Saturday, August 27, 2016

'Living' on Newstart in 2016 at Age 61

My personal experiences with having to be dependent on Federal Government income support payments was having to access the Carer Payment as a carer for my mother following a CVA (Stroke) in 1999.  Prior to taking on this role I'd been employed for 30 years as a Remote Area Nurse, Nurse/Midwife, Clinical Nurse Consultant and Team Leader in many states of Australia and overseas.  All this time I paid my taxes.

The Carer Payment certainly helped but during 17 years as a carer but it was insufficient for all expenses so I had to access my Superannuation and used all these funds for living expenses and equipment to improve my mothers quality of life.

In April 2016 I ceased as my mothers carer as by this time I'd become physically and mentally incapable of continuing to provide adequate care.  I needed to get myself sorted. Luckily my younger sister was able to take on the role of carer.

Having notified Centrelink that I'd ceased to be a carer I entered the dehumanising and convoluted beaurocracy that is the Australian Government Department of Human Services.

They have no real right to apply the words 'human' or 'services' to anything they do or in reality avoid doing for Australian citizens applying for some form of assistance.

I am now attempting to survive on Newstart Allowance with virtually no chance of employment.  At 61 years of age I'm not entitled to the Aged Pension until November 2020.



2016 Fereral Govt Response to Newstart - rate cut.

The design of the newstart Allowance as a short-term solution is badly flawed given the alarmingly high rate of long-term unemployed people in the system.

Long-term Newstart recipients are more likely to be older workers; have a partial disability or mental illness; face communication or language barriers or lack marketable skills; and have low levels of formal education.


Treasurer Scott Morrison says 'the age pension should not be regarded as an entitlement for all, but rather a "welfare payment for those who do not have the ability to save enough to fund their own retirement".

More than twenty years since compulsory superannuation was introduced the system is not yet efficient enough at meeting its objective to "supplement or replace" the age pension, he said.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Australia's Class War Persists

Tough love" is just the right phrase: love for the rich and privileged, tough for everyone else. 
Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.
Just in case you were under any illusion that this government cared about poor people or working families, its top business adviser came out last night slamming the minimum wage, the NDIS, Gonski reforms and the carbon tax.

See: from NOVEMBER 12, 2013 article that holds TRUE today

Make no mistake: the war on the poor persists. The Aussie “fair go” is a lie; dead and buried.
Maurice Newman, head of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, gave a speech NOVEMBER 12, 2013 at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia function from which we gained a very good insight into what kind of advice the government relies on
Among the policies he criticised were: the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Gonski school reforms, wages for being too high (although presumably not his), and industrial relations for being too rigid.
On the same night, Q&A hosted a panel made up entirely of business leaders: David Knox, CEO and managing director of Santos; Carol Schwartz, chairman of Our Community and Founding Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia; John Symond, founder and chair of Aussie Home Loans; Elizabeth Proust, chair of Nestle Australia; and Graham Bradley, non-executive chair of Stockland Corporation, EnergyAustralia Holdings and HSBC Bank Australia.
The first question was about business confidence and Graham Bradley offered the opinion that the new government was doing well by consulting with the business community, which he felt would lift the confidence of business and “ordinary Australians”.
Really? Would ordinary Australians really be happy that the new government is listening to people who say that the poorest people in this nation are actually being paid too much? And that casual and shift workers should have their penalty rates taken away so that business can make more money to pay top management more (whose wages it is out of the question to ever question at all)? Really? Isn’t this what the last conservative government was kicked out for?
I couldn’t reach my remote control in time to block out Aussie Home Loans’ John Symond – a real man of the people – banging on about an “immoral tax” on business hiring.
You want to talk about “immoral taxes”, Mr Symond? How about the tax on superannuation for low and middle income earners the Coalition is about to reimpose while giving a tax break to 16,000 people with more than $2 million in super? Or the tax on tampons? Or the regressive GST? Are the taxes on business in Australia so immoral that they failed to make you a multi-millionaire?
In his stirring speech, Newman “excoriated the Labor government” for – among other things – the “class warfare particularly aimed at business”, reported the Australian Financial Review.
This is where the Labor government has also done the poor a disservice. It’s time to stop denying there is class warfare in this country. There is. The rich are waging war on the poor and they’re winning.
The widely reported Credit Suisse 2013 Global Wealth Report which found that Australia was one of the world’s richest countries – second only to Switzerland in average wealth and the richest in terms of median wealth – also found that Australia was the OECD’s eighth most unequal country.
In the last decade in Australia, the richest 10 per cent enjoyed almost 50 per cent of the growth in incomes. The richest 1 per cent had 22 per cent of the gains, The Age has reported.
Not yet as bad as the US, but we’re on our way.
Only when the battle lines of the class warfare are clearly drawn and the war cries are loud and clear, can we get down to the business of fighting poverty properly.
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