There has never been an occasion where I have been motivated to make a personal comment on Jenny Macklin’s performance in Federal Parliament, however her recent comment about single parents being able to live on $35 a day has angered me to the extent that I cannot remain silent.
I also urge others to make their views known.
This … from a politician who earns approximately $1000 per day, plus all the additional benefits (housing, travel and food allowances), which are allocated to our privileged federal politicians.
Many vocal and articulate people have expressed their views about the plight of single parents and their children in Australia, and the issue of poverty and homelessness.
I would like to pose a different question: “Where has Labor gone wrong?”
The Australian Labor Party had for many years a reputation for ensuring that social justice and equity were at the forefront of their policy platform.
In our beautiful resource rich country, the gap between rich and poor has widened into a gigantic gulf.
Can anyone explain to me the rationale of this current government?
By way of example, of the contradictions in their approach to public policy, I note in a press release put out by Jenny Macklin that the Federal Government in the 2012-1013 budget announced a tax relief scheme for microbreweries.
The maximum tax relief has been increased from $10,000 to $30,000 with the removal of the production eligibility cap of 30,000 litres of beer per year.
So it seems that Australia needs to encourage greater beer production!
For many people (like myself) who have worked in the community and welfare sector for many years, we are appalled at the heartlessness of the current federal government and its approach to the most vulnerable in our society.
Single parents, predominantly women, but not excluding fathers, not only face the burden of parenting their children by themselves, they also face the challenge of obtaining employment in a job market which has no suitable jobs.
Please note that two out of every five recipients of Newstart have less than year 12 education.
Newstart is less than half of the minimum wage in Australia – approximately 42 per cent. Where is the equity?
There are many versions of the Australian family, whether it is two parents with children, single parents with children, grandparents raising their grandchildren, etc.
The Australian Government has a duty to ensure that all children regardless of the families they live in, have access to basic rights, including adequate food, a safe shelter, the security of a parent, and the support of the community in which they live. By depriving single parents of an adequate living allowance, we are depriving our most valuable resource, our children, of life’s opportunities.
All Australians should be loudly outspoken about this decision by the federal government.
It represents one of the most heartless and ill conceived moves I have observed.
It also strikes at the very core of the Australian way of life, and the principle of equality for all.
Pam Arnold, Manager,
Nowra Family Support Service Inc