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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2639 ..


marketing wants us to behave like they have. The power of large multinationals and billionaires continues to go unchecked. Many of these people pay little or no tax on their huge profits. This is money that could be spent to bring people out of poverty and to properly substantially fund community organisations to do their vital work.

It is impossible not to see keeping people in poverty as a political strategy choice by our federal government to push down the workers, the single parents, women and migrants. The reality is that I am a member of a smaller local government trying to pail water out of a boat filling up and Scotty from marketing drilled the holes in.

Raising the rate of JobSeeker saved lives during the first and second waves of the pandemic; there is no doubt about that. We must not forget that this happened with the stroke of a pen after powerful advocacy—

Mrs Jones: On a point of order. Mr Assistant Speaker, is the member supposed to refer to the Prime Minister by his appropriate title?

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Indeed, he is. You make a good point, Mrs Jones. I was very close to stepping in there. If you could refer to the Prime Minister by his correct title, Mr Davis?

MR DAVIS: I withdraw. Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Raising the rate of JobSeeker saved lives through the first and second waves of this pandemic; there is no doubt about that. We must not forget that it happened with the stroke of a pen after powerful advocacy from the trade union movement. The situation we are now in must reignite the calls to raise the rate permanently. We need the basic welfare payment to be above the poverty line. The OECD agree with us on this. Just this month, in their September economic survey, they pointed out:

The income shock from falling into unemployment in Australia is much larger than in other countries and minimum income supports remain well below the relative poverty line.

Indeed:

“One estimate suggests that 85 per cent of recipients of unemployment benefits will be in poverty.”

Mr Deputy Speaker, some may argue that I am politicising this terrible situation. Of course I am. Inequity is political and I will always call out those responsible for it.

To end, I would like to reaffirm our gratitude to the ACT community sector for their lifesaving, community strengthening and invaluable partnership with the ACT government. This is a relationship to be immensely proud of. I acknowledge all of the hardworking, underpaid and overworked staff across our community sector organisations who can all too often, in a city like Canberra, be tempted into lucrative, well-paying public service jobs but continue to remain active, hardworking, compassionate members of a sector supporting Canberra’s most vulnerable and most disadvantaged.


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