Of all the points raised by the federal government in its latest bid to drug test welfare recipients, no one seems willing to say the obvious: just let the unemployed get wasted if they want.
I live about 10 minutes' drive from Morwell, a town that simply feels like decay. Unemployment is among the highest in Victoria, the stress of losing jobs or homes is fuelling a drug crisis and it seems as if things can only get worse.
It’s hard to walk down empty streets with boarded up shopfronts and not feel worried about Morwell’s future. Following news that Target in Mid Valley, Morwell's largest shopping centre, would close, that future is more uncertain than ever.
The Anti Poverty Network (APN) Perth’s Graham Hansen spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Chris Jenkins about poverty in Western Australia and the key campaign areas APN will focus on this year.
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Can you briefly describe what was happening in WA when APN Perth was formed?
Unemployed activists, with the support of the Geelong Trades Hall Council, have established a branch of the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union (AUWU) in Geelong.
Belmore Park (near Central Station), Sydney
The cashless debit card soon to be given to chosen Newstart recipents which forces spending of 80% of payments to assigned retail outlets such as Coles and Woolies. It restricts their cash to 20%. Aboriginal people on welfare payment in the NT have had the "Basics Card" forced on them for 10 and now a proposed federal government policy could mean it’s extension across the country to many other welfare recipients in spite of its breach of human riights and glaring failures in all trial areas.