The Socialist Alliance's new Welfare Rights Charter was launched on September 14 to an enthusiastic audience at the Southport Community Centre.
The Socialist Alliance opposes the "mutual obligation" scheme favoured by both major parties, and is calling for a big increase in the welfare budget as a necessary way of supporting people while training and equipping them for useful work.
"The 'work for the dole' scheme typifies the disdain that the Howard government has for welfare recipients", Amelia Taylor, Socialist Alliance Queensland Senate candidate said. "People on this scheme are cleaning out police watch houses, doing filing and typing in school offices, and working as library assistants. All of these could be classified as real jobs, yet people on the dole are doing these for an effective rate of about $3 an hour."
"Behind the facade of John Howard's resources boom, this country is undergoing a war on the poor", said Dr Tim Kirchler, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Moncrieff. "Welfare recipients are subjected to a culture of judgement and blame for their own misfortunes by means of reporting requirements and the breach system. Non-payment periods imposed as punishment for breaching benefit conditions risk forcing them out onto the street."
The Socialist Alliance believes that a comprehensive welfare justice platform also needs to address the effects of poverty, such as homelessness and poor nutrition. Other policies of the Socialist Alliance have been developed to address related issues such as health care, education, civil liberties, the rights of asylum seekers and issues affecting Indigenous Australians.
For details of the policy visit <alliance.org>.