Newstart Choir Could be a Campaign Masterstroke
27 June 2018 at 3:38 pm
A breakthrough could be looming in the campaign to increase the Newstart allowance with the release of a rousing jingle sung by a choir of welfare recipients – think Choir of Hard Knocks.
The direct appeal to a potential Labor government draws from Australia’s political Pantheon, evoking the legend of Gough Whitlam and his wildly successful campaign jingle It’s Time that in 1972 ended 23 years of conservative government.
The choir of 60 Newstart and other welfare recipients, plus supporters, have altered the lyrics and will launch their version of It’s Time in Adelaide on Saturday, part of a campaign by the Anti Poverty Network SA.
Network spokesperson Pas Forgione told Pro Bono News the idea for the song was intended to appeal to Labor and the success of the Choir of Hard Knocks inspired the formation of the choir.
“Similar to Hard Knocks, the choir has authenticity because the singers really do have ‘skin in the game’, trying to make do on very little money,” Forgione said.
“And the song is perfect because it’s a message to Labor to get this done. We don’t need anymore reviews. It’s long overdue and the case is overwhelming.”
Labor has at this stage only committed to reviewing the allowance if it wins government.
Anti Poverty Network SA wants an increase of at least $100 to the $278 per week Newstart allowance, which it said was $160 per week below the poverty line. ACOSS has called for a $75 rise.
The song’s soloist was Adelaide Newstart recipient Eileen Darley.
The lyrics said: “It’s time for changing, not deck-chair rearranging,
“Time for poor folk, not rich folk
“It’s time for us folk, yes it’s time,
“It’s time for Newstart, to give a real start,
“One hundred more a week start, yes it’s time.”