Well I hate it even more today that it seems to have grown $3 Billion. Not the figure itself, or why it’s there, but because the politicians are smiling and announcing it the same week that the long awaiting “biggest permanent increases to JobSeeker” ever and “biggest increase in commonwealth rent assistance in 30 years” are also on their brag list.
Because those might sound like good things, but in real dollarydoos, I’m getting an extra $13 a week in rent assistance. Those on Jobseeker single will be getting an extra $56.10 a fortnight – $14 of that from indexation. My DSP indexation is $26.70 for the fortnight. Bringing my grand total pension to $1000.70 a fortnight. I worked out my share of rent only takes up 41% of my pension now, not 44%, but we’re due for a rent increase so check back soon :/
All the rates are still below the poverty line measures we have at hand. Labor have chosen to keep the rates like they are. They have also chose to keep the Stage Three Tax cuts. The cost of living relief, while all been welcome – the doubling amount of meds you can get in a script for certain drugs, I’m getting $125 off each of the next quarters electricity bills – but costs have skyrocketed everywhere, from milk, to petrol to rent (if you’re lucky enough to be housed) and there is no discretionary funds anymore. You call us fixed incomes here on the pension, because the aged and disability pensioners shouldn’t have to do work that they can’t in order to be able to afford to live. Carers can’t do any more. Those on JobSeeker are doing their best to find jobs, but jobs go to those who can afford to present themselves well, that can afford a haircut, new clothes, not have their car break down AGAIN. And the students, well they’re somehow expected to do well in their studies while supplementing with got knows how much paid work to make ends meet. We’re tired, Jim.
Because I was super excited when reading the menu, Dan arranged for there to be fairy bread on arrival. Traditional, sliced white bread with margarine and all. Truly the party food of the unemployed worker.
Burgers were had – Beef Brisket, Chick and Vego options (with Gluten free and vegan available too) and omg the chippies were great!! The bar wasn’t open to the public at the time, but they accommodated our request to turn down the music and turn off the glitter ball, as cool as it was.
It was great to chat with a great group of people, some employed some not, some students, other applying for the DSP. All having experienced the wonder that is the Australian welfare system, and all agreeing it’s only getting harder to navigate and stay afloat on, by design.
We’d love to organise more meetups and more official events for AUWU members and supported in the Newcastle are (or Central Coast even, if anyone’s keen for a Gosford meet hit me up on the AUWU Discord or Twitter and we can work together to organise something and I’ll hop a train down! choo choo!)
Bub has been in the world 17 days, kids have been living with us for 22 days. It’s busy and lovely and stressful and new and I’m slowly figuring out here I fit in all this, what I can look after and control, what works and doesn’t work for me and what I just have to remember is out of my control.
I’m doing my dishes in the morning still, cooking dinner for everyone in the evening. We’re still getting Everyplate boxes – upped it to four serves which is $50 extra a week, which makes it better value. Just trying to figure out what meals everyone likes and eats. I mean everyone eats every main, I just suss out the preferred meals. I’d love it, if you haven’t yet, sign up for a free trial box and I’ll get $25 credit towards ours 🙂
Our landlord moved us to a new real estate agent, so they’ve booked an inspection for September 26. They’ve also organised for a plumber to do a water efficiency check on the property tomorrow, and I replied to their email about the inspection asking if the requested repairs from the June 2 inspection had been handed over, because the last real estate didn’t follow up on any of them, and of course not. So I re-requested the bathroom light and exhaust to be looked at since it is dodgy as and doesn’t always turn on with the lightswitch, and the two hotplates whose thermostats don’t kick in and the kids burned things the first time they cooked here since I hadn’t given them the rundown on which hotplates to avoid or use with caution.
We’re of course anxious about meeting a new real estate agent and what their expectations will be. We’re also out of lease and hope to get a new one – bearing in mind that the kids aren’t ON the lease and as adults should be to live here on a regular basis. Even though they were kids when we moved here, and still living at their mums, but the whole *situation* necessitated it and they’ve got a lot on their plate and public and social housing is this mythical unicorn, and who’s gonna rent to two new parents on youth allowance? So, it’s engaging with those services, social workers, mental health etc etc that I’m also supporting the kids to do. At least Bee could get into the non-bulk billing GP I go to since they were on their booked from when they tried living with us three years ago.
We have managed to acquire a bunch of home stuff from my Nanna’s deceased estate – a kettle, sandwich press, microwave, toaster, crockery and cutlery , much needed TOWELS (mine were all on their last legs without there being extra people!), and I’m getting the fridge and bed once the photos are taken for sale. So that’s been super helpful. I picked up another baby gate off marketplace to keep Maxi out of the kids room without permission. We’ve also sorted so much more of our own stuff, and moved everything car parts and computer parts wise out to the garage. Not sure yet if and when Ash, Bruce’s son will be joining us, but we’re as ready as we can be, ey?
