Page 3084 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 October 2022

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poverty is all the Chief Minister’s fault, or the government’s fault—deflect from the core problem here.

I would have been prepared on this occasion to perhaps give Ms Lee and the opposition the benefit of the doubt if they had come into this chamber and spelled out, like I just have, the driving forces of poverty in the city. The fact that they have not demonstrates the motivations behind this motion.

The Canberra community should know that the Canberra Liberals are motivated to work on this issue or to be seen advocating on this issue for political opportunism. While I am sure there is not a single member of the Canberra Liberals that wants to see Canberrans in poverty, you cannot be taken seriously as a substantive contributor to the debate if you are not prepared to acknowledge, in its entirety, the challenge of wealth inequality and poverty in this city.

I underline, in my remaining seconds, these few points again, in summary. Mr Deputy Speaker, if you want to get people who are in poverty out of poverty, you give them more money, and balloons drop from the sky. It is not rocket science. The natural consequence of a failed economic political ideology advocated for by the centre right and Liberals from across this country is why people are poor and homeless. The unregulated excesses of capitalism have created the greatest divide in wealth and income inequality in this country’s history, and the only way that we are going to do something about that is by enthusiastically participating in the federal poverty inquiry and fixing our system structurally.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (4.05): I will not be supporting Ms Lee’s motion. I will be supporting the Chief Minister’s amendment.

We know, thanks to the community sector’s extensive body of research work, why poverty exists in the ACT. We know who is most affected and where those households are most concentrated. I am deeply disappointed that Ms Lee is showing complete disrespect for the work that our community sector has done by calling for another inquiry instead of action to relieve the pressure on people living in poverty and advocating to the commonwealth government to change the drivers of poverty that are outside ACT control.

I note that, in February 2021, we had an almost identical motion from Ms Lee. Blowing things up in the media seems to be the goal of the ACT Liberals, but I have learned that there are things that you cannot solve by jumping into an X-Wing and blowing something up. When I spoke to the almost identical motion in February 2021, I listed some of the existing research by our community sector on poverty in the ACT, and I said:

If you’d like an in-depth analysis of this data, please feel free to pop into my office where I can take you through the past 42 years of housing costs and labour force data, with a gendered lens.

I am sad to say that, since Giulia Jones moved on from this place, not a single MLA from the ACT Liberals has shown an interest in discussing policy with me.

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