Centrelink stabbing, Melbourne Airport West: Unemployment activist blames victim for attack
A labor activist has described a Centrelink employee who was allegedly stabbed in the back by an irate client as the person with the ‘power’.
Phoebe Autumn, a disabled trans activist against Centrelink and a supporter of the Australian Un Employment Workers Union (AUWU), has tweeted about the near-fatal stabbing of 55-year-old Joeanne Cassar at a Melbourne employment center.
Elijah Chase, 34, allegedly stabbed Ms Cassar after being told to leave Centrelink’s Melbourne Airport West Westfield branch around 1.30pm on Tuesday.
Ms. Cassar was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries and Mr. Chase was charged with causing serious injury with intent, recklessly causing serious injury, reckless endangering of life, common law assault and use and possession of controlled weapon.
The stabbing has since sparked a security scrutiny of Centrelink offices across the country.
Phoebe Autumn from Perth, who describes herself as an ‘abuse survivor, bi, anarchist’, posted on Twitter after Ms Cassar’s hospitalization: ‘This is the social security system Anthony Albanese prefers. He’s had a whole year to change it.’
Unemployment activist Phoebe Autumn (above) appeared to blame the alleged victim of the Melbourne Centrelink stabbing, tweeting that Joeanne Cassar had ‘all the power… until a gun was added to the equation’
Phoebe Autumn’s tweet blamed Centrelink officer, who was allegedly stabbed multiple times by an irate benefits recipient suspended for violence against staff
Police leave Melbourne’s West Westfield Airport after Centrelink employee Joeanne Cassar was stabbed multiple times in the torso in an attack that narrowly missed her spine and kidneys
“The Centrelink officer had all the power in that situation until a gun came into the equation.”
In contrast, Ms Autumn’s fellow AUWU member Jeremy Poxon tweeted about the stabbing, “A few things about this: 1) it’s horrible. hope the worker is okay.
‘2) Services Aus is not doing its job to keep people safe. The attacker was banned from the site, but was allowed to enter. 3) Given the appalling conditions, incidents like this will continue.’
Ms. Autumn, whose Linkedin profile reads “I am an unemployed queer activist seeking accommodating and fulfilling work that utilizes my unique skillset,” regularly tweets about unemployment and Centrelink.
She wrote a paper from the AUWU about people ‘in the social system … being neglected’, and tweeted about it a day after her Twitter post about Ms. Cassar.
Unemployment and trans activist Phoebe Autumn (left) said in her Tweet that Centrelink operative Joeanne Cassar (right) “had all the power” before the knife she was allegedly stabbed repeatedly with was “brought into the equation”
In contrast, fellow unemployed union member Jeremy Poxon tweeted “it’s terrible.” I hope the worker is okay’
“As a disabled, unemployed trans woman, I am deeply discouraged from going back, especially since I can’t afford help,” Ms. Autumn posted under @desvenlafaxines on Twitter on Wednesday.
On Friday, Radio 2GB questioned Ms Autumn’s post as well as the apparently large profits of the national secretary of the unemployed union, Daniel Levy.
Both Ms. Autumn and Mr. Levy are allies of Jez Heywood, the AUWU president who recently made headlines for his advocacy of “#RaisetheRate” of jobseeker’s benefits.
Daniel Levy, whose Twitter account @DJLevy4821 says he is “recovering from lifelong undiagnosed and untreated ADHD,” is a successful poker player, at least historically according to several card game sites.
The site cardplayer.com records its poker earnings at $120,740 between 2013 and 2016, while poker-in.com records its winnings at $US180,857 in the same time frame.
Daniel Levy, National Secretary of the Australian Unemployed Union (above) was a poker player in the mid-2010s and earned $180,000 in winnings according to poker sites
Levy is currently tweeting about housing, unemployment and poverty.
Ms Cassar, who is still recovering from the wounds she sustained when a knife narrowly missed her spine and kidney, may not return to Centrelink, or may not work at all, her husband Andrew Giusti has said.
The police will claim that her suspect was attacker banned from the branch for previous violent behavior towards staff, and that a senior manager from Centrelink overruled team leader Ms Cassar’s decision to close the front doors.
Her family is seeking compensation for its employees and is considering further legal action against Services Australia, the federal government agency that runs Centrelink, claiming that the alleged incident should never have happened.