Contributed by Fair Go For Pensioners (Victoria)
Fair Go For Pensioners Victoria (FGFP) is a community organisation, advocating and campaigning for the rights of age pensioners, single parents, people on disability support, carers, the unemployed and public housing tenants. It is also an affiliate of the national organisation bearing the same name.
On Wednesday 23 May, FGFP held a rally at the State Library, in Melbourne’s CBD. It drew attention to the escalating war being waged by the Australian government against the poorest sections of our community.
A broad range of speakers representing the range of group receiving benefits through Centrelink. Together, The revealed a pattern. Life is being made as difficult as possible, and it is likely t oget even worse in the near future, of even worse, unless this is somehow stopped.
Unreasonable and complex compliance requirements that are constantly changing, heavy penalties for even the slightest breach, which don’t even have to be proved, and an income that is well below the poverty line, official disrespect and even public vilification are the content of this pattern
The worst treated are the unemployed. As the obsession with cost cutting extends, no one is immune from the razor. Other groups cannot remain complacent.
We are already seeing attention being paid to the disabled. The accidental release of a document that details the intention to pull NDIS support away from many autistic children, is a taste of what is intended. Disabled and older people are likely to pay more for medical services and medication before too long. These things have been hinted at.
Migrant communities, especially those where English is not the first language, make up a large portion of those depending on Centrelink payments. They also have the most difficulty negotiating the minefield that has been set up with he system, and are at a higher risk of being denied an income and falling into abject poverty
It is even worse for the first Australians, who continue to face serious discrimination.
Speakers noted a connection that this mistreatment goes hand in hand with ever increasing handouts to the richest individuals and the biggest corporations.
A major community campaign to change this is needed. Fair Go For Pensioners, will be working with as many organisations and individuals as possible to build the campaign to put an end to the war on the poor.