[By Chris Peterson] A protest to defend welfare rights and public housing was held in Coburg’s Victoria St mall on August 3. The rally called for a rise in all welfare payments to a liveable income, the restoration of the sole parents pension, an end to welfare quarantining and public housing for all who need it.
Moreland city councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sue Bolton told the rally that ‘The single parent payment is important because it allows women to leave violent relationships and gives parents the right to decide to be at home with their children.’
‘We are losing public housing everyday’, public housing activist Kate Borland explained. ‘The government is giving it away. These are communities and people’s homes. People need hope, it is up to us to start speaking out. We want homes, jobs, education for our children. We want them to know that there’s a future.’
Single parent Kerry Arch pointed out that ‘Considering Kevin Rudd was raised by a single parent, you would think single parents would be a priority in the budget. The suffering caused by the cuts to the pension is too much for many single parents to bear. The government needs to listen to the people rather than big business.’
Margarita Windisch, Socialist Alliance candidate for Wills, also addressed the gathering. ‘A massive amount of taxpayer money is spent on discriminating against asylum seekers and Indigenous people. In addition to being cruel, this takes needed money away from funding a proper welfare system. We have a vision of a society where poverty doesn’t exist and we need to make this a reality.’