Liberal member for Dunkley, Bruce Billson, has been left fighting for his political life after the recent federal election. The Council of Single Mothers and their Children (CSMC) Action Group targeted his electorate during the election campaign.
CSMC Action Group concentrated its efforts on outer suburban working-class seats in Melbourne with the highest percentage of single mother headed families. The first was Dunkley, based around Frankston, with 19.3% of households headed by single mothers, the 16th highest percentage of single mother households nationally; and the second was Lalor in Melbourne’s outer west, where 18% of households are headed by single mothers, the 31st highest concentration of single mothers in Australia.
The activists set up tables in shopping centres on the weekends to collect signatures, give out pamphlets and talk to voters about single mother issues, namely family law, poverty, homelessness, child support, school expenses and welfare to work legislation.
In Frankston, they collected 320 signed letters, which they delivered to Billson shortly before the election.
Billson suffered a 3.05% swing against him at the poll. This left him with just 51% of the vote on a two party preferred basis to Labor’s Helen Constas’ 49%.
“Perhaps those freezing cold fingers and noses we endured on the streets of Frankston were worth it”, one campaigner told Green Left Weekly.
“The seat is very close and could go still either way. But even if [Billson] does retain it, he will be reminded again of the issues we put to him when he is answering those 320 letters we delivered to him.”