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A letter to the Minister for Social Services

This is an actual letter to the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, from Kate Sofoulis. Kate would like like to share the letter and her desperate situation with AIMN readers.

The Honorable Mr. Christian Porter
Minister for Social Services

Dear Mr. Porter,
I am writing to you, as a member of your electorate but also as a parent. My son, Alex Christopher Hawes, has been employed by the Swan Friendship Café, in Midland, for well over a year. Prior to Alex’s position at the Swan Friendship Café, he has been mostly unemployed since he let high school in 2009.

The Swan Friendship Café, operated by Ms Maria Sorgiovanni and their Board of Management, has been operational for ten (10) years. The café has provided meaningful employment to young people with disabilities, such as my son, for this time. The café receives no government funding and will close on 20 May unless the Swan Friendship Club receives significant and ongoing funding.

Mr. Porter, you should be ashamed. As Social Services Minister, you have labeled young people on Disability Support Pension as a “burden”. I am aware, as are most Australians with a social conscience, that Centrelink is targeting all young people under 35 years of age on DSP, with the desired outcome of removing as many as possible off their financial support.

Centrelink attempted to remove my daughter, Vanessa Kate Sofoulis, from her benefit. This action by Centrelink resulted in Vanessa suffering a catastrophic mental health collapse. Fortunately, she has private health insurance and she was immediately hospitalised in Perth Clinic. Her psychiatrist is Doctor Lawrence Blumberg. Please feel free to seek further clarification of Vanessa’s condition.

Alex has autism, an intellectual disability, a heart condition (Tricuspid Atresia), low muscle tone and asthma. Alex has been “assisted” by Edge Employment, Interwork and Max Employment. I say “assisted” as Alex was unemployed or underemployed from the time he left school until he started at the Swan Friendship Café. He has found his niche, in spite of the fact he is only paid $80 a week for his two five-hour shifts. If, Mr. Porter, you describe people on Centrelink benefits as a “burden”, then their means of earning a living must be supported. The government can’t have it both ways.

Alex continues to receive his DSP. If he did not, he would be unable to afford his unit in Yokine, which is $220 per week. He is on the Priority Waiting List for Homeswest, but we know that an offer of public housing is at least two years away.

So, Mr. Porter, I await your response with bated breath. If the Swan Friendship Café closes on 20 May, I have promised my son I will run naked down the main street of Beverley. I intend to inform as many media outlets as possible of my plan. As I am an overweight, middle-aged woman, this will not be a good look.

But I have promised my boy.

Yours sincerely,
Kate Sofoulis.

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19 comments

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  1. xiaoecho

    Good luck with that one Kate. These horrors are proud of their inhumanity and brag about it.

  2. Bronte ALLAN

    How can this so-called “politician” be ever called “honorable”? He is of course, just another one of the flat earth, tea party, right wing, lying, inept, obscenely over-paid conservatives! What a complete lot of totally uncaring BASTARDS they all are! I hope this mother does get a “decent” reply–I wouldn’t hold my breath though!–& that this cafe gets the help it so desperately needs. And they are not talking millions, “Christian”–what a f*cking name for such an uncaring bastard!

  3. Clean livin

    Allan, thank you for saving me a lengthy response. You have said all that needs to be said!

    And to think these bastards want to face an election.

  4. Victoria Norton

    I am so terribly sorry we (Australians) have treated your family so poorly. Vick

  5. David

    Kate have shared your experience with my followers on Twitter and if I can find Minister Porters Twitter handle will include him, to enable the inhumane fool is made aware it is in the public arena.
    My best wishes to you and your son for a good outcome. I despise this shameless Govt more by the day for actions you have made us aware of.
    Good luck

  6. Loz

    It is a tragedy that all goods things are being undone by this awful, awful government. I wish you the very best of luck Kate.

  7. Adrianne Haddow

    It is becoming increasing clear that the biggest burden on Australian society is the political ‘class’.

    Before cuts to public services are made, the politicians’ salaries and ‘entitlements’ should be the first in the cutting line. Their profligate use of the taxpayer purse is largely unmonitored. Or monitored with a blind eye.

    They appear to be the only section of society that are unaffected by the ‘budget emergency’. And thanks to our generosity, or stupidity, will remain unaffected for the rest of their lives with extremely generous superannuation and access to travel and staff funded by us.

    Their donors also appear to be gifted a disproportionate amount of that taxpayer’s purse, in the form of subsidies and tax cuts and tax evasion. We pay them to rip us off.

    Our disabled and unemployed are not a burden. The underachievers on the government benches are the real burden.

