What do you do if you can’t feed the kids? Get your clothes off for men, f*** men you don’t know … you know, usual stuff.

Posted: January 20, 2013 in Political musings, Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is not a "career choice".

This is not a “career choice”.

 

I find it astounding that the social support system in Australia, surely one of the wealthiest countries in the world, can spawn a report like this one from AAP.

The progress of  a society is measured by how it protects those who are weakest amongst its citizens, not by how it builds the wealth of its middle class or by protecting the obscene riches of the already uber-wealthy. This story proves categorically that there is no “trickle down”  effect from the rich to the poor, no matter how right wing economists choose to spin things.

I believe, as a social and moral principle, that people should have the right to work in the sex industry if they wish, suitably safe and protected from violence and disease, and free from fear of prosecution. However my attitude to it is the same as abortion; I want it to be safe, legal, and as rare as possible.

To see single mothers forced into this sort of work simply to make ends meet is an indictment of our Labor Government – it would be an indictment of any government – but to see this happening while we piss away endless millions of a bloated bureaucracy, inefficient “major projects”, and the pursuit of mythical paper “surpluses”, is a disgrace.

To see it under a government headed by a feminist woman? Doubly so. For shame, PM Gillard, for shame.

It’s all very well to spew out rhetoric about misogyny and anti-female attitudes in our Parliament – and I am no fan of Tony Abbott – but Wellthisiswhatithink would be much more impressed if you followed up your little Question Time tirades with real on-the-ground action to prevent this sort of social scandal from blighting our national image, and these family’s lives.

Single mums turn to brothels and stripping
By Lisa Martin, AAP

Some single mothers hit by recent welfare cuts to parenting payments have turned to prostitution and strip clubs in order to keep a roof over their family’s head.

The payment cuts came in at the start of 2013 and affect 84,000 single parents, mostly mothers who received parenting payments.

The majority have been shifted onto the Newstart unemployment allowance when their youngest child turns eight.

More than 60,000 single parents now receive between $60 to $100 a week less under entitlement changes.

While the federal budget will look $728 million better over four years and make the system more sustainable, welfare groups have been concerned families will fall into poverty.

A spokeswoman from a Brisbane brothel told AAP there had been “influx” in applications from single mothers looking for work since the welfare changes came through.

She said there had been about 20 applications.

“They’re looking for extra cash to help cope following the cuts and Christmas and back to school,” said the spokeswoman, who did not want to be identified.

Women working at this brothel could make up to $1000 during an eight hour shift, seeing three to five clients, she said.

A spokeswoman from an inner-city Melbourne brothel said she knew of some single mothers, affected by the cuts, applying for jobs in strip clubs.

“They find pole dancing is a bit more palatable,” she said.

“It’s an easier step compared to going all the way with sex work.”

A woman from a St Kilda brothel said she had also noticed a huge increase in single mothers seeking sex work.

“It’s sad. They’re doing it to pay their rent,” she said, but declined to give her name.

The offices of Families Minister Jenny Macklin, Human Services Minister Kim Carr, and Minister for Women Julie Collins all refused to comment, passing inquiries on to Employment Minister Bill Shorten.

Mr Shorten’s spokesman, however, said the minister was on leave and would not comment.

Single Parents Action Group spokeswoman Katrina Rae said she was not surprised women in her position were turning to sex work and stripping to pay the bills.

“I wouldn’t personally, but you would do anything to feed your family,” she said.

Ms Rae, a Sydney mother of four teenagers, said she had done her family budget on Sunday morning and was $287 behind for the next fortnight.

“I don’t have breakfast or lunch. If there’s not enough food for dinner I’ll have toast so the kids can eat,” she said.

She said as a victim of domestic violence she didn’t choose to be a single parent.

Ms Rae works a full-time job in insurance, commutes 22 hours a week for work, and only manages to stay $25 above the poverty line each week.

Adelaide single mother Samantha Seymour said a woman she knows had spoken to a male staffer at Centrelink about her desperate situation.

“She told him `What am I supposed to do? Turn to prostitution?’ and he replied `You have to do what you have to do,” Ms Seymour told AAP.

St Vincent de Paul chief executive officer John Falzon said the reports were sadly not surprising.

“This is clearly unravelling as a poor policy decision and a cruel and unnecessarily punitive decision,” he said.

“It’s a disgrace.”

Single mothers are planning rallies in all major cities on February 5th when parliament returns.

A spokeswoman for acting Employment Minister Kate Ellis told AAP anyone experiencing financial difficulties should contact Centrelink to discuss their personal circumstances.

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Comments
  1. jvdix says:

    I was struck by the irony of the woman who commented that as a victim of domestic violence she did not choose to be a single parent. So she escaped from being exploited and degraded by one man, and now finds that to survive and feed her kids her only viable option is to submit to being exploited and degraded by many men.

    Like you I fully respect the choice of anyone who chooses to be a sex worker, if it is indeed a choice. I also respect these brave women who are feeding their children working a job they did not choose and hate. What I do not respect is a world that made this necessary.

    Like

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