PROTEST: Yellow Vest protests sweeping across Europe have inspired Whitsunday residents to invoke change.
PROTEST: Yellow Vest protests sweeping across Europe have inspired Whitsunday residents to invoke change. Georgia Simpson

Yellow Vests in the Whitsundays

ABOUT 60 people inspired by the Yellow Vest movement sweeping across Europe came together in the Whitsundays for the first time on Saturday.

Driven through social media, the movement that began in France in November has made its way to Australia, with peaceful protests being held throughout the country on January 19.

The Australian Yellow Vest Alliance website states that the global movement is neither "left or right leaning, but instead a social movement that stands for individual and national freedoms”.

Debate ignited among the group on Saturday, highlighting a clear divide on opinions surrounding topics such as immigration and foreign aid, but a community member said the topics being argued were "bread crumbs” compared to the issue of "giving power back to the people”.

Police presence made itself known, with three patrol cars parked nearby, but they quickly moved on as it became apparent the meeting was not going to mimic the violent protests in Europe.

Whitsunday Yellow Vest organiser Justin Pascoe said the main focus for the group was to educate people, and to "get an honest de jour government back into play”.

"We're fighting for our right for a citizens-initiated referendum, and to reinstate the 1901 constitution with the 1688 bill of rights,” he said.

Particular concern was held for Australia's inclusion in the United Nations, and it was generally held in favour among the group that Australia should not be part of the international organisation.

Although the movement aims to invoke change within the Australian political landscape, Mr Pascoe said that having a Yellow Vest Party would compete with the original intent of the movement, which was giving power back to the people.

"This is a movement for the people by the people, and we want our government system to run the same way, so having the Yellow Vest as a political party would be a conflict of interest,” he said.

Mr Pascoe's mother Robyne Pascoe attended the event in support of her son and was surprised with the number of people who turned up.

"We thought maybe 10 people would show up at most,” she said.

Greg Ashton and Robyne Pascoe don their yellow vests as they marched up Proserpine's Main Street.
Greg Ashton and Robyne Pascoe don their yellow vests as they marched up Proserpine's Main Street. Georgia Simpson

For more information on the movement, visit the Yellow Vest Australia website.


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