Picket targets Abbott's office



SYDNEY — On May 3, 30 people picketed the Manly office of federal MP Tony Abbott to protest against the Howard government's May 13 war budget.

Socialist Alliance speaker Anne Picot explained that the Howard government has set aside $700 million for the war on Iraq and $20 million for "military upgrades", but no new money for health, education and welfare.

"Ordinary Australian families will face cuts to health, education and welfare funding. Howard wants to end bulk-billing, change all welfare benefits to a 'mutual obligation' model and privatise more of education", Picot told the protesters.

"The Socialist Alliance calls for ending the private medical insurance rebate and using the funds to restore bulk-billing. Education funding to public schools and universities could be boosted overnight if the subsidies to rich private schools were ended. Unemployment and sickness benefits are a right, not charity for the deserving poor."

Other speakers at the protest included Keelah Lumm from the Manly Greens, Brian Davies from Manly Catholics for Social Justice, Supreme Islamic Council chairperson Gabr Elgafi, Books Not Bombs activist Chris Latham and Mohamed Dahlan from the Australian Aceh Association.

From Green Left Weekly, May 14, 2003.

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