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An election campaign that ignores fairness

Sep 3, 2013, 00:00 AM by Anglicare Australia

This election campaign is simply avoiding the issue of fairness for the people who are doing it toughest across Australia, according Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers.

“Anglicare Australia Victoria released a report yesterday that shows how poverty is hurting mothers out of work and their kids” Ms Chambers said today.

“Today the NSW coalition of Anglicare agencies has pointed to the rental housing affordability crisis and food insecurity as key issues compromising the lives of the most vulnerable members of communities.

“This election campaign has revolved around the ideas of responsibility and trust and yet when it comes to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Australia the two big parties have been reluctant to take that responsibility on board. Seemingly, the idea of trust is more about campaign slogans than doing the right thing.

“Last night the Prime Minister acknowledged that he was uncomfortable with the Government’s decision to shift thousands on Parents’ Payment to the much lower Newstart Allowance. The consequences, as we in the sector warned at the time, and as Anglicare Victoria has now shown, have been calamitous. But the issue, in reality, is not that actual decision. It is inadequate income.

“The big parties contending for Government are clearly happy enough for people out of work to live in corrosive poverty.

“The Prime Minister would make an exception for some families.  The Leader of the Opposition would reward people once they get a job if they can keep it. But when it comes to secure housing and enough money to get by on, this election campaign has avoided the issue.

“No matter what we, and groups as disparate as the Housing Industry Association, the Australian Council of Social Services, the Business Council of Australia, the Salvation Army, the Australian Greens, the Council of the Ageing, St Vincent De Paul, and Uniting Care Australia have said.

When Anglicare Australia asked people who use Anglicare services what they thought about this election, they raised housing and basic income security, along with a political integrity as their chief concerns. “ But they are probably not surprised at what the campaign has delivered to date.

“It’s not too late for the parties, and the media which follows them, to make income and housing for those who are doing really tough an issue. You could say it is the greatest moral challenge of this campaign” Ms Chambers said.