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Charities are on Abbott’s hit list

Tony Abbott ran a campaign specifically targeting government waste and reckless spending. The mainstream media was quick to applaud, especially when from the sparse amount of detail provided, it amounted to cutting 20,000 jobs. However, as these jobs were only those of government employees, it was high-fives all ’round. Apart from this populist piece where making people unemployed had somehow become a virtue, the rest of the cutting was something unspecified. However, the rhetoric endlessly repeated by the mainstream media, parrot-fashion, was that it was “waste”. “Waste,” the Liberals roared; and they were the ones who had been ordained with the task of cutting it.

The Liberals clearly knew, or rather lead the public to believe that they knew, where “waste and reckless spending” was, or perhaps might be. It was just a matter of being elected, and then they would deal with it.

Tony Abbott did promise, and specifically that there would be “no cuts” to education, health or pensions. It must therefore be concluded that as of the 5th September, that Abbott’s Opposition had found no “waste and reckless spending” in these areas:

The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has reiterated that if elected he wants to secure the jobs of today and build the jobs of tomorrow. He’s told AM there will be no cuts to education, health or pensions, and that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s talk of a $70 billion black hole will be proved wrong. The Coalition is preparing to outline how it intends to balance the budget should it win on Saturday.

The irony of it all: snouts in the trough, and the much publicised waste and misuse of public funds by Abbott and his claiming of traveling expenses, for hobby and recreational purposes.

It was therefore with added dismay that I read the following in Sunday’s Sydney Morning Herald. The headline read as an overly benign: Hit and run on crime prevention likely.

The Abbott government has backed away from distributing millions of dollars in grants promised to dozens of charities, community groups and local councils under Labor’s National Crime Prevention program. And at what cost? It surely cannot be ‘waste’ when you consider:

  • The biggest loser is the Police Citizens Youth Club, which has been warned the $7 million it was promised is ”on hold and unlikely to be delivered”.
  • Father Chris Riley of Youth Off The Streets hit out at the Coalition’s decision, pointing out that national crime prevention grants were funded through the proceeds of crime rather than general revenue and were not election promises. Father Chris Riley’s NSW-based Youth Off The Streets charity has received the first instalment of the $5 million he was promised because he expedited the signing of contracts before the change of government.
  • Wangaratta and Wodonga’s Junction Support Services, which applied for $305,559 for its youth re-engagement program, has been told by local state MP Bill Tilley that it may not get the money.
  • One group that was warned not to spend on the assumption that agreements were valid is the Women in Prison Advocacy Network. The not-for-profit organisation has been warned that expected grants “may not be delivered”.
  • The National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy had secured a total of $600,000 for programs for indigenous youth in Sydney and Dubbo but was warned the money was under review.

Mission Australia, which had been promised nearly $500,000, said it ”remains optimistic”. As above, the biggest loser is the PCYC, therefore hardly an organisation would could be labelled either as either “bleeding hearts” or “femi-Nazis”.

So this is “the waste” which Tony Abbot has in mind: Charities. Note also how the goals and aims of these charities concern young people, women and Aboriginal youth, and are all aimed towards social inclusion and ultimately at crime prevention. What could be the reasoning? Why take money away from crime prevention? Why specifically target organisations which assist women and Aboriginal youth?

The Women in Prison Advocacy Network (WIPAN) as an example, has the aims of addressing:

the many issues facing criminalised women and female youth both systemically, by advocating to improve the criminal justice systems and individually, by mentoring. WIPAN know from experience that by providing women and female youth with gender-responsive social support, recidivism rates will be reduced and the burgeoning prison population will be minimised.

Target groups being:

  • Aboriginal women and young women.
  • Torres Strait Islander women and young women.
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse women and young women.
  • Women and young women with Disabilities.
  • Mothers and Expectant Mothers.
  • Victims of Family Domestic and/or Sexual Violence.
  • Lesbian and Transgender women and young women.

Yet on March 3, 2013, Tony Abbott promised to do exactly the opposite; he was making promises to assist with crime prevention.

Abbott’s promise:

AN ABBOTT government would reinstate a Howard government program that funded CCTV cameras in crime hotspots around the country.

Announcing the $50 million policy at Leumeah train station on Saturday, the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, said the program would give local governments the tools they need to tackle street crime.

”We will restore the $50 million-plus that’s been cut … that was going to crime prevention programs. That money will be available for councils to apply so they can get better lighting and things like CCTV,” he said.

