Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been painted as Pinocchio and branded a wrecker and a divider at rallies around Australia protesting against the federal budget.
Demonstrators gathered on Sunday in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to rail against what they called harsh and unjust policy.
The resounding theme of the day was to question the prime minister’s political integrity.
“Liar, liar, budgie smugglers on fire”, “Abbott is a liar, throw him out”, “Phoney Tony” read the protesters’ hand-made signs.
— Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) May 18, 2014
Many signs featured caricatures of the prime minister with huge ears and Pinocchio-style noses or with his famous red budgie smugglers on fire.
In Sydney, where organisers say 10,000 people protested, the Australian Services Union’s NSW and ACT secretary Sally McManus said the prime minister wanted to abolish fairness, equality and checks and balances for big businesses.
“You’re a liar, a wrecker and a divider of our country,” she told the crowd.
Mr Abbott, she quipped, would have “said anything and done anything to get into power” but has since racked up a ream of “broken promises”.
She then lead a chant of thousands screaming “one-term Tony”.
Greens leader Christine Milne, who was among the masses, was struck by the upwelling of anger across the country at the budget.
“He’s relying on the Senate caving in … But we will not support these vicious cuts to young people, welfare recipients and the sick,” she told AAP.
In Adelaide, 5000 vocal protesters marched to the steps of state parliament to protest against the cuts.
In Brisbane, Adrian Skerritt, of the community protest group the Cloudland Collective, told crowds that whenever there were economic problems governments took money from workers and cut welfare for the poor.
“They say things like outsourcing, privatisation, marketisation, all these stupid economist words,” Mr Skerritt yelled to uproarious cheers and applause.
“They say these things are good for us. What a hideous lie.”