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National Rallies call for welfare change


March Australia is hosting the National Welfare March at a number of locations around the nation this weekend.

“The time is now”, said Loz Lawrey, a March Australia volunteer. “Attitudes to welfare and welfare recipients have to change. We’ve been talking to Centrelink clients and they tell us it’s high time for this campaign. Australians expect fairness and equality, not a regime of fear-mongering and austerity”.

Mr. Lawrey said that many sectors of our society are either being publicly demonised by the Abbott government and the mainstream media, disadvantaged by funding cuts or simply ignored and left behind: the unemployed, sole parents, students, indigenous Australians, pensioners, students, sole parents, the disabled, domestic violence victims, war veterans, refugee asylum seekers, muslims and others. “People are sick of being vilified and abused by this government”, he said.

“Let’s face it, this isn’t just about people on welfare, we’re talking about the poor, the more than 2.5 million people in this country living below the poverty line”, he said. “And all those who live on that line or just above it. Do we really want a divided, more selfish society with ever-increasing inequality? Is this really the Australia we want to live in? Because that’s exactly what this government is creating. People want to know why Tony Abbott is pursuing policies that hurt so many in our community. The government keeps telling us that giving fair assistance to Australians who need support is unaffordable and unsustainable. We’re calling them out on that. There’s no reason a country like ours can’t sustain everyone.”

Mr Lawrey said that the language used by government ministers and many journalists was causing social division and would result in increased inequality. “They call all welfare recipients ‘dole cheats’ and imply that all Muslims are terrorists”, he said. “What happened to the Aussie vision of unity, inclusion and multiculturalism? What happened to the fair go?”

Queensland volunteer Keith Davis points to the punitive welfare measures being introduced by the Abbott government as a form of blame-shifting. “Over the past fifteen years or so both the LNP and the ALP have set up a system that not only keeps people below the poverty line, it also punishes people for their disadvantage”, he said. “The government should take responsibility for the job shortage and do something about it rather than engaging in constant cost-cutting and victim-blaming”.

“A growing number of people are chasing a diminishing number of jobs. Welfare recipients are not having a whale-of-a-time at taxpayer expense. Applying for social security is guaranteed to force you into poverty. We are not a third world country, yet over 2 million Australians are subject to a regime of government-enforced poverty. Most of us are on welfare because there are simply not enough jobs out there. Poverty is a curse. If you need to apply for a Welfare Benefit then you will be forced into Poverty.”

Mr. Davis added that raising rates of welfare assistance would benefit all Australians. “We’ve just seen Greece reject austerity”, he said. “The Greek people tried it and they know it doesn’t work. By cutting funding and punishing our most vulnerable, the government is choking the amount of money flowing through our economy. They are ignoring the most basic concept of economic and social investment: you have to spend money to foster growth. You have to make an investment in your own people. If money is the blood of our economy, we need a transfusion, for the health of our nation”.

For Information:
Loz Lawrey 0422 213 370
Keith Davis 0456 474 525
Candace Wirth 0420 420 842

The National Welfare March

Rally Locations:
Saturday 11 July:
Gosford (Central Coast), NSW 10.00am
Contact: Jack Lloyd 0437586675
Launceston, Tas 10.00am
Contact: Alison Hosie 0455 289 128

Sunday 12 July:
Adelaide, SA 11.30am
Contact: Sarah Pinkie 0481 343 022
Wodonga, Vic 11.30am
Contact: Alan Lappin 0447 155 000
Brisbane, Qld 11.00am
Contact: Adrian Skerrit 0400 307 892
Evan Verner 0413 512 408
Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast), Qld 11.30am
Contact: Kathryn Wilkes 0422 681 287

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  1. Stoo1970

    “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
    Well this government is making people on welfare survive on the bait, and is whipping them with the fishing rod, while looking down their noses at them and insisting that teaching them how to fish would be pointless because they’re stupid and lazy.

  2. Margot

    I don’t see any good coming out of this.
    Please join the Institute of Public Affairs and Social Services Minister The Hon. Scott Morrison MP for a morning tea at the Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne on Wednesday 22 July. Mr Morrison will discuss the future of Australia’s welfare system

  3. Harquebus

    Adelaide assembly point is Victoria Square. Rally starts at 12:pm.
    I will be there.

  4. MaryG

    Look ! people just have to pull up their boot straps and get a job any job.I live in Lansell Rd Toorak. People have enormous gardens in my neighborhood. Perhaps some could do odd jobs/ gardening etc for lodgings.In fact my next door neighbor Jean has an unused Granny Flat. I’ll speak to her over the weekend; maybe she could open up her little place to the homeless.I have something similar but it’s full of antiques.But I would help if I could. No; I’ll speak to Jean to see what she can do.

  5. Harquebus

    When the credit machine stops, law enforcement will stop. We will just take your stuff.

  6. Hotspringer

    Poverty is a lifestyle choice.

  7. diannaart

    If we can’t blame the poor for their poverty, who can we blame?

  8. Harquebus

    I’m off to the rally. Will report back later.

  9. Harquebus

    I have just returned from Adelaide’s rally where the huge number of 26 people bothered to attend.
    Two speakers spoke on issues including inequality, unfair taxation, work for dole, welfare cards and uncaring and insensitive politicians. Because of low numbers, no march took place and the rally only lasted about half and hour.
    It was good to meet like minded people with the same concerns including that of the climate, even if the numbers were small.

    The organizers are putting up a new facebook page titled “welfare is not a dirty word” and it should be up in the next 24 – 48 hours or so.

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