By August 20, Abbott was still making promises that crime prevention was to be tackled, this time with $300,000 pledged to Liverpool Council for CCTV cameras. But that was before the election. The reality now is:

Local councils, which have been pledged millions of dollars – mainly in crime hotspots in Sydney and Melbourne – are concerned that money allocated for CCTV cameras will not materialise. In Victoria, council-run public safety projects are at risk in Ballarat, City of Casey, Greater Dandenong, Frankston, Hume, Mitchell Shire Council and Greater Shepparton.

At first glance it seems that Abbott’s plans are to take money from charities; charities which target crime prevention and instead use that money to purchase CCTV cameras. Father Chris Riley said that, “national crime prevention grants were funded through the proceeds of crime“.

Tony Abbott said:

”We will restore the $50 million-plus that’s been cut … that was going to crime prevention programs. That money will be available for councils to apply so they can get better lighting and things like CCTV…

The program would be funded using money confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act. ”We want to see people understand that crime does not pay.”

Surely this cannot be so. Surely it cannot be that Tony Abbott has taken money from charities and decided to give that same money to councils for “better lighting and things like CCTV”… well, so he said …

While “things like” CCTV cameras are useful in identifying situations after the event, after the crime has been committed, are these more important than programs which are aimed at crime prevention and recidivism? I will stand corrected if this is “different money” and not the same money taken which the government has taken from charities. As stated by Fr. Chris Riley: “national crime prevention grants were funded through the proceeds of crime rather than general revenue …”. If so, this is an appalling situation, and one for which the government should be condemned.

So is this where Tony Abbott is heading, and with much more still to come? From the Financial Review:

The chairman of John Howard and Jeff Kennett’s audit commissions, Bob Officer, has urged the incoming Abbott government to follow Queensland’s example and cut thousands of inefficient jobs from education and health bureaucracies in its first term.

Professor Officer concluded:

“The politicians can then dress is it up how they like, as indeed Howard did with our report,” he said. “They’ll hand-pick through it for the things that justify their prejudices.

Perhaps this is exactly what we are seeing now with the Abbott Government specifically targeted hit list being those charities whose objectives are to assist some of the most vulnerable in our society. Are Abbott’s prejudices showing? Does Tony Abbott believe that his promise to spend one week each year in an Aboriginal community will somehow make up for taking funding away from organisations such as Youth off the Streets when our young Aboriginal people are more at risk than any other demographic? How can you take money away from crime prevention and think that installing a few security cameras is going to solve the problem? Is Abbott not interested in real problems concerning real women, or only interested in his imaginary “women of calibre”?

There has been no suggestion whatsoever that these charities, the PCYC et al are not worthy recipients of government assistance, but rather for some reason Mr. Abbott considers that the money is best spent on “street lighting”.

Well, that will certainly fix everyone’s problem. It will save money being wasted on disadvantaged groups. And perhaps all the street lighting can shine a light on all those roads he wants to build.


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  1. Aaron Press

    I could be going out on a limb here but seeing as there are talks of privatisation of prisons in Qld, This would obviously work well for them. More crime more money. USA all the way.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Let’s not forget that our Minister for Women and Aboriginal Affairs also cut 42 million from Aboriginal legal aid.

  3. curious

    It doesnt make sense this story has one paragraph that states that projects for CCTV are under threat, but then that all the money is going to CCTV instead of local projects? which one is it?
    just wondering is all

  4. Keith Woolsey

    Shades of Cameron’s “Big Society” in the UK in all this.

  5. PeterF

    “Curious”, I think if you look closely, you might see that while Abbott is saying that money will go to Local Authorities for CCTV, the Local Authorities don’t believe him.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    curious the way I read it is that councils are concerned the money for CCTV won’t materialise. In other words they rightly don’t trust Abbott to fully keep to his promise and Abbott will probably be very selective in where he gives funding and where he doesn’t.

    I don’t need to tell anyone those areas/electorates he will pick for largess and those he will starve of funding.

  7. Carol Taylor

    Curious, Abbott’s idea of “crime prevention” seems to consist of installing CCTV and giving money to local councils for better street lighting. While this is all very well and good, should this be to the detriment of funding for charities who work directly with people at risk? That was at first glance – either charities OR CCTV cameras. As Fr. Riley stated this money for charities was coming from the proceeds of crime and not from general revenue..so why the need to “balance the budget” by taking money away from groups who specifically assist the homeless, women and Aboriginal youth? One can but suspect that it’s all to do with Abbott’s philosophy. However, from comments from local councils it seems that CCTVs had also previously been funded via this same now cancelled initiative of the former Labor government’s, the National Crime Prevention agency. Therefore, it is likely that not only is Abbott starving charities of funding, but that he was telling substantial untruths about money for councils for CCTVs.

