More than 700,000 Australians are struggling to survive on $40 dollars a day while $200 billion is being set aside over the next 10 years for Australia’s military, largely to support US wars, according to the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).
How much bigger has Australia’s economy become since 1994? The answer, per head of population, seems to be: close to 50%. That’s not in current dollars, but adjusted for inflation. So can “Australia” (read: the big end of town) afford to raise the rate of Newstart payments — currently at a base rate of $273 a week for a single person — for the unemployed?
Here’s a novel idea: Instead of politicians voting themselves another pay rise, how about we give them a pay cut? A real pay cut. We ask them to do what a couple of million Australians are expected to do, week in and week out.
Currently more than 800,000 people are without paid work and are struggling to meet basic needs such as housing and food. There are countless stories of those living on welfare having to choose between paying a bill or eating a meal. Anyone who has been unemployed knows it costs money to seek employment, from printing your resumes to the cost of travel to interviews, appropriate clothing or a haircut. It is nearly impossible to look for paid work if you are homeless and hungry.
The wealthy and corporations got a visit from Santa Claus, but the rest of us got Scrooged again on Budget night.
A windfall in tax income — derived in part from higher than expected royalties and corporate taxes in the mining sector, owing to higher prices for iron ore, coal and oil — provided ideal conditions for the government’s pre-election budget.
There was never a chance that Treasurer Scott Morrison would use this windfall to boost social spending — that just wouldn’t accord with the Malcolm Turnbull government’s “trickle down” economics.
The City of Port Adelaide Enfield, in Adelaide's northern suburbs, made history on August 8 when it became the first local government in Australia to publicly advocate for the Newstart Allowance to be raised.
The motion, calling on Port Adelaide Enfield Council to lobby the federal government to raise Newstart, as well as produce a report into how council can assist local unemployed residents who are struggling, was sponsored by Councillor Michelle Hogan, and seconded by Councillor Peter Jamieson. It was passed by 11 votes to 2.