Jamie Brown

Anger at marginalisation of poor prompts anti-Abbott protest

A COUPLE of hundred people turned out to voice their displeasure at the current political landscape during yesterday's People in the Park public protest at Ballina.

The Missingham Park venue was full of many who were eager to push their own interpretation of democracy in modern Australia, but the majority were united against the Abbott Government's marginalisation of those less well off than those in Parliament.

"Politics has shifted much more to the right in recent times," said East Ballina resident Fran Hardy, who took part in the protest with her partner Dennis Styles.

Concerns included the removal of subsidies for renewable energy schemes, targets for renewable energy, 'outrageous' actions towards youth unemployment, rising education fees and a push away from public Medicare.

"This Government is taking us into a US style of social support," said Fran.

"They have made it tougher for the unemployed, ironically pushed up unemployment and yet allowed more 457 visa workers into the country.

"And the list goes on."

Wardell's Glenn Groznik was too angry to talk, his mouth covered by a piece of masking tape with these words printed on its surface - 'Furious beyond words'.

For Murwillumbah's Ian McLeod, the Federal Government's decision to marginalise people out of work made no economic sense.

"I am disenchanted with the way this Government is blaming the less advantaged in society for their problems," he said.

"A lack of money leaves unemployed people very little choice," he said, hinting that lessening social support would drive some into crime.

"The cost of incarceration is about $100,000 a year, whereas the dole is something like $25,000," he said.

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