Half-Term for Labor… and a 50-50 2pp?

Don’t listen to the polls unless they suit you, and then don’t listen then, but surely Labor finding themselves at a 50-50 two party preferred 18 months into what they hope to the be the first term of many should be a wake-up call for Albanese and co? The fear of many in my circles in they’re seeing it as a signal they need to be more like Dutton, and the rushed legislation to continue criminalising the immigrants that had been ruled to be detained indefinitely illegally doesn’t sit well. Labor needs to remember they’re not necessarily losing votes to the LNP by being shit-lite, but to Greens and Independents from across the political spectrum.

They saw it blatantly with the election of Dai Le in Fowler, Labor took a population for granted, and in more than one seat went against the wishes of the local branch to pick their candidate. And Keneally’s loss was spectacular, And State and Federal parliamentary Labor are thumbing their nose once more at voters they continue to take for granted – Muslim and Arab families, and those who love them, by ignoring their local branches – including the PM’s own Marrickville –  calls for stronger language to be used when calling for Israel to stop their slaughter in Gaza and the rest of the region. The “pause” we have at the moment, Israel not receiving any condemnation for its blatant breaches and ridiculous actions that their army is willingly boasting about on Tik Tok of all places.

But what do I want from Labor? Have I given them enough time? Let’s look at their current 10 points they and their stans keeps talking up and letcha know how they’re working in reality.

1. Energy bill relief

For me in NSW, as a concession card holder, I get a total of $500 over this financial year credited to my account. This has ben $125 each quarter so far, but it has quickly disappeared and been absorbed by the doubling of the power bill by taking on the kids – who while they also have concessions can’t get additional support towards the bill, because it’s once per household. I hear that different places are rolling out more community batteries soon, which is awesome and really helps balance that load, but wouldn’t it be nice if renters were able to get their landlords to install solar and take advantage of that cheap cheap electricity?

2. Cheaper child care

Initial reports of fees going up with the subsidy going up abound, overall child care costs less per hour per child now than it did. But there’s many parts of the country where there are not enough places, workers are still underpaid for what they do to support the little ones and there’s still a requirement to be working or studying a certain amount to access the subsidy, which rules out a lot of precarious workers and kids who would benefit developmentally from attending childcare or preschool.

3. Increased rent assistance

*insert snorting milk out of nose gif here* – I’m getting a whole $13 a week extra in rent assistance now. And my rent is going up $60 a week in the upcoming move, not even taking into account the thousands we have to spend to move between bod, rent in advance, overlapping rent, and utilities, cleaning, petrol and van hire, time off work for Bruce and general stress expenses. “Fortunately” Bruce received his Nan’s inheritance earlier than expected, and instead of using that for car upgrades and tools for work we’re having to drop a lot on this move, and hopefully get some of it back when we get the bond, sell my AU and hopefully sell some of Bruce’s car parts. But it succcckkkkkkkkssss.

4. More Medicare bulk billing

I’ll letcha know Wednesday if I get bulk billed, but nothing on the doctor’s website indicates they’re going back to bulk billing kids and concession card holders despite the increased incentive, so I’m gonna rock up with that $69 to pay and hope they tell me nah, it’s on the government. But we’ll see.

UPDATE 29/11 – I wasn’t bulk billed.

5. Cheaper medicines

Not for concession card holders, ours were indexed with inflation on Jan 1. Happy for those without concessions who’ve seen some of theirs go down though.

6. Boosting income support payments

How’d my frens out there on youth allowance and jobseeker spend their extra $20 a week? Don’t know, it just got absorbed because the costs of essentials continue to grow faster than inflation? Yeah, if you see someone shoplifting, no you didn’t. And, no there was no increase to DSP, my $59 a day partner rate is doing some heavy lifting.

Graphic design of a garbage dumpster on fire with bin juice pooling at the bottom above the text "centrestink"
Centrestink bin fire by Jez Heywood

7. Fee-free TAFE training

In select courses and limited in number, and with Austudy and Youth allowance so far below the poverty line how can you even AFFORD to study even if the course itself is free? How do you pay for transport and internet and food and texts and course supplies?

8. Building more affordable homes

Hoping to see these happen, but wow, there’s a long time before we see any impact there. And how the fuck does one even define affordable when it just needs to rent out $10 a week lower than market rate. Which is unaffordable for essential university trained teachers and such let alone supermarket workers, students and disabled people. It doesn’t stop rents continue to go up, renters being in such a vulnerable position. State, Federal and Councils need to directly buy and build public housing. They only way to fix the housing stock is to build for those at the bottom, get the families out of the caravan parks and tents, allow families to live and stay in a community for their kids to grow up, not fear having to move at the next rent hike.

9, Expanding Paid parental leave

I’m incredible uninformed on this. Probably would have been awesome as a baby producing allied health worker on $100k a year. As the second parent of a newborn, the son in law was entitled to two weeks off mutual obligations when bub was born, and got cut off several times for missing appointments because the baby was up all night. At least parents next is gone, but hey all those parents who got to access single parent payment up to their kids turning 14 now have to do mutual obligations…

10 Creating jobs and getting wages moving again

Oooh is that the 3000 Centrelink jobs to deal with the massive call wait times, months delays in processing payments and the 180 staff leaving the agency each month? Union members are striking in the meantime because despite promises to restore the public service the government can’t agree to a pay seal for Services Australia staff. The government needs to set the standard it expects from the rest of the employers out there, and in this they are failing.

A red background with text 10 ways we are helping Australian with the cost of living 1. Energy bill relief 2. cheaper child care 3. Increase rent assistance 4 more medicare bulk billing 5. Cheaper medicines 6. Boosting income support payments 7. fee-free tafe training 8. Building more affordable homes 8. Expanding Paid parental leave 10 Creating jobs and getting wages moving again

So yeah, I’m tired, stressed, broke and disappointed in the Albanese government’s first 18 months. I’m sad to see Palestinians being killed and the founder of the Friends of Palestine unwilling to put his neck out and condemn the slaughter.

I’ll get through this move, and vow to use the faster internet I’ve been promised by TPG to do what I can to continue to speak truth to power. We get the keys in a week, and hand back the keys for the current place on the 13th.

Send coffee, cleaning products and chocolate. So much chocolate.

Love you guys.

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