  8. jagman48

    Were these core promises? No wait that was the other guy. Memory slip.

  9. OzFenric

    Charities don’t fit into the Coalition’s worldview. Conservatives argue consistently that each person’s life and choices are entirely up to them. Neither government, nor charities, nor your neighbours, should give anyone a hand up; it’s spoiling them, allowing them to bludge when they ought to be out there working like decent, god-fearing Christians. Taking money away from charities and groups that will *help* other people and putting it instead into deterrents, which might help the nasty people better themselves, is entirely consistent with their ideology.
    I am coming to believe that this is the filter through which all Coalition rhetoric can be accurately screened. If the proposal involves the government or any other body directly helping people, you can expect it to be empty platitudes; if its effect will be indirect or environmental, it might actually be real. Thus, Direct Action on climate may actually be progressed – it doesn’t directly address the issue but requires profit-making enterprises to do the work. The paid parental leave scheme – not so much. It goes directly against the grain of what the Coalition believes and I will personally be very surprised if it ever sees the light of day.

  10. Carol Taylor

    Jagman, it would seem that the cultural divide is about to widen under Abbott – $75,000 for his “women of calibre” whereas the homeless, too bad because it’s clearly “their choice”. Abbott’s lack of understanding and compassion for anyone who he perceives as not being of “his calibre”, which basically means anyone with less than several million to throw his way, can be damned.

  11. patsy

    abbot has hit an all time low taking from hospitals…..charities and even not honouring the labor governments school scheme…..SHAME

  12. RichardU

    Building more prisons is much more popular with the shock jocks whose weddings noalition members frequent.

  13. Alison White

    With every passing day I’m getting more and more livid….not so much at Abbott (because it was pretty obvious he is an odious character) but with the un-examined LIES they told during the campaign in order to get the gullible to vote for them.

  14. jagman48

    And did I read correct that the DIS as it was called has been cut to only 2 trial areas? Someone can correct me please if I am wrong.

  15. Sue

    i hear the NDIS is not being rolled out now, lib liars.

  16. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle)

    The new leader of the opposition Bill Shorten will have a field day with TA & his mob. (Still can’t call the man PM). There is just so many things that the LNP think they have a mandate on – well that’s what they keep telling us anyway. Its all bollocks. Anyone who really cares about what he/they are trying to do need to get well and truly behind the ALP & the Greens to make sure that what ‘they’ (the LNP) think is best for this country really is just not what the people of this country really want.

    We didn’t like the involvement of our government regarding the involvement in the Vietnam war did we. What did we do about it? Lot’s of protest movements that’s what. The power of the people works wonders.

  17. Shit's Gotta Stop

    The LNP and their hangers-on will, of course, be very happy to see a continuation of tax-free status for philosophically-aligned churches while funding is ripped away from advocacy and preventative programs like those mentioned in this post, especially those that support ‘minority’ interests (you know, women and the indigenous and the poor…).
    Diversion of those funds to CCTV projects and similar for local governments is merely a continuation of pandering to the squawking control freaks who want monitoring everywhere because “crime is rife”. Putting cameras everywhere helps reinforce the idea of a crime ‘problem’ (“if there’s no crime, why are all these cameras here?”), which in turn helps further push the requirements to broaden the ‘tough on crime’ stance…
    And then your most disenfranchised ‘minorities’ are taken care of – they’re all in jail….
    And that’s where the ‘need’ for private prisons arises. An exploding prison population, government coffers running dry because we’re all criminals, private prisons will save our economy and our society…
    Sad times if we go that way…

  18. nettythe1st

    I fear this is just the start of the erosion of support for groups such as indigenous youth and women. What will go next and how insidious will be the progression of that erosion? There are two many similarities in the direction our society is going and the way German society behaved in the 1930s. The “I’m all right Jack” attitude has become ever more predominant here in Australia. Next we’ll be seeing the reintroduction of the ‘white Australia policy’.

  19. Julia Thornton

    The trouble with governing is that like management, you have to not only manage but be seen to be doing it.

