Media Release: Public Action Forum Against Welfare Crackdown

Media Release: AUWU bringing grassroots organisations together to tackle government’s welfare crackdown

What: Community Forum

When: Friday 2 March 2018

Time: Guests will be available for interview between 2pm-7pm. Forum is from 4pm-7pm.

Where: Victorian Trades Hall Council Building (54 Victoria St, Melbourne)

Available for interview:

  • People who need government policy to change–quickly–before they end up homeless
  • Owen Bennett, Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union
  • Father Bob Maguire
  • Nina Springle, Australian Greens
  • Lara Watson, First Nations Workers’ Alliance
  • Steve Jolly, Yarra City Council 

                  RSVP: Jeremy Poxon (Ph: 0404 089 575)

You’re invited to attend a forum of people and organisations frustrated with the federal government’s current approach to those who are trying to survive on inadequate welfare support. Together, we’ll develop community action plans to tackle important issues, like housing, social security, unemployment, and poverty.


The Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union is hosting a public action forum to unite local people, welfare advocates and civil society groups in a discussion for a more dignified social security system.

This comes as the government tries to introduce new legislation (the notorious “Welfare Reform” and “Cashless Debit Card” Bills) into parliament, which the AUWU and many others believe is designed to punish the poor and dismantle Australia’s social security system.

“Despite already now wielding one of the toughest compliance regimes in the OECD, the Coalition wants to enforce even more demands and punishments on welfare recipients,” AUWU President Owen Bennett said.

“Clearly, this government has no interest in easing the burden of poverty and unemployment–instead, through these Bills, it seeks to worsen it.”

Bennett believes it’s now up to advocacy organisations like the AUWU, as well as welfare recipients themselves, to lead the charge and fight back against the government’s punitive policies.

He hopes the AUWU’s public action forum will inspire and educate budding community activists to join the growing grassroots movement for welfare rights.

Steve Jolly (Yarra City Councillor), Lara Watson (First Nations Workers’ Alliance), and Father Bob Maguire are just some of the key speakers Bennett and the AUWU have assembled to address the crowd of activists and concerned welfare recipients.

After these speeches, several action groups will form to discuss strategies to tackle a range of issues facing social security recipients, including homelessness, cashless debit cards, drug testing, and Work for the Dole.

“We’ve assembled some wonderful leaders and advocates, who we’re hoping will work with local activists on new, positive campaigns that will help and empower social security recipients,” Bennett said.