Where we at?

Got a rental inspection this Tuesday so tidying up. Yeah it’s soon, but I’ve generally had one a month after moving into a new place. We’ve already got it to a way better cleanliness standard than what we moved into, and Bruce has done amazing things in the yard. So as long as they don’t care about the burnt patch of lino from my little fire day two here, all it good. Sounds like Bruce’s kids and their mum finally have to move out of their place, so I’m crossing my fingers and toes for them to find a suitable rental.

Nobody Deserves Poverty

Still no internet. Called TPG this morning at the suggestion of NBN to see if there was any sooner install dates, no there isn’t Feb 29 is sooner than any others that are available – March 11 is where you’d be booked in for now. I also asked for a wireless dongle and they’re sending one with 60gig a month for three months on it – it’s more for Bruce than for me, his phone either isn’t liking being tethered all the time or was dying either way.

Trying to do little things that are really big things to work towards my goals this year. Got a busy Valentine’s Day coming up with the Kflay concert I’ve been dying for down at the Oxford Arts Factory! Gotta figure out how to do the Antipoverty Centre AGM before that – prolly just on my phone and get to Sydney early or something. We’ll see. I’m putting myself forward for a board role, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m actually nominating ahead unlike basically gatecrashing the AUWU AGM and elections and being relieved I missed out on the ordinary member role on their committee of management. Those selected are awesome and certainly deserved it.

One of the things I said I want to be able to do is go down to Sydney for things and be safe and sober and trust myself and be trusted by my partner. It’s been nearly three years since I’ve had a drink, and don’t really want to. But not yet to the point of coming off the Antabuse. Maybe this year.

Looks like I’m going to be doing more on the Nobody Deserves Poverty campaign this year too, at least up until the May Budget. Most Australians don’t think anyone does deserve to live in poverty, but seem to still excuse their politicians keeping welfare payments below the poverty line, so hopefully we can get more mainstream discussion on that (ugh, Facebook), get people talking about it and too their reps, get more organisations to sign on and push for welfare rates to be lifted above the poverty line in the May Budget. ALL payments, because yes, Jobseeker and Youth allowance are appallingly low, but carers, parenting and pensions are also still below the poverty line. A rising tide lifts all ships. And we need more voices of Welfare recipients in pollies’ ears when they’re still making comments about $180k not being a lot…

Nobody Deserves Poverty

We sold the AU so we now have money to repair the other Ford. And I can justify going full Hello Kitty on the Corolla. If you wanna help with the HelloKittyfication, there’s some items on my wishlist that would be sweet additions. That also means that some days I’m carless so really miss the NBN more and can’t wait til Feb 29 and decent internet and streaming my favourite games – hunting wabbits in Red Dead online and grinding in GTA. I have a couple of games I’ve downloaded to play offline, but I miss those one s in particular.

Opinion Pieces Wednesday, 19th January 2022 No one left behind in Labor blueprint for better future First published in the Australian on Jan 18 2022

“What about me?” It’s cliché but what we’re working with here

“As Labor politicians head to Canberra to discuss #CostOfLiving, #FOI reveals that, in the last 12 months, neither Minister Rishworth, Shorten or Collins have received briefings, reports or analyses on the effects of the cost-of-living crisis on welfare recipients. #fail #auspol”

Yeah, of course they haven’t. They run inquiries, make statements and chat to charities but don’t actually care about what it’s like to try to survive on welfare in this county.

Youth allowance is clearly the worst. with the politicians assuming you can both rely on your parents but they can’t have too much for you to be eligible. And it’s up til 24 years old… because we all know that you get a kids discount on food and rent til 24. Oh what, that was 12 for the kids meal? My bad.

The next table shows JobSeeker rates. $686 a fortnight if you’re partnered and your partner doesn’t earn much at all. $802.50 for singles. How DO people look for work on less than $50/day? or even on $57?

I get $59/day on DSP and I don’t have to leave the house and participate in society. Oh, I should be able to? Tell that to the cost of living committee.

And rent assistance? $85/week that just pushes up rents and makes it impossible for those not already receiving it to enter the rental market? Zoe, you have no idea, you think that it’s just a nice little supplement when really it’s just 18% of my rent. Forgive me for not being all grateful for the $13 a week extra I got just before my rent went up $60/week and we had to spend thousands moving.

I’m not feeling coherent yet, I’m only on my first diet coke, I didn’t sleep well and people were being loud and had the tv on this morning and I can’t process all that before say 10am.

I emailed Foodbank seeking more information about how donations work and who pays for what and why some places charge customers and some places aren’t allowed to but I didn’t get a response. I emailed TPG asking for use of a wifi modem til my innernet gets installed on Feb 29 and I didn’t get a response. I emailed Dan Repacholi to ask his to ask for an increase to welfare at the crisis meeting tomorrow but he just said he’s find out what was going to happen at the meeting himself and pass it on. Don’t shoot the messenger, even if he can shoot himself.

I’ll leave you with Nollsy while you email your local MP what would make a difference to you this cost of living crisis in the vain hope that they even have input into the process:

With MPs heading back to Canberra, what’s on your wishlist this cost-of-living crisis?

Saturday afternoon saw a flutter of tweets speculating about what might be served up to us plebs after Labor MPs return to Canberra early to solve the cost-of-living crisis and their slump in the important but not important at all polls.

