Kevin Rudd must quickly reinstate crucial support payments for sole parents removed by current and previous Governments. This is a crucial step in ensuring Australia does not continue its alarming trend towards punishing its most vulnerable people according to the Women’s Electoral Lobby.
WEL National Chair Melanie Fernandez said John Howard’s “Welfare to Work” changes must be repealed, and Sole Parent Payments to those with children over eight reinstated and increase the Newstart Allowance to 50 dollars per day.
“It is very disappointing to see Senator Siewert’s Social Security Bill, calling for the Newstart Allowance to be increased by 50 dollars, voted down by the Senate today.
“Over the past decade we have seen support structures ripped out from underneath the feet of those most in need.
Ms Fernandez said the reinstatement of Sole Parent Payments was particularly crucial.
“Cuts to the income of sole parents in order to pressure them into paid work failed to recognise the difficulties sole parents face finding flexible work that meets their caring needs.
“The Howard Government’s move to transfer some sole parents to Newstart showed no improvement to the lives or financial situations of more than 40,000 sole parents. The Gillard Government’s move to roll out the cuts to everyone was ludicrous.
“Newstart payments currently leave people living below the poverty line and must be raised.
“With one in eight people living in poverty in Australia, including one in six children, we are now seeing the terrible effects of these policies coming to fruition.
“When Australia is one of the world’s countries most able to provide support, we can not continue to stand idly by and condemn people to a life of poverty.”
“It’s not fair, it’s not effective. It’s just bad policy.”
Ms Fernandez said the changes over time to the welfare system did not recognise the social value of unpaid work, such as caring responsibilities that people, particularly women, make to our communities.
“Sole parents must be financially supported so they can meet their family’s needs. We need to recognise and value the various ways in which members of our community contribute.
“This was done well through the Sole Parent Payment and it should be reinstated for all sole parents with children under eighteen without delay.”