21 January 2022

Kristin O’Connell: “All poverty is ultimately income poverty. And its number one cause in this country is abhorrently low welfare payments. We don’t need more food banks, more rebates, more niche supports that are impossible to find out about, let alone access. We need money. … We’re long overdue for a new measure of poverty in this country. Until then, the best we have is the Henderson poverty line, dating back to the 60s. When people on jobseeker lived at this level temporarily in 2020 because of Covid-19 supportswe heard of the relief it brought, and also how many people still went without (more than a third still regularly skipped meals, medication and healthcare). This is the rate unemployed people and advocates have been pleading to have brought back urgently while the long-term work of better understanding poverty and rebuilding public investment in housing, healthcare and education is done. Both major parties are committed to tax cuts for the rich, negative gearing and capital gains tax policies that fuel astronomical house price growth — and pouring good money after bad on farcical defence projects. Yet they have the audacity to lecture us on careful spending. Both have staunchly ignored every shred of evidence about how government-inflicted poverty and ‘mutual’ obligations are destroying lives and killing people. … So no, whether Liberal or Labor, you’re not for the poor. You’re at war with us.”