Budget 2010: poor to struggle even more

Lucky for the ALP they’re not politically engaged:

Charities and social services groups say Treasurer Wayne Swan’s third federal budget will not aid Australia’s poor or unemployed…

John Falzon from St Vincent de Paul says the budget leaves unemployed Australians living below the poverty line. “With over 600,000 unemployed Australians, we remain stuck with a Newstart Allowance that is less than half the minimum wage,” he said.

If Rudd doesn’t want that to stick, he’ll be hoping that the commercial press can do a bit more “dole bludger” demonising. Those are 600,000 Australians who vote… he’d better hope that they’ve long since given up expecting anything better from politicians and won’t pay attention to which party has just done them over.

Seriously, $33 a day? (Less if they’re in a relationship with someone who is also unemployed.) How does anyone survive on that in 2010?

I mean, if we weren’t already all broken up over what’s happened to the poor oppressed billion dollar mining conglomerates (imagine, only getting 60% of the massively increased profits due to a resources boom!), who knows – we might even have enough sympathy left over for the starving poor. Hey, it’s possible.

UPDATE: Legal Aid funding continues to atrophy, with only half what would’ve been needed to return it to 1997 levels. It’s easy to demonise and pooh-pooh Legal Aid when you don’t personally need it, but if you’d rather our prisons were not full of innocent people, then the importance should be fairly obvious.

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9 responses to “Budget 2010: poor to struggle even more

  1. usesomesanity

    Govenments are more interested in distroying lives than long term sustainable economic reform. They have excessive laws that ensure that the work ready are shut out costing growth and a drain on welfare. Their OTT laws are costing the hip pocket of all Australians and not in line w community expectations that are demanding long term economic growth. The people will teach govenment law makers a powerful lesson for their tabloid lead stupidity.

  2. confessions

    Speaking of governments destroying lives, family reunion migration has also been cut.

  3. Nice. Meanwhile, the wingnuts are convinced that he’s all soft on immigrants.

  4. usesomesanity

    This tabloid lead stupidity is totally irresponsible.

  5. Newstart has been below the ‘poverty line’ for ages, the quotation in the post is just special pleading. I would assume the PR firm that works for the ‘charities and social service groups’ issues a similar press release several times a year.

    Personally, I would abolish Newstart and replace it with a more sensible, time-limited form of unemployment insurance payment based on one’s income. The whole concept of a ‘dole’ has never made sense to me.

  6. It’s a safety net, Adam. To stop people starving… well, that’s the idea. (Unfortunately the Government’s forgotten that you actually need to provide enough money for people to buy food and shelter for it to be a safety net.)

    Your idea of taxpayers paying rich unemployed people more than poor unemployed people is absurd and obscene.

  7. usesomesanity

    Mums and Dads who drive wilst disqualified still have to wait till July 2011 not to be mandontary sent to jail. WTF?! And only if labor gets re-elected or the current mandontary jail term will stay beyond that… seriously people get less for sending economies broke… justice pftt…

    See 3min. mark of:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/05/14/2900126.htm

    Does this punishment fit the crime?A little heavy handed?

  8. Jeremy, many countries have some kind of ‘unemployment insurance’, based on contributions and paid out in a time-limited way at a proportion of salary or wages. Obviously, there would have to be some kind of upper limit.

    The problem with the dole is that it is useless for regular people (with normal incomes, expenses and commitments) because it is just too low to be much of a help. On the other hand, it is very generous in that you can keep on claiming it forever, or at least until you can transition to the disability pension. This time-generosity but income-avarice is what creates the institutional welfare dependency we see in many parts of our society.

    In other words, despite any emotive appeals one may be able to martial, Newstart is a bad thing.

  9. Yeah the dole should be raised. Then work for the dole would be a reasonable option.

    Its not really enough to live on and get anywhere but its enough to subside on.

    There’s a real issue here and a serious conflict and the dole is a compromise that is leading to problems. On the one hand there’s this puritanical protestant work ethic streak that hates the idea of people getting a free ride.

    Which is tight and ridiculous, cos ultimately its been the subsidising of people thats lead to the great art that defines western culture, in many cases. The idea that the devil makes work for idle hands drives our hatred of dole bludgers.

    On the other that view has a real point.

    Someone has to do stuff for things to happen.

    If everyone sits around playing playstation and pulling cones all day nothing will ever happen. The power will fail and the telly will go out.

    So that view as a point.

    But if you give someone something to believe in and the means to do it most of the time they will willingly work their arses off. Our society doesn’t really understand that.

    So you have to raise the dole, heaps, and in the process create a real “mutual obligation” that the people getting the dole feel and believe in. (Don’t ask me how tho.)

    Thats a full on nanny state situation.

    Of course you could scrap the dole, but … well if I had starving kids in the US and lost my job. Like so many have in the last couple of years. (Or Mexico, which has basically had its middle class dismantled since NAFTA.)

    Look out cos I won’t let them suffer.

    There’s more to social security than keeping lazy bastards in cheap beer.

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