Retribution for successful public housing campaign

April 12, 2013

The Victorian government has taken retribution against public housing tenants and their supporters who successfully fought off the privatisation of their open space at two of Melbourne’s public housing towers — Richmond estate and Atherton Gardens estate.

Socialist Party Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly doorknocked and organised meetings of tenants and their supporters in a successful campaign. The doorknocking was critical to inform tenants of the state government’s plans.

The strong campaign by the public tenants took the government by surprise so now they are trying to make it impossible for public tenants to organise themselves against attacks by the government.

The Department of Human Services introduced new rules in March that ban political candidates from holding public meetings or doorknocking at public housing estates.

Both Jolly and Labor Party housing spokesperson and former housing minister Richard Wynne have had meetings cancelled under the ban.

Socialist Alliance Moreland councilor Sue Bolton condemned the new rules. “The governments and corporations are constantly trying to reduce our democratic rights in Australia.

“The government knows that if people get organised, they don’t just roll over and accept government attacks. That’s why the government has introduced this ban — to stop public housing tenants from getting organised.

“This ban means that public housing tenants have fewer rights than other people.

“It further restricts the avenues for smaller and alternative parties to talk to people and explain their views in an attempt to have the corporate media lead public tenants to the alternative candidates who are seen as ‘respectable’ and ‘neoliberal’.”

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