Is that the right interpretation Mr Leigh?
— Andrew Leigh (@ALeighMP) December 27, 2023
The famous quote I thought you should be going back to was Bob Hawke’s “By 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty”. But that’s not today’s Labor party is it? The welfare state was already being disbanded in Bob’s days, but Labor of the new millennium have really gone for it, embracing the turns to the right of their opposition, while coming into power on weak words and impressions that they are there for those in need.
“Nobody left behind” was Albanese’s thing. But people are being left behind in greater numbers than ever. The lip service paid, forming an economic inclusion committee and ignoring its key recommendation to bring jobseeker to 90% of the pension. It wasn’t even a big ask really, the pensions are still below the poverty line and you though “yeah nah, let’s throw them $20/week” while costs of living spiraled for everyone. People who are working full time are becoming homeless, sleeping in tents and cars, dodging bushfires and floods. The rental landscape is bleak, and home ownership impossible when former public housing is going for a million plus in Sydney suburbs.
We saw the happy snaps at the Christmas lunches and hamper giveaways for poor people at your favourite charities. The ones that are meant to just fill a gap for the most needy, but are seeing record requests for help. Extending the single parent payment to kids aged up to 14 still doesn’t get those families out of poverty when you still have carers payments and the like below the poverty line. The $88 a day we’ve been asking for for a couple of years now is surely outdated, and rent assistance is a joke when it maxes out at $180 a week in a landscape where you take what you can et when you can get and hope your asthma isn’t exacerbated by the mold.
Healthcare costs are spiraling, and many GPs aren’t bulk-billing kids anymore, even with the increased incentives, so parents are forced to make some really tough decisions when it comes to prioritising healthcare of their kids, you wouldn’t want to be seen as neglectful because basic medical care is unaffordable. You won’t get more help from the system, because it’s already giving you all that’s legislated for, so you’d better make do and deal the the policing and more stress.
Medicines will go up again next week – 40c a script for concession card holders. But that’s fair right? we got indexation in one hand on our pensions, so the government ought to take away with the other hand.
No Aussie child in poverty by 1990? Those kids have had their own kids by now, some are even close to the next generation. But it’s only going backwards, and boosting charities and incentives for ladies who lunch, blokes on charity golf days and well meaning white women to drive their leased cars to negotiate donations isn’t the way to do it.
Raise welfare above the poverty line, build and buy more public housing, enough to house everyone who needs it, the effects will flow up, unlike the stage 3 tax cuts that will not trickle down.
Happy New Year, Andrew Leigh, I’m sorry you don’t see that you should be working to make the charities portfolio redundant rather than building up our country’s reliance on the whims of those with a dollar to spare.