Helen Said

Workers with disabilities are speaking out against the Supported Wage System (SWS), which encourages employers to legally underpay workers with disabilities. The federal government’s Job Access program markets SWS as a progressive innovation by burying it among more egalitarian policies such as funding workplace accessibility improvements. The Job Access website said the SWS was “a process that allows employers to pay less than the award wage by matching a person's productivity with a fair wage”.
In the lead-up to the November 27 Victorian state elections, the Council of Single Mothers Action Group has expressed its concern about the right of religious institutions to legally discriminate against gays, lesbians and single parents. Until amended last year, Victorian Equal Opportunities legislation granted religious bodies many exemptions. This meant they could discriminate against many groups of people in employment and service provision. The amendments did not remove the right to discriminate against gays, lesbians and single parents.
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.
A dozen women filled the public gallery of Whittlesea City Council chamber on July 27 to oppose an ALP council back-down on the appointment of a part-time women’s policy officer. The women were mostly part of the council-sponsored “Women Matter Two” network, which seeks to enhance women’s participation in public life and politics in Melbourne’s working-class, outer-north suburbs. In June, council voted almost unanimously to set aside $50,000 in the council’s annual budget to create this part-time position: 2010 is the Year of Women in Local Government.
The Council of Single Mothers and their Children (CSMC) has taken a stand, in solidarity with Indigenous single mothers in the Northern Territory, against the income management and Basics Card scheme. These policies were part of the NT intervention, rolled out across Aboriginal communities in 2007. Legislation passed in the Senate on June 21 amended the Social Security Act to allow income management to also be applied to non-Aboriginal people, across the NT and then eventually across Australia.
Our children are still being fed racist messages by toy manufacturers and stockists. A recent browse through Northlands K-Mart toy department led me to wonder: If all Baby-Borns are white, where did Wrestler Action Man come from? Despite catering to one of the most multicultural parts of Melbourne, Northlands K-Mart does not have a single non-white baby doll in its massive display.

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