This is a letter to ABC News 24 regarding the discussion on the Newstart allowance and welfare in general in Australia. A similar version was also posted on their Facebook page.
Dear ABC News 24,
I have been watching this debate about welfare for some time, having seen the suffering forced onto people due to “market” conditions, Government mismanagement and abuse by big businesses – and I have barely survived on welfare while struggling with chronic illness that cost thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Newstart does not, and cannot help people into work. It is too low an amount in order to even survive on. Currently there are not enough jobs for all Australians, and there never will be. As a result of our economic system, there will always be some people out of work and this is an important point for those hardliners to consider. People need to consider this before deciding that welfare should be curtailed, increased or if punishment should be enacted.
In regards to the level of support for those unemployed on the Newstart allowance, and now for single parents (whose children will now never be able to get out of poverty), and recently those on the disability pension who got kicked off by Howard (or with disabling and chronic illness): those who continue to complain that this is too much money for welfare recipients, consider that many parts of Australia now have one of the highest costs of living in the world! To not increase the Newstart allowance in order to accommodate the rapidly increasing cost of living in Australia, is disgraceful, and you should be ashamed of yourself.
For those who suggest it should be a stopgap measure, you should try living on Newstart for a few months, pay rent, electricity, gas etc. while retraining, keeping a family and paying a mortgage. GROW UP and stop thinking only of yourselves.
Due to the fact that neither Government nor businesses are prepared to guarantee jobs for every Australian, we as a community (including businesses that operate in Australia) must provide for those people an income that can be lived off. That does not mean a constant hand out without obligation, but one that encourages and provides constant assistance to find SUITABLE work without punishment by bureaucrats for some perceived sin.
The big stick approach that was instigated by the lord of big sticks, Howard, does not work. It is abusive, destructive, and does nothing to encourage those who need assistance. We know that punishment of our children with a big stick causes harm, so why do we do it to our adults when it causes similar harm.
Reducing money to single parents DOES NOT provide encouragement, it punishes. This is inappropriate and causes unnecessary suffering, pain, hardship and undue stress. It is about time we grew up and treated people with dignity, compassion and respect.
Business has continued to move labour offshore in order to make bigger profits. Other companies have reduced staffing and forced remaining staff to work harder, all in order for those companies to make ever bigger profits. Businesses now have no obligation to train staff, and if the “market” can’t provide suitably trained staff, the company can import them from overseas – free of charge.
Companies have been given too much freedom resulting in excess unemployment of thousands of people. If businesses are not going to contribute to the wellbeing of the Australian people, contribute to training, employ local people, or assist the community of Australia, then they should be taxed at a significantly higher rate.
Businesses should be obligated to provide for the improvement of Australia, not to rape and pillage in order to make bigger profits for their CEOs, owners and shareholders. That also applies to the multinationals that buy debt from their associated international businesses in order to not pay tax in Australia.
Too many tax lurks, and loop holes for the rich and powerful who can afford tax lawyers, and not enough support for the poor who have been used by the rich and powerful to make their millions.