I have my theories about what is possible and likely. And since I have a personal blog I get to write about them, with no qualifications other than I, too, am here in this country at this time, reading news and feeling the vibes.

Extending the energy rebates – This is an easy one as they’re only set for this financial year, so Labor will pop them into the May budget and probably even further expanded. I know they vary by state, but people already receiving concessions on their bills here in NSW got $125 a quarter off their bills automatically, and it was recently expanded to more families, but you have to apply. Not sure if they’ll up the value, or give it to more people. But it will be there for 24/25 and in place for the 2025 election.

Increasing the energy supplement in welfare payments – This famously hasn’t risen since its introduction in 2013 is it isn’t indexed. I get $10.60 a fortnight as a partnered disability pensioner. Could I see them doubling that supplement? Maybe? No, it’s not a huge amount extra, but it’d be extra targeted at the poorest on a hot item. It wouldn’t come in immediately though, might not even be til September if it’s a May Budget item.

Back to school payments – Yeah, it’s always a hot topic at this time of year, how expensive it is to send kids to public school, uniform and shoe costs, materials, backpacks, laptops and more. But it seems more pointed this year, perhaps it comes alongside the increasing stories of families living in tents, when they then have to find money for a laptop, let alone a place to reliably use it or charge it. It would be popular and really couldn’t be criticised. Cash payments to parents of school aged kids, non-means tested would be the fastest way and the most effective – but they do love their vouchers :/ It would take immediate heat off the government too, because they’ll need sometime that looks like it’s happening NOW, and feeding a clothing kids looks good.

Welfare Payments – I don’t see an increase to base rates happening this budget outside indexation, which is why I think the energy supplement may be a way to go about increasing the amount people are getting slightly, without angering the usual. I mean I WANT them to raise all payments above the poverty line, and I will push for that and ask for that and make arguments for it. But I don’t see it coming from this meeting, and not in the May budget. Would we believe them in they take it the the election though without any significant movement in the previous years? Yeah nah. That ship has sailed for Labor and unless they do blindside us in May with significant increases, particularly at the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance rates, noone’s going to believe their “good intentions” come 2025.

Rejig of Stage Three Greg Jericho and The Australia Institute have done the legwork for them, giving them a model that flattens out the cuts a bit more while not removing them completely. You need to remember Labor voted for the bill in the first place and have been extremely insistent on keeping that promise to the top end. It also leaves them with money to put towards those other payments. I mean, they COULD just bring back the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset that was so sorely missed last year, that hit a lot of people unexpectedly. It’s an option. They won’t scrap stage three though.

A picture of Lego Unikitty with a tie and glasses drawn on, speech bubble with the quote “Business, business, business. Numbers. Is this working?”

Business business business (is this working?) – I really don’t know or care what they do for businesses, I’m sure that there will be heaps. Yeah, my partner is self employed but we really don’t get any of the subsidies and such that are out there at this level *shrugs*

From the previous cost of living measures that haven’t excited me all that much, I don’t think this meeting will bring more rent assistance, and while personally more money is nice rent assistance is way too little too late and not given to enough people. They need to buy more public housing now, since building is going to take forever. Acquire vacant properties, put them in the public housing pool in a couple of months. Maybe they’ll extended the increased medicare bulk billing incentive? But to who and how? And is it too late with doctors dropping bulk billing as I type? They won’t do anything with medicines, that was already a big one. Unless they lower the safety nets? Personally I need less upfront costs for medical care and medicines, not rebates that kick in later. If I avoid the doctor cos the upfront cost is too high, I’ll never reach the safety net. And I’ll be more expensive down the track.

What do you think will come out of Wednesday’s meeting and the May budget and will it actually make a difference to you?

 

By 2030, more Australian children should rely on charity

Is that the right interpretation Mr Leigh?

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.

One Week til Xmas

Please sir! Maxi’s Wishlist

Well that was a few weeks of hell, wasn’t it? Moving house, cleaning the old place, 40 degree days, hot nights, family stress. We’re slowly unpacking, I’ve lost and broken a few things, but we’ll get there. Been using my phone tethering for internet. Still not getting the connection til the 5th December, which I guess is slowly coming.

We were asked in Antabuse last week what our goals were for 2024, what we wanted to achieve. I really want to get back to doing my Japanese practice and streaming it and games. My new monitor didn’t survive the move, and my webcam was on its way out a month ago. I’ve ordered a cheap webcam and I’ll use my phone for the twitch chat screen until I can bring myself to getting another second monitor, or if one falls my way which sometimes happens. It’s a real shame that the bulk waste just gone was the last one, with people needing to book one from next year rather than having certain suburbs having it at a time. It’s great shopping! We didn’t pick up anything this time since we were mid move, though we did dump a lot.

The kids are moving back to their mums place, I hope that works out for them, so I’ll get started on my new little phona routines when I have internet, when everything goes back after new year breaks. I also ordered a meal planning and shopping list pad for the fridge so I can plan meals each week when I get my vege box and local butcher and fish shop meats as much as possible. Though discounted Aldi and IGA items are on the menu too. Pottering around. Finding my way around.

Took most of the moving boxes to the recycling at the tip yesterday, my can and bottle recycling to the closest return and earn today. It’s in a carpark so not as cool for Maxi, but we went to another park for a run later. Next time we’ll do the park run first, then return to recycling.

Yeah sorting out my brain. Slowly.