    Thus prevention earns no brownie points (think of the thanks for averting the GFC for instance). However if you create a problem by removing the prevention measures, you can then ride in on your white horse and solve it, with ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ measures. CCTV for apprehension after crimes are committed also proves you had a problem to be solved, which only your magic ‘slap them all in prison’ measures will achieve.

    Advertising works the same way. First create a problem then solve it with your product.

  20. diannaart

    Instead of acting to prevent crime, we can now watch it while it happens.

  21. Anomander

    There are very few people in this world upon which I would wish harm. However, I’d happily make an exception for Abbott the odious piece of slime.

    So, from his dysfunctional point of view, it is better to allow crimes to happen and catch the baddies later than to take steps to actively avoid crime in the first place? Will he be the one to answer to the victims of those crimes?

    At least he stands true to his credo: “Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission”.

    I hope he remembers that when someone smashes his face in.

  22. Kaye Lee

    In the face of increasing evidence that early childhood education is crucial in a child’s intellectual and social development we get this:

    “The federal department of education has told providers that a proposed $300 million fund earmarked for wage rises is now under review with the money effectively frozen.
    Centre operators say that without the government wage subsidy, fees will have to increase to support improvements in standards….

    …… The previous Labor government committed $300 million over two years to the EYQF, which would have meant a $3 per hour pay rise to certificate III-qualified staff, who earn about $19 per hour, and a $6 per hour pay rise to an early childhood teacher. The wage rises were to go to about one-third of the country’s 100,000 childcare workers.”


    The advantages of long term planning in education, crime prevention, climate change, revenue, aged care, infrastructure like public transport and FttP NBN, childcare, health, renewable energy, superannuation….so many things….all are being sacrificed to “create wealth” for a few using finite short term money grabs because “if you lift the tide all boats will rise”. We will sell off anything in pursuit of a surplus. But what we are actually selling is our children’s future, our protection of the most vulnerable, and our integrity and commitment to our global responsibilities. But hey, “Australia is open for business”

  23. Ange T Kenos, ex Tsamandas, Filiates, Epirus now Australia

    Shame on you Abbott. You are no longer welcome in any Church of any faith.

  24. VoterBentleigh

    This is not surprising. It is to be expected from Tony Abbott and the new government. The reason Mr Abbott does the Pollie Pedal ride is that he does not think that people with disabilities, mental illness, etc., should receive services from Government, but that they should just be dependent upon the charity of people like himself, whilst making sure he is not out of pocket for having condescended to give them his magnanimity.
    The possible cuts to the Wangaratta and Wodonga service is probably pay-pack to the electorate for not voting for Sophie Mirabella.

  25. Ricky Pann

    Crime prevention would be no voting Fiberal or rescinding Abbotts and his accomplices entitlements…

  26. Carol Taylor

    VoterBentleigh, worse than that Abbott thinks that charities are just fun runs for his own purposes of self-promotion. Pay back..you could be spot on there. I am also inclined to think that it’s because Abbott truly believes that anyone who needs “charity” should be worthy types..most definitely not women nor Aboriginal people…after all he has his own beautiful daughters as examples of exemplary womanhood and they’re virgins as well. Therefore any woman who finds herself in this position must be either a fallen woman or a marriage wrecker at best. As for Aboriginal people, they should be made to and I quote, pick up rubbish.

  27. Disillusioned

    Sadly, with the bulk of the MSM behind him, Abbott will remain “The Teflon Man” for some time to come…

  28. Stuart John Pearson

    Abbott the Pom is nothing but a ultra right wing looney. John Winston Howard taught him well on being a bias and racist human being.Bring on the double disslution because we are sick to death of you already. Go home Pom to England do not come back.

  29. Dean Tooker

    What else can I add but all those comments are Gold and provide assistance with them undermining this Prick.

  30. JohnB

    To all those who now realise they were mislead by the MSM LNP cheer-leaders, the first retaliatory course of action is simple – stop consuming it.
    Think twice before buying that newspaper – don’t watch commercial channel news programs.
    Many are already in financial difficulties through poor ratings/circulation – do your bit to expedite their demise!!
    There are alternatives – many on the 5th estate; donate your ‘newspaper money’ to more deserving news sites that publish news with integrity.

    News consumption habits are just that – a habit.
    I broke that habit 20+ years ago – and am now more reliably informed than most of my friends and acquaintances.
    Rupert has none on my money – that alone gives me a very satisfying feeling!

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