I’m still going to my weekly Antabuse group, we did our urine tests this week to check whether we’d been taking other meds to cope with not being able to have alcohol, and surely I passed.
I’m excited and nervous about our Australian Unemployed Workers Union meetup this Thursday in town. 1pm at Bernie’s Bar (the Old Star Hotel) – you should RSVP and come! There’s gonna be free food and beanies and scarves and comrades!
oh, hai there. I’m Fiona. You may now know me now as the woman on Q+A with $20 who looked pained at Jim Chalmer’s response to her question about how those on fixed incomes like the disability pension are supposed to make choices between food and medicine (seriously, I better pay that chemist bill as soon as I get this posted – my Webster paks are a lifesaver both literally and metaphorically)… Why are we the ones having to suffer now to keep inflation in check?
My questions and his non-answer:
Jim Chalmers spruiked the simplicity of his first budget, but as the price of items rises faster than the rate of welfare – is it really ‘bread and butter’ for struggling households? #QandApic.twitter.com/p0eECVajlR
So, it’s taken me a good couple of days to recover from the trip down to Sydney – got the shuttle bus the ABC organised from Broadmeadow station at 5pm with 20 others, we got there around 7:30, then went through screening, I got handed my question on a card and was told that I was the second question and that like I had spoken to the girl on the phone about, Stan would be asking me followups and she and her chatted about my situation and such a couple of times on the phone in the previous days.
It was a bumpy ride, but to my relief a fellow local Greens member and his mate were also on the bus, so I could chat to them and calm my nerves about the whole process. And we got a photo with our idols in the foyer.
We went in around 8pm, I got a microphone attached to me. There was a warm up stand up comic. The questioners were all run through to make sure they got our names right etc, and I was SUPER excited to see that a teacher that I often had in primary school Mrs Turner was there!
Jim Chalmers credits a high school history teacher for changing the course of his life. He says Australia needs to find ways to value teachers more, and retain them better. #QandApic.twitter.com/6ivnvolpft
I didn’t expect a real answer from Jim, just as I didn’t expect Labor to raise welfare since they walked back their promises and demands that they had in opposition in the lead up to the election they just won. Basically they promised us nothing and we should be grateful for that!
— Avery Howard 🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈 (they/he) (@AveryHowardAU) July 2, 2021
So, back to why you’re here? After my triumphant non-answer getting on Q+A i called home to Bruce to scream into the void and get his reaction and love. Which I got. And a request for burgers on the way home, to which I lol’d “Yeah I can spend my $20 on that!” he laughed and said, don’t worry about it but then I wanted burgers, and given the rough trip back, chatting with the young liberals and eating lollies and pretzels at dinner, I totally needed those burgers by the time I was back in Tronno at 1am!
So, to all the Daily Mail commenters who commented on my food choices and my fatness, yeah, I had midnight Maccas with that $20 that PureProfile surveys had credited me during the trip down (another DM commenter had suggested them too, don’t worry, I’ve been doing them for 20 years). It was the best Big Mac I’d had in a long time, the chips were salty and fresh, like me, and I needed something in my belly because I needed to be up at 7am to get to my usual Friday appointments of pickup up FoodBank and Ozharvest to share with my sister (and much free bread because there was non in the budget for us) and then to my Antabuse rehab group where we discussed what we like about our sober selves. 20 months sober my friends!
Yeah, I’m fat. And yeah I could exercise more to lose weight, but I’m glad I’m not the bulimic, exercise obsessed skinny girl I once was, 2 hours at the gym a day, running 5kms to quiet her mine. My blood tests are always showing I’m in pretty good health considering, and while I’ve been on seroquel I’ve not been anywhere near skinny. I’m mentally pretty good at the moment, and working on my mental health and life goals, while being a good human being. Looking after myself and my family and friends and being sober and safe. Financially, I’m not making any headway, but I don’t have a credit card to go into debt on, and so long as I can pay my rent and smile, I’ll be okay. Also, so long as the politicians have a food allowance that is five times the daily JobSeeker payment, don’t police our food choices, mmkay?
So, it’s been a big few days. Glad to be home with my boys and love my family, friends and twitter crew to death. Sent Bruce off this morning to work in his little tinny, and I’ve been a good housewife, doing dishes and washing and earning my keep while rolling marbles on Twitch. I also played some Scotty Goes to Centrelink (The Albo Update) earlier, and will probably go another round soon!
Please, if you also feel that it’s ridiculous that in Australia people on welfare payments are deliberately kept below the poverty line, sign this petition to parliament to have the rate of all welfare payments raised to above the Henderson Poverty line which is currently $88 a day. The petition is an official parliamentary one so you’ll need to click the verification link in your email when it comes through to complete the process.
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.
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.
Peter Khalil refuses to raise the rate after sharing that "Only a labor government will ensure a respectable increase and the dignity all deserve". https://t.co/di1QVB1iJI
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!
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!