Radical solutions to poverty were put forward at a public conversation titled “Pushed to the Margins” held at the Newcastle City Hall on October 21.
The ABC's Lateline co-presenter Emma Alberici hosted the forum and seemed to be taken aback by economist Professor Bill Mitchell's simple solutions to poverty.
Asked by Alberici, “What causes unemployment?”, Mitchell responded: “Lack of jobs”.
Mitchell went on to advocate a “job guarantee”, where the government funds job creation through a massive programme of productive public works.
Mitchell said we should also “shut down the so-called job provider industry”.
Dr John Falzon, from the St Vincent de Paul Society, spoke against neoliberalism and in support of public education, particularly the TAFE sector.
Falzon's call for everyone to have the “the right to a place to live, for a place to learn and for the right to earn” won enthusiastic applause from the 400-plus crowd.
Other speakers addressed the linkages between high rental costs, the gender pay gap, casualisation, low wages, homelessness and domestic violence.
Kelly Hansen from Nova for Women and Children, a low-cost housing provider for women and children, revealed how older women were emerging as a new group experiencing homelessness in the Hunter.
The meeting was organised by Nova and the St Vincent de Paul Society to mark Poverty Week.