  8. amarkone

    Keep up the pressure Kate because you have right on your side unlike the mob who are presently governing this country. I am afraid the conservative side of politics consider you flotsam and jetsam and this understanding is supported by an article I wrote and AIMN put up called “Who’s to blame for demise of the Australian economy” with a very telling graph that exposes the huge lie the conservatives purport to be their strength, this is still active in the AIMN RSS Feed. This article clearly shows that this government could not organize a poo fight in a sewerage farm and consequently they are throwing what ever they can off the deck of HMAS Titanic Australis, hence you and your family are but the first overboard. Tony Abbott was Australia’s Donald Trump and also our biggest arsehole but this guy we have now, Malcolm (Waffle Talk) Turnbull is a sneak. The world financial organisations state that apart from being a criminal, which I give MT the benefit of the doubt not to be, there is only 2 reasons to have your investments and money in the Cayman Islands, 1. You are afraid that you may loose your money through litigation and 2. You don’t trust the banking system in your own country. I wonder which reason MT has used.

    The only saving grace Kate can hope for is that this government is turfed out and a banking royal commission is put in place that spills the beans on the financial sector so that the people of Australia are put back in charge of the country and the few who think it is their private piggy bank are exposed. But be warned, any Labor government had better be very sharp and astute because I think the whole world is fed up with promises that follow bad behavior and poor performance. Having said that I think the little fella in the ill fitting suit who straight talks will probably do all right.

  9. Fred Smith (@Fred_Smith8888)

    Christian Porter is one of the biggest c*nts in the Liberal Party and in a party of bastards and dogs that is saying something.

  10. Klaus

    I truly wish your and your family all the best. If you contact me directly, I am happy to donate $20 to the Friendship Cafe. You can do so on klaus.petrat@gmail.com

    This government needs to be stopped.

    This is now shared on my wife’s public Facebook Site

  11. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks Kate,

    for highlighting how vulnerable people on Welfare are abused by government by insecure protections, unfair eligibility procedures and unethical employment conditions based on lack of funding and incentives into worthwhile programs and projects like Swan Friendship Cafe.

    This unethical discrimination inflicts any person on Welfare and includes Newstart recipients. There are hundreds of thousands of worthy Aussies who have much to offer our Australian life and who are languishing in demoralising underpaid and under-resourced Welfare.

    When Christian Porter is booted out of his cushy job on 2 July 2016, I would love him to go on below-the-poverty-line Welfare and watch him realise how horrible it is!

    Meanwhile, I expect Labor to take note that what I expect much, much, much better of the LNP Degenerates, I also expect much, much better of Labor too regarding its stance on supporting any people on Welfare, whatever their circumstances.

  12. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Porter is but another sanctimonious bludger.

    When I was at school, it was a common joke that you would ask a male classmate if they wanted to be a farmer. If they answered in the positive they would be given a quick boot in the groin, with the retort “well there’s a couple of acres to get you started” as you ran off laughing.

    There are a few on the front bench I’d like to start on their farming careers…

  13. Irma Kovac

    How can anyone call this heartless moron honorable?

  14. Gangey1959

    I too have posted to facebook. Let me know how to donate to the cafe. gangey1959@gmail.com
    The morons on the Speaker’s right hand side just don’t get it.
    Apparently bronny’s ‘pension’ is somewhere around $9500 per week (plus). What a bloody joke. (I wonder what costello is on these days?)
    All the best for Alex. People power will achieve what the government wont do, because Australians are good like that, and our government ministers are just as weak as piss.
    Get off your arse and do something positive, minister porter, you miserable sack of shit. Beware the Revolution, and those of us who believe in Rule 303.
    Take care everyone.
    Don’t vote liberal !

  15. Janette Taylor

    I will run with you Kate, also a fat, middle aged woman with a dodgy hip

  16. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I will run with you Kate too. Fat, middle-aged, angry woman just about covers my eligibility at least for this!

  17. paul walter

    Came across this late and it is appalling. It is amazing how in so many policies this Dickensian meanness is dominant.

  18. Serenity Later

    Good thing it’s an election year and conditions are ripe for booting out these morally & intellectually bankrupt troglodytes. It’s the only deserving option as their almost three years in govt have given us astonishing insight into what exactly these twits think of the mug Australian voter, not to mention have demonstrated how inept they actually are at governing.

    Not saying that either side or any of the parties provide a better choice at the moment but there needs to be a process or movement that strongly reminds those seeking office not to take the Australian voting public for granted.

  19. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said, Serenity Later.

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