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Pat O’Shane calls for lifting of JobSeeker and pension payments

Cairns Anti Poverty Network members gathered this morning outside the Cairns DFO pre-polling centre to send a final message before election day. They called for the next government to slash poverty with a single stroke by lifting the rate of JobSeeker and pensions.

Former Magistrate Pat O’Shane stands up for relieving poverty

“Poverty is a policy choice. And it is the choice that successive governments have chosen for many of us in Far North Queensland”, declared Pat O’Shane, Kuku Yalanji trailblazer, former magistrate, and candidate for Leichhardt.

“I grew up dirt poor in a shack shared with my parents and younger siblings. Today Australia is a rich and modern country, yet poverty is rising again.

“For a short window in the early days of the pandemic this Government significantly lifted the incomes of many people on income support through the Coronavirus Supplement introduced on April 27, 2020.

“That was the day when Australian poverty was slashed in half through a single initiative. Lives drastically improved in Far North Queensland”, she said.

Community housing providers, Access Housing and SHAC (Shelter Housing Action Cairns) reported that their tenants were able to clear rent arrears – in many cases for the first time. St Vincent De Paul saw a 78% decline in requests for assistance in Far North Queensland (April 2020 compared with April 2019).

“But it was short-lived. As the supplement was wound back in early 2021, St Vincent De Paul and other welfare agencies saw requests for emergency relief rise sharply.

“We used to talk about people falling through the cracks. Now increasingly there is no floor.” said Renee Lees, rally organiser, spokeswoman for Cairns Anti-Poverty Network and Senate Candidate.

“This election has heard talk of the housing crisis, cost of living and stagnating wages. But the incomes of Australia’s poorest have largely been overlooked, with neither major party prepared to commit to lifting payments above the poverty line. 

“The Cairns Anti Poverty Network asks voters to assess parties by their commitment to a future where no one is left behind. We ask our next government to choose dignity over poverty and raise the rate of JobSeeker and other income support to at least $70 a day. The Greens and Socialist Alliance have committed to that.” explained Lees.

Real blackfellas don’t complain

Letter to the editor, Daily Telegraph

“On 26 January 1788 when the First Fleet ships unloaded their c12…00 convicts, Royal Marine guards and officials not a shot was fired.
As they looked around what’s now Circular Quay they saw nothing other than bush.
Not a single building, planted field, domesticated plant or animal – nothing at all. It was the same across the continent.
It was “terra nullius” – a vacant land.

There was no Aboriginal Army to defeat in battle. There was nothing to claim as the spoils of victory.
There was just wild bush. The few Aborigines who came out to have a look at these strange people were completely illiterate and innumerate
and those on the south side of the harbour spoke a language completely unintelligible to those on the north side of the harbour and they’d been constantly at war with each other for as long as anyone can remember.
There was no “invasion”.

Captain Phillip was instructed by the government in London to treat the natives “with amity and kindness” and he did.
No Aborigines were shot; no platoon of Marines fixed their bayonets or loaded their muskets or took a shot at anyone who emerged from the bush
to see what was going on. Instead they offered them gifts and friendship.

Most people now “identified” as “indigenous” – like myself and my children and grandchildren have European – mostly British – ancestry to a greater or lesser extent.
I recently had a DNA test done that shows I’m 48% Irish, 20% English, 30% Scandinavian, 1% Spanish and 1% Aboriginal.
The absurdity is that, in this time of identity politics, I am an “Aborigine” by virtue of the fact that one of my Irish ancestors married an Aboriginal woman 6 generation ago.

There is no reason to change Australia Day. It was the day “Australia” came into being and had it not been for those British coming ashore on 26 January 1788

I wouldn’t exist and neither would Mr Mundine.
The name “Mundine” is as English as a cold pork pie or fish-n-chips wrapped in newspaper.
It’s time for all indigenous people take a spoonful of cement, harden up and to get over what happened 229 years ago and stop playing the victim.”

Editor: If it were not for the Australian, American and New Zealand soldiers, sailors and airmen defending Australia from the swarming Japanese in 1942, there would be no Aborigines living in Australia today. The black power mob should be holding street rallies to thank ordinary Aussies for keeping them alive today in more ways than one. We owe them nothing!

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