MARCH AUSTRALIA Media Release
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”.
Loz Lawrey 0422 213 370
Keith Davis 0456 474 525
Candace Wirth 0420 420 842
The National Welfare March
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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