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Vinnies to challenge ALP on commitment to Australia's poor

Members of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Social Justice Committee will today travel to Canberra to ask why it put 'Tampa politics' ahead of social policies before last year's federal election.

Committee members Terry McCarthy and John Wicks will address the party's Round-table on Poverty, in the name of the "three million poor, disadvantaged and disenfranchised Australians".

In a statement released ahead of today's meeting, the Committee said: "Regrettably, despite constant pleading from us, the ALP did not and would not release social policies before the election.

"By that time 'the Tampa Affair' made most other issues irrelevant and no one knew really what the ALP stood for. That is history. The real question is 'Do we know now what you stand for?' The answer is, 'We don't think so.'"

The Committee will remind the ALP about its May 2001 document Two Australias: Addressing Inequality and Poverty which stated that the single most important problem facing Australia was, and remains, the growing gap between rich and poor.

The authors of the document said at the time that "how the country dealt with that problem would define what sort of a nation we are, and what we did about it will determine the economic and social future of this country."

St Vincent de Paul Society

St Vincent de Paul Society | Two Australias (May 01) (Word download) | Two Australias (summary, Word download)

18 Oct 2002