9 August 2019

Brigid Delaney reflects on her experience moving from a highly paid job to subsistence on Newstart: “[O]ne of the worst things about being poor, and by extension being on Newstart — is the lack of freedom. Not just the lack of freedom to travel, or enjoy socialising with your friends, but the mental freedom. As soon as you get on Newstart, your mind isn’t free. It’s anxious and busy working out how to survive. It’s doing tiny sums with tiny bits of money. It’s going right down to the decimal point. To have money is to be free, to have that space in your head freed up for other things: thinking, dreaming, enjoying your life, planning for your future, surrendering under the canopy of palms to the four-hand massage and thinking of nothing, because you don’t have a care in the world. We take it for granted and do not appreciate that others have their headspace shrunk by poverty and the necessities of survival. In this respect the failure to increase Newstart is not merely a policy failure — nor is it just a moral failure — but an epic failure of imagination.”