the budget represents and the political leadership of Abbott.
“This is not just a march about the budget,” an organizer in Sydney told the Guardian. “These marches signify major concern with current government policies, dissatisfaction with a stagnant two-party political system, and the disturbing motivations and influence of those with money and power.”
Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch is one such person with influence, money, and power. Murdoch personally supported Abbott's candidacy for prime minister and the Australian newspapers owned by his media conglomerate, News Corp, loudly supported Abbott, as well.
It's no surprise, then, that those same newspapers are less supportive of anti-Abbott protesters. What is surprising are the words splashed across the front page of this morning's Daily Telegraph (a News Corp paper).
What a fine way to engage in political dialogue about the future of Australia. "Ferals" is an interesting piece of Australian slang that can refer to hippies, punks, and environmentalists, but that's also used more generally to label people or things as disgusting or wild. And "are revolting" carries a bit of nasty double meaning as well.
Protesters have been quick to hit back against the characterization.
Here are some of the revolting ferals you'll find at the #MarchinMay protest.
"The ferals are revolting" apparently equals normal folks of all ages and types walking around, carrying signs, being mad about budget priorities and politics, and very, very occasionally getting arrested.