Sue Bolton

Australia became one of the first countries in the world to introduce a single mothers’ benefit in 1973. This was extended to single fathers in 1977.

The single mothers’ benefit was an important reform, helping many women escape from difficult or violent relationships and reducing poverty among children.

This statement was released by Socialist Alliance on November 16. Click here for details of protest rallies against Israel's war across Australia

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“Civilians were the overwhelming majority of the more than 1400 people Israel killed in it’s 2009 assault on Gaza. Today, Israel is beginning another assault. A quarter of the Palestinians killed so far are children, including babies,” Sue Bolton, newly elected Socialist Alliance member of the Moreland City Council said.

Since being elected to the Moreland council in Melbourne, I have been asked by several people whether I can make a difference since I will have only one vote on council.

My reply is that socialists on local council or in federal or state parliaments can achieve change only if they use the position to build and support local community and broader campaigns for people’s rights.

At the end of the day, an elected socialist won’t achieve much if they just rely on negotiations with other councillors or politicians.

In 1988, then Labor Prime Minster Bob Hawke famously promised: “By the year 1990, there will be no Australian child living in poverty.”

Yet the recently released 2012 Poverty In Australia report by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) reveals that 2,265,000 people, including 575,000 children, are still living below the poverty line in Australia.

Once it became public that Brunswick woman Jill Meagher was missing, several women began posting on Facebook about scary experiences they’d had in Brunswick.

One of these women was writer and social commentator Catherine Deveny, who mentioned an incident that took place in Brunswick several months ago when a man tried to pull her off her bike.

The Grocon dispute with the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) at the Myer Emporium site in Melbourne’s CBD ended on September 6 so that talks could resume in the coming week.

Grocon owner Daniel Grollo approached the CFMEU about lifting the protests outside Myer and five other Grocon sites so there could be a return to talks under the conditions of a settlement reached with Fair Work Australia.

Since police first attacked the protest on August 28, there have been daily mobilisations of 600 to 3000 building workers at the site each morning.

As thousands of construction workers took over the streets of Melbourne for the fourth day in a row on August 31 they were confronted by at least 500 police. The workers were protesting for fundamental union rights outside the Grocon Myer Emporium site in Melbourne’s CBD.

Three days earlier, Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) shop stewards and organisers were violently confronted by police on horseback. The police tried to clear the way for the scabs to enter the site and used batons and capsicum spray against the unionists.

About 200 past and present students, teachers, local residents and local traders rallied to save Swinburne University of Technology’s Prahran TAFE campus on August 5. The event was organised by the National Tertiary Education Union and former staff and students.

Former Swinburne executive director of educational development Judy Bissland has worked at the campus for 30 years.

“I am still involved with campus through working with disengaged youth,” she told the crowd. “Funding cuts to TAFE and the vocational sector [are] disastrous. We need to take action to stop cuts or modify cuts.”

Student activists at La Trobe University have begun a campaign against a proposal to slash funding to the Humanities and Social Sciences faculty.

About 150 students and staff protested at the university’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne’s northern suburbs on July 31. Students marched to the administration building where security guards wrestled with a protester and locked the students out.

Undeterred, students marched to the office of Humanities and Social Science dean Tim Murray where they were also locked out but occupied the corridor outside the office.

On July 25, Tamil refugee Dayan Anthony (formerly known as "Mr X" in Australia in an attempt to protect his identity from Sri Lankan authorities), was deported from Melbourne. Australian authorities handed him over to the Sri Lankan intelligence forces - who had held Mr Anthony in custody for years, and had tortured him.

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