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Wednesday, 20 January 2016


I love working with Dee. She is like a matriarch. She has heaps of common sense, fairness, compassion and a warped sense of humour. And she has a twinkle in her eye- she really does.
She has been through a lot in her life and has come through it all a positive happy person.

Introducing DEE

Friends of Public Housing Vic from the Western Suburbs.

'I could tell you heaps of stories.

Years ago - I'd say 1975 -6 – I was living in Launceston in Tassie with my hubby and two kids. We'd been for years on the waiting list for housing. The Housing Commission it was called back then.

One day I went to the Housing Commission office and told them that we were splitting up. They told me that now I was no longer living with my husband, me and the kids would go back to the bottom of the waiting list.
I debated with them about it and got nowhere.

The Commission kept telling me - 'That's the rules' and I had to just get over it basically. I told them 'Just cos I've got a crumby husband I ain't going to the bottom of no list!'

I went to the Tenants Union in Launceston. This guy who worked there as a volunteer was so great. He told me who to go and see and what to do. I went and visited a good Labor politician.

Then I got a letter saying I'd just been given the first newly built public housing unit in Georgetown. This block of flats ended up providing housing for single mums.

I went back to the Tenants Union to say Thank-you to the worker who helped me.
'I just got a place for me and the kids'
'Congratulations' he said, 'I just got the sack for giving you too much information'
'Well' I said 'I guess it's my turn to buy you a drink'

You have no idea what the stigma was like against single mums in those days.
If you put one foot wrong in their opinion, Welfare would jump all over you.

I've always stuck up for myself. I don't start fights – but I will finish them.
My kids say 'If you sewed your mouth up Mum, then everything would be all right'
My daughter's always telling me to Zip It.

I told them 'If you want me to behave like someone else's Mum, well sorry but that's not gonna happen.'

'No Mum it's alright. We'll take you just the way you are'
'Good, well stop judging me for being myself'

I never had a car in those days. I got around with a pram and a shopping trolley.

My daughter has a tattoo on her arm called 'Strength of Life' which features me.
I'm holding a skull and I'm wearing a dragon-coat. I guess you can't say I'm someone placid, cos I'm not.

I'm 61 and I'm still fighting government departments!
Things are still wrong all these years later. Things haven't changed much really from my younger days.

In my mind domestic violence, homelessness and public housing are all connected.
I love working on this campaign and I love being a member of Friends of Public Housing Victoria. It's an eye-opener how the government is trying to get rid of public housing. Very underhanded. They are doing everything under the radar.

I'm sussing things out in my area. Things don't always seem right. The vibes don't add up. I will look into things, either I'm wrong or I'm right, but I need to know.  

I come from a long line of Labor voters. I would like to tell Bill Shorten personally how disgusted I am that Labor is getting rid of public housing. It's an insult to the Australian people. Labor had better get back on board with this issue and do right by the public tenants. They should think about their reputation as a party that cares about people on low incomes.

Even though I'm 61, I decided to go back to school and get a diploma in Community Work. I've been doing this work all my life anyway.

I think they need people with my experience. I know how to talk to people in a crisis. Wherever there are tenants in need of help, I'll try and be there.'



  1. Thanks for sharing your story Dee. I wish we had a friends for public housing here in NSW. There is complete silence from the powers that be regarding public housing here in NSW. You're right - something does not add up, the silence is deafening. I have written to them via their website, yet have not receive any response back - other than an automated response to say they have received the feedback. They have very sinister plans for public housing tenants who stay too long, and they make sure we've got very little chance in being able to fight back, but I'm like you Dee, I won't back down, I do no harm, but I take no shit. The future of public housing? Interesting times ahead indeed.

  2. HI 'JUST ME' - here is an updated response which is relevant to NSW
    ( uses the term 'social housing' to include public housing which we resist in our campaign, but an informative blog from a good Union

    Thanks for your comments on this blog. Please can you keep us up-to-date re anything else that is happening in NSW ? -cheers Fiona

  3. Hi Fiona, yes I will keep you up to date with what's happening here in NSW. Only problem is, dept of housing is keeping very quiet, and will not respond to any of my letters. I am only an approved occupant as I gave up my own one bedroom place to come home to care for my mother - in her 80's, on home oxygen and has little quality of life. I have been back here now for 6 years and am in my late fifties. I fear I will be made homeless in the future, even with a full time job I would not be able to afford private rental here in Sydney. I lost my last job for getting injured at work. And have been treated like a criminal ever since. It's shocking how this liberal government and dept of housing are treating people with such contempt.