Of all the points raised by the federal government in its latest bid to drug test welfare recipients, no one seems willing to say the obvious: just let the unemployed get wasted if they want.
Bill Shorten surprised no one with his laughingly tiny reforms at the Australian Labor Party National Conference over December 16–18.
If you expected debate, let alone proposals to stop the Adani coalmine or refugee boat turn-backs or the closure of off-shore detention centres, then you would have been disappointed as these things did not happen.
The grassroots campaign to increase welfare payments for the unemployed received a boost on June 12 from the national body that represents councils across Australia.
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) overwhelmingly voted in support of a motion calling on the federal government to increase the Newstart Allowance, the Centrelink payment for unemployed people.
Fremantle City Council agreed on May 23 to support a rise in the federal government’s Newstart Allowance paid to unemployed jobseekers, becoming the first local government in Western Australia to adopt this position.
Acting on a motion proposed by Councillor Sam Wainwright, council took this decision following the presentation of a petition of residents organised by Anti-Poverty Network Perth (APN). The petition called for Newstart to be raised to a level sufficient to allow recipients to live in dignity.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the highest-paid leader in the entire Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to a recent report.
Analysis by market research group IG also showed Turnbull earns up to 10 times the average Australian wage — the second-highest disparity with the majority of ordinary workers among OECD countries.
Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton reported that on February 14 Moreland City Council in Victoria passed her motion calling for an increase in the Newstart allowance. This follows similar decisions by 10 South Australian local councils prompted by campaigners from the Anti-Poverty Network.
The motion called for Newstart to be increased to the Henderson poverty line. Newstart is currently $177 below the poverty line.