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Michael Anderson 7-2-10

Michael Anderson - 7 February 2010

 

Welfare changes will cause survival crime and more child removals

Goodooga, northwest NSW, 7 February --

An Aboriginal leader warns that changes to the welfare system will cause a major jump in petty crimes, as people steal to survive, and increase the number of children being removed from their families.

The last survivor of the four activists who set up the Aboriginal embassy in Canberra in 1972, writes that Aboriginal affairs minister, Jenny Macklin's "dictatorship goes on unchallenged inside or outside of parliamentary circles".

He urges the poor to stand up and revolt against welfare quarantining or trouble and revolution will be the only solution.

"We all must speak out and take to the streets to stop Kevin Rudd's dictatorship," Michael Anderson writes in a media release.

"We must also be mindful of how this will impact on the elderly. Life is hard enough on our community elders without them being humiliated by quarantining their money. They are not children, they have made their contribution to this country. There is no justification for what this Labor government is doing."

Mr Anderson also argues that the welfare amendments will kill the few shops still operating in remote areas because they depend on Aboriginal money.

Breaking down the $150 million it costs to administer the quarantining program across the Northern Territory to $15,000 per person of the 10,000 people it covers, he asks: "Why should this money be wasted when it could be spent on subsidising food programmes such as breakfast, lunches and afternoon snacks for the children as they go home from school?"

Citing amendments to the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and Social Security Act 1991, the trained lawyer notes that they also include within them the re-introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act.

"If the amendments to these Acts are not approved by the parliament then the re-introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act will not come into effect. This is a sleazy bit of politics and must be condemned."

Mr Anderson writes that the amendments will cause some very rude shocks to Australia's poor. "They will permit the minister to identify any particular location in Australia and impose welfare quarantining there."

For example, the minister could say that the welfare recipients of Inala, a suburb of Brisbane, or the people of Brewarrina in northwest NSW are to have their welfare quarantined. "There will be nowhere to hide from this minister's sinister plans."

Mr Anderson writes that if the minister targets smaller places like his community of Goodooga, it will devastate people. "There are no shops in our little community of 300. There is no petrol station. People here have to travel 150 kilometres round trip to get their food and petrol supplies, and we certainly don't have a Coles shop anywhere within 5 hours." None of even more remote communities have any form of public transport.

Urging to make welfare quarantining a major election issue, Mr Anderson, who rose from youth poverty and racism in Walgett, says: "The way this country treats its underprivileged is disgusting, a disgrace and immoral."


Mr Anderson's release in full:

Jenny Macklin's dictatorship goes on unchallenged inside or outside of parliamentary circles.

The amendments to the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and Social Security Act 1991 also include within them the re-introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act. If the amendments to these Acts are not approved by the parliament then the re-introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act will not come into effect. This is a sleazy bit of politics and must be condemned.

These amendments will cause some very rude shocks to Australia's poor. Firstly, they will permit the minister to identify any particular location in Australia and impose welfare quarantining there. Let me give you an example.

The minister can say that the welfare recipients of Inala, a suburb of Brisbane, or the people of Brewarrina in northwest NSW are to have their welfare quarantined. There will be nowhere to hide from this minister's sinister plans.

It must be understood that when this minister targets the smaller places, like my community Goodooga, the people will be devastated. There are no shops in our little community of 300. There is no petrol station. People here have to travel 150 kilometres round trip to get their food and petrol supplies, and we certainly don't have a Coles shop anywhere within 5 hours. None of the smaller communities further afield from us, like Weilmoringle and Engonnia, have any form of public transport.

We are also concerned that when these amendments are made they will impact on all of our small businesses that are out this way in the remote areas. Although my community of Goodooga is without any shop, where there are small shops servicing some of these remote communities they will not survive because their income is dependent on the Aboriginal money.

These changes to the welfare will cause a major jump in petty crimes, just as it happened was in England in the 17th and 18th century when people stole to survive.

Is there no politician in the national parliament who has a conscience and is prepared to speak out against this archaic law change? How in the world can the politicians sit there in the parliament and let this minister say and do these things? Are there no possibilities to look at alternatives to this blanket one-shoe-fits-all approach?

It should also be known that based on the $150 million administration costs of the quarantining program across the Northern Territory, covering about 10,000 people, it costs around $15,000 per person to administer. Why should this money be wasted when it could be spent on subsidising food programmes such as breakfast, lunches and afternoon snacks for the children as they go home from school?

The way this country treats its underprivileged is disgusting, a disgrace and immoral. As a person of conscience I know that the people need to know of the effects of these proposed changes. The people need to know what the implications and ramifications will be, especially as it will impact them dramatically as individuals.

Furthermore, I strongly believe that the number of children who will be removed from their families under this regime will escalate to the point where the state will be building and programming the same initiatives that Hitler did when they built the Lebensborn Homes where the state took control of the unwanted children and children who could not be looked after by their families as a consequence of war. We cannot let this happen in this country.

We must also be mindful of how this will impact on the elderly. Life is hard enough on our community elders without them being humiliated by quarantining their money. They are not children, they have made their contribution to this country. There is no justification for what this Labor government is doing.

The poor did not put the world economy into a tailspin in recent years, it was the rich and the professional cons that did it. So why are these people left out there in the public to continue their covert operations with public money? If it was not for the taxpayers' money they would all be broke and applying for welfare themselves.

Welfare quarantining must become a major election issue and we all must speak out and take to the streets to stop Kevin Rudd's dictatorship. The poor must stand up and revolt, because if we don't, trouble and revolution will be the only solution.

Michael Anderson can be contacted at landline 02 68296355, mobile 04272 92 492, fax 02 68296375, [email protected]


Reproduced with the kind permission of WGAR (on behalf of Michael Anderson).