Tag Archives: centrelink

Can’t eat resilience – Labor’s Budget had no pleasant surprises

Good morning. Happy Budget Boxing Day, how’s the hangover? There’s not enough water in the world to wash away the fact that people on welfare payments got exactly what was promised and what was expected from Labor’s budget – nothing. A few comments about us being lucky to even be getting the upcoming CPI increases to payments, that cheaper childcare will help somehow, that more free tafe places will help people get into work even though all their other qualifications haven’t. More language about rorts in the NDIS and expected blowouts demonising the wrong people.

Image

For sure, if I was corporate Fiona from this photo I found last night, I’d be benefitting from the promised 6 months paid parental leave (because I still thought I’d be having kids back then). Any promises around childcare were welcomed as she watched speech pathologists and occupational therapists unable to return to work with the long waiting lists in Canberra daycare. She’d be happy with the reduction in maximum PBS medicine costs since she was working and didn’t have a health care card, Her partner had property and she was aspirational. But then, reality took hold and we are where we are now.

I remember getting the small tax cuts back in Howard’s final years. $10 here and there.  Working in community services and health, we all lamented that they should keep the money and invest it in health and education, but we dutifully spend it on latte’s at Coolo.

Labor never promised any raises to Centrelink payments, in fact they backtracked from any talk about them from the 2019 election thinking that the voters didn’t like them pormising anything good. They walked them back to we’ll have a review and maybe look at a real raise in 2024. Which is about when they project real wages to start going up in relation to inflation. In the meantime? We get to remember Labor’s greatest complaints about the LNP and how none of them could ever survive on JobSeeker, but there’s literally nothing in the budget for those on payments. Correct me if I’m wrong, PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong!

Image

These photos? They’re from a blogger event in Sydney in 2012. It was for Kleenex Cottonelle and we broke pintrest because we were trying to pin too many things at once. A wonderful greenwashing promo. That was when i was an Aunty blogger, or a food blogger, depending on who was paying for drinks. I’m wearing the last pair of glasses I bought from a shop in Australia, they set me back $700. $200 for the frames, $500 for the lenses, and from then on it was Chinese online glasses all the way.

I dug out these pics because I got a bursary to attend the Black Dog Institute‘s Summit on Self-Harm in Sydney on November 10 as a person with lived experience of self harm and the mental health system. It’s at Doltone House, the same venue as the Contonlle event, I thought it looked familiar when I was planning the early morning train trip down! I’m really really excited! It’s going to be a huge day, with a 7.30am start, so, a snooze on the 4.51am train down and coffee on arrival please and thankyou! If I recall correctly it was well catered, so I hope they still are!

So, now to plan my days around having the spoons for the summit, for taking it in, for networking and holding conversation with some amazing researchers! The program looks great!

But what do I wear???

Lake Macquarie Pride Fair and Break the Poverty Machine Rally Newcatle

SO, that was a HUGE weekend with a lot of planning and build up, lots of talking and posting and having my brain switched on, and now that I’m in recovery mode I’m going to look back at it! This is my boot after ditching the tables and gazebo at the scout hall from pride, but before the rally Monday. It’s chaos like my brain! I’ve now gotten to Wednesday and think I MAY have a virus, but it’s not certain, so I’m just drinking all the water and resting up. RATs are neg so far. I’m probably just peopled-out.

I did touch a lot of people as I was putting on soooo many temporary tattoos heh Only a couple of cleavage ones, unlike ten years ago when I was applying temporary tattoos for the Sex Party (now Reason) at Sexpo in Sydney!

A lovely evening, with perfect weather and a mix of market and community stalls, lotsa freebies and cool things, and a great vibe! Well done Newcastle Pride Inc! Thanks for bringing pride to Lake Mac!

Sunday was a rest day, and  then I picked up my Twitter friend Aeryn from the station who’d come up from Wollongong for the rally!

Here are some of the experiences of welfare shared by attendees at the Newcastle rally. You can click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

Why is seeking welfare the same effort as a full time job and it's still not enough to get by #raisetherate

And then the tear-jerker from Andrew who I’d been chatting to outside Centrelink while he was waiting for a friend. He started off with the expected – red meat, social life, coffee, giving up tobacco being a near killer as it got more and more expensive, but then, the story of how he’s been saving for a headstone for his baby boy’s grave since he dies 8 years ago at two days old just hit me hard. I apologised for having to bring it up, but he reassured me it was okay and it was good to tell someone who cared. Every time he comes close there’s the unexpected expense like a huge bill or a fridge breaking down and he just hasn’t gotten there.

The speech from Catherine was powerful, with John Mackenzie also telling it like it is. Mum says we were on NBN news that night, but they haven’t posted that story on socials.

Aeryn and I went for a scenic drive, listening and watching the rally from Adelaide on Twitch and stopping for lunch at gorgeous Nobby’s, at Bruce’s insistence I treat us to lunch somewhere.

And here we are. Check out the #BTPM tag on twitter and other socials for posts from people on Centrelink around the country pleading for a better future this Antipoverty week. There’s way too much talk about what would be nice but nothing tangible being offered, as usual.

And Liptember is OVER!

Image

So, Liptember is over for another year, and I’m happy that I met my fundraising target, and that I wore lipstick every day, and I tried a few new things, but I’m also tired. Why tired? Well because people around me are. Because while it’s fun to do fundraisers, it’s hard seeing people around you not being supported with their mental health. People accessing all they can – the Medicare rebated psych sessions, medications, GP visits – but that not being enough to make any headway. My sister will feel I’m calling her out with this, and while I am, it’s also half my Twitter feed and a bunch of my Facebook family and friends. They do what they need to to tread water, they maintain, they get things done, they keep on being alive, they keep doing the appointments they have to, to work days, the welfare obligations. But they don’t really get ahead.

Image

I’m certainly not ahead either, myself, I just managed to get myself to a point where I could convince the government that they were better off giving me DSP that trying to get me into a job that I might just throw away at the first sign of trouble. I had the privilege of being able to front up the cash for private psych and OT, to be able to get into the therapy program that made a difference but wouldn’t “fix” me, to get the reports from the private OT that got me over the line for DSP. So that now I can jump in and out of the real world as I see see fit with a safety net of not losing my DSP backup because I tried and failed at something.

I’m not yet at the point of wanted to do paid external work, but I’m participating more outside myself – I’m more involved with my local Greens’ group and the events and meetings they have, I’m more active online, I’m experimenting with more social media avenues and with Twitch streaming. I’m dabbling around to try and find what I like, and hopefully being useful in the meantime. I’m doing my e-girl and activist things and I really like that. Those things excite me, being online, trying to make a difference, either together or separate, but also just figuring out me.

While also being able to be there for my partner and my sister and their kids. Helping my stepkid get into the right therapy, taking my nephew and niece to appointments, babysitting the little ones, being a sounding board for my sister, making my partner lunch and dinner and keeping  a clean and ordered house so we can relax together in the evenings. Playing with my dog, getting the kids used to a dog. Helping the children learn to be themselves and grow and explore their lives.

Image

I’m doing what I can and mostly what I want to do and while I’m tired, I like it. I like me.

You can still donate til the 15th for my Liptember, and I’ll wear the lippy of your choice one day 🙂 I still don’t have yellow and threw out a few over the month, but there’s still way too many to choose from.