Remember when stations in Victoria were places where you would wait for a train? Not anymore. Despite there being no increase in levels of crime, train stations are fast becoming a playground for the law and order Liberals and their uniformed thugs.
The changes started two years ago when the state government announced it would introduce more than 900 protective service officers (PSOs). PSOs are non-police officers who are given 12 weeks’ training before being provided with a uniform and armed with guns, pepper spray and batons. Today, PSOs can be seen across the railway network routinely harassing public transport users and gathering unnecessary information from innocent people on platforms.
Not satisfied with this, the government has announced a new plan to turn train stations into prisons. To build these prisons, they propose to spend over $78 million – a sum that could be used to provide lighting, heated waiting rooms or perhaps even trains that run on time. Instead, the money will be used to build special “PSO pods” to “hold criminals”, indefinitely, while the PSOs wait for the real police to arrive.
According to the ABS National Prisoner Census, the number of people in prison in Australia has risen by 31 percent in the last 10 years. Whether you call it a cell or a pod, these station prisons are another stop further along the repressive law and order line.
When all the bullshit about this election is cleared away, the contest comes down to a choice between two parties committed to cutting workers’ wages.
Neither the Liberals nor Labor have any solution to the key problem facing working-class families—the battle to make ends meet.
This federal election, the Victorian Socialists are running their most ambitious campaign to date—contesting 11 lower house seats across Melbourne's north and west, as well as running a Senate ticket. Red Flag interviewed four VS candidates about what made them socialists, why they think people should vote for VS, and what have been the highlights from their campaigns so far.