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Welfare cheat witch-hunt concerns Catholic organisation

Catholic Welfare Australia has expressed its "grave concern" with what it sees to be Family and Community Services Minister Senator Vanstone's attempts to ensure media outlets have images of individuals rounded up in a raid near the Snowy Mountains in NSW last week.

Stressing that it does not condone misuse of the welfare system, Catholic Welfare suggested that that the media's presentation of the story will taint the image of welfare recipients in general.

"When we were presented with the 'Children overboard' photos during the Tampa crisis the Australian public were led to believe that all people seeking refuge on our shores were capable of throwing their children overboard," said spokesperson Fr Joe Caddy.

"Whilst not intending to question the legitimacy of the footage and photos being made available in this instance it does beg the question as to whether or not this current representation of welfare recipients as welfare cheats tars all welfare beneficiaries with the same brush."

"The bleak reality is that the number of people in Australia requiring welfare benefits to maintain a basic standard of existence is on the increase, not the decrease," Fr Caddy said. "This sort of publicity does nothing but undermine the human dignity of all welfare recipients."

Catholic Welfare Australia

Catholic Welfare Australia

ACOSS predicts more 'welfare' for the well-off (The Age)

12 May 2003