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Australia capital hit by 'convoy of no confidence'

22 august 2011, 17:37
Australians furious at the government Monday converged on the capital Canberra in a "convoy of no confidence" protest and called for a fresh national election to be held, AFP reports.

Hundreds of trucks and vans drove around the roads circling the centrally located Parliament House, with horns blaring and bearing banners such as "Bring Back Democracy" and "Fair Go!" as part of the demonstration.

The protesters later converged on the lawns of Parliament House to voice their concerns on a range of issues, particularly the plan to introduce a carbon tax.

Protest organiser Mick Pattel said he wanted Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has a narrow one-seat majority in parliament, to call a fresh election if a vote of no confidence in her government succeeds.

"If the motion is put then there's a fair chance we may see someone cross the floor and vote with them to go back to the polls," he told the ABC.

But he acknowledged the difficulty of this happening, given there is no legislative trigger to dissolve parliament at the moment.

"If that doesn't happen we've made our point to the government," he said.

Gillard leads a fragile coalition government that includes a Greens party MP and three rural independents, which she put together after an August 2010 election ended in a dead heat between her and opposition leader Tony Abbott.

Days before the election, Gillard had promised there would be no carbon tax under a government she led, a position she later reversed when she announced an effective carbon levy would be introduced in 2012.

The government dismissed the protests as a "convoy of no consequence" after the demonstration failed to result in the expected traffic delays while the Greens termed it a "truck flop."

"But it has got the moaners brigade in town and to whinge about everything in general and nothing in particular it seems. That's their right," Greens leader Bob Brown said.

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