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Australia: Students and young people speak out on war, COVID and rising poverty

Socialist Equality Party (SEP) activists addressed students and young people this week in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and Queensland, where the party is fielding candidates for the Federal Senate.

Thaoa Vietnamese psychology student at Western Sydney University spoke to Max Boddy, one of the party’s two Senate candidates for NSW.

Thao with SEP Senate candidate Max Boddy at Western Sydney University

“I currently live with my husband in a house that has shared bedrooms. We only live in one room in the whole house and our rent is $300 a week. It’s very expensive. I work occasionally, so my Salary is not fixed, but since I get a slightly higher salary, I don’t get many calls and barely get 20 hours of work per week.

“My husband works full time, 40 hours a week, and his salary is only $600 a week. The two of us bring in $900 a week. There is $300 for rent and between $250 and $300 for food because the prices have gone up. With fuel, we were spending $100 max per week for the two of us in the car. That doubled and is now $200.

“Sometimes I’d rather stay home than go to work because it’s more expensive to drive there. We don’t eat in restaurants and I skip meals, breakfast and sometimes lunch too. It’s very expensive to eat in college because they’re all private companies, so I just bring cookies to eat, which aren’t nutritious or fulfilling, but just so I can get through the day,” he said. she declared.

“The stress of having to earn money to pay rent, gas and tuition is impacting my studies. I am an Australian permanent resident which means I am not eligible for HECS loans, so I pay about $4,000 per semester. It’s miserable.

“The cost of living is rising because of the war and COVID. COVID has had an impact on workers. Many people have had to stay at home and those who are close or casual contacts have to self-isolate. But since governments have opened up, it’s only gotten worse, which I don’t understand,” she said.

Boddy explained the SEP’s global campaign for coordinated international action to eliminate COVID-19. Thao agreed and added, “It would have a very positive impact. If I understand correctly, the people who are part of the upper class are doing very well and are not suffering the losses that we are suffering. My family was lucky not to suffer any deaths, but we are struggling financially.

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