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Poverty emerging as major election issue

Candidates in the 9 October Federal Election announced yesterday will be invited by the Vote [1] No More Poverty campaign to attend local Public Forums across the nation, especially in marginal seats, to tell voters where they stand on poverty and inequality.

The Vote [1] No More Poverty campaign includes a range of organisations from within the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Churches.

A media release sent on Friday says candidates will be asked "Do you care about the level of poverty and disadvantage in Australia? If so and if elected, what do you intend to do about it?".

The forums, being coordinated by organisers of the Vote [1] No More Poverty campaign, will provide a unique opportunity to voice local concerns about poverty and inequality just prior to an election. How will our local candidates respond?

Meanwhile the NetAct coalition of Catholic social justice, education and welfare agencies, today releases its Pre-Election Kit.

Titled A Fair Deal for All: Your Vote can Make a Difference, the election Kit contains a range of material including hints on how to approach a local candidate or Member of Parliament, and a number of easy-to-read papers covering a wide range of socio-economic issues suitable for copying, distribution and discussion; and suggested alternative policies and action.

It addresses a set of issues that includes: asylum seekers and refugees, democracy and dissent, education, the environment, health care, housing and homelessness, Indigenous Australians, international debt, overseas aid, trade justice, rural Australia, workplace relations, and Australia's role in the United Nations.

The kit is available for download from the website of the Sisters of Charity Advocacy Network.

Meanwhile, in Adelaide the Advertiser reports today that Archdiocesan vicar general and chair of the State Government's Social Inclusion Board, Monsignor David Cappo, has been urging Premier Mike Rann to cut the amount of red tape necessary to access welfare services.

Monsignor Cappo said there are 22 separate agencies delivering services to the homeless in SA, and they needed to be monitored and evaluated. He believes that Public Service agencies are seeking to undermine social services.

The Advertiser reports that Monsignor Cappo now talks with Mr Rann "three or four times a week" following attempts by agencies to "neutralise" his board. The board has been asked to halve homelessness in South Australia during the term of the Government - but Monsignor Cappo has revealed how "enormously difficult" it has been to instigate change.

Poverty emerges as political issue (Society of St Vincent de Paul 27/8/04)
A Fair Deal for All - NetAct Releases Pre-Election Kit 2004 (NetAct 30/8/04)
Red tape ties up help for homeless (The Advertiser 30/8/04)

Sisters of Charity Advocacy Network (to download NetAct Election Kit)
Poverty emerges as political issue (No More Poverty coalition 27/8/04)
U.S. Catholic officials worried by rise in number of poor, uninsured (Catholic News Service 27/8/04)

30 Aug 2004