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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 2975

To the Honourable the President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia showeth:

That there is grave cause for concern in the Australian community at the continuing sensationalist media and political campaign directed against the humanitarian and socially just effects of the welfare state (most recently exemplified by the frontpage article 'One in 4 get Welfare Hand' in the Melbourne Herald of Monday, 3rd October 1983).

That, whilst enlarging public awareness of the critical social problems facing our community, such articles tend to paint the victims of our social system as worthless parasites living off the work force.

1. We believe that the 635,000 persons receiving unemployment benefits at the end of June 1983 deserve full support from the Commonwealth, and that the 85,104 persons receiving sickness and special benefits deserve society's sympathy rather than castigation.

2. We also believe that the 2,011,542 persons receiving age, invalid, wife and widow pensions, supporting parent benefits and sheltered employment allowances at the end of June 1983 deserve help from the Commonwealth.

3. We affirm that it is the time-honoured and moral right of Australians to receive assistance in times of distress and hardship, and we remind the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia of its profound responsibility to safeguard and enhance the dignity and well-being of its citizens.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.