Australia's three million forgotten voters

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'Homeless John' (Image by Newtown graffiti / flickr)

In Australia's poorest places, where mainstream politicians rarely tread, the Far Right is forming an army among the vulnerable, writes Duncan Storrar.

I CRY for Australia's three million poor. 

As somebody that watches politics, the past two weeks as we lurch to an election have been all about race and franking credits, and negative gearing. I really thought we were finally going to have an election where poverty will be an issue. But it has become clear both the Labor Party and the Coalition don't want this.

If poverty is not an issue during this election then nothing will be done for at least another three years. 

As we stand now, both our main parties will keep persecuting the poor, taking away our income when we don't comply with ever-increasing rules and unreasonable demands that don't apply to our politicians.

The Labor Party will not stop the Northern Territory Intervention. Labor will not stop the welfare card.

I live in a place where rickets and scabies are common things — these are things not seen since the 1920s. We have three million people living below the poverty line and another two million bouncing along the poverty line, depending on how many hours work they had last week. Where I live, we have homeless people in most parks. 

This is the biggest threat to our democracy.

Everybody thinks Clive Palmer's texts are silly but where I live they get traction as he is reaching out. His message is a lie but it makes sense to the poor in Whittington, in Geelong and in Corio. We never see most politicians where I live.

But we do have people like the Blair Cottrell crew coming here doing yard maintenance setting up youth groups because they see us as a force to power. Nobody else sees us. This terrifies me. The message they sell is bought here by the masses.

The fact that both the main parties don't want to deal with poverty will be their demise. So I cry for the poor of this country as we get ignored and used as pawns once again.

The politics in my neighbourhood is all about the Far Right. As nobody in power cares, I fear it will be too late by the time the political class notice that the Far Right is forming an army down here. Their message sells because the Coalition Government and the Labor Party has forgotten us.

And as somebody living in this horrible Great Depression-style poverty that political classes choose for us, I don't want to live where being like me is dangerous because the Far Right has a foot-hold in my suburb. 

Duncan Storrar is an anti-poverty advocate and has started an advocacy service for children in care and their families. You can follow Duncan on Twitter @indica2007.

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