Welfare recipients dread #AVeryAlboChristmas

December 16, 2022
Graphic: Jeremy Heywood

The holiday season is meant to be a joyous time, but for the nearly 3 million Australians, who are victims of the poverty industrial complex, it can be nothing but embarrassment, isolation and hunger.

Members of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU) took to social media to share how their holiday season is going.

Twitter user @Killip_Sean told the union their family didn’t expect gifts but that it “didn’t change the fact that [he] feels weird and guilty when presents are exchanged”.

@ewe2 spoke of a mother who asked her children to draw the Christmas tree because she couldn’t afford one.

@souseuello tweeted: “Bills coming out my arsehole. Xmas cancelled. Food too expensive, no gifts. No travel. Relentlessly harassed by ATWORK while on a medical exemption, expires imminently, looking forward to being cut off completely over Xmas…”

@glennHobsonGH said they’re not celebrating as their foreseeable dinners consist of “soup and bread”.

@Jansant replied: “There’s no such thing as a holiday from poverty, except for the one Scott Morrison temporarily provided” — alluding to the former PM’s temporary raise to welfare during the pandemic.

The AUWU is campaigning to raise the rate of welfare to $88 a day and end mutual obligations, including the ineffective and unethical work-for-the-dole system.

A union member recently tabled a petition to raise the rate in federal parliament. Social services minister Amanda Rishworth left the chamber when this was happening.

The AUWU hopes that the federal government will start listening to our struggles, and wishes them a merrier Christmas then we will receive.

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