By Joe Montero
Pretending to offer a small increase in JobSeeker, the Morrison government is really handing out a massive cut on 29 March. During the lockdown last year, it was universally recognised that $550 is the minimum needed to provide a basic frugal standard of living. This has not changed in 2021.
GetUp, the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU), and Living Incomes for Everyone (LIFE), have come together and launched a campaign to raise opposition to the government’s direction. A week of action will take place on 15-19 March under the banner break the Poverty Machine, and calling for $80 a day, which is around $550 week.
This is a significant development, and a first step in what promises to grow into something much bigger in the months ahead.
Break the Poverty Machine has been adopted because it draws attention to the core problem. Poverty is being manufactured to serve an economic and social policy to pull down wages by creating a source of cheap forced labour. This is closely tied to increasing proportion of casualised and underpaid work, at the expense of traditional full time and secure jobs.
How much the unemployed are paid through JobSeeker affects those with jobs. The present policy is that by redistributing the nations income upwards, investment will increase, and the economy grow. The fact that this has failed in the past and this shows it will continue to fail in the future is being ignored.
There is good reason why everyone should support the coming week of action. Below is the current calendar of events. Note that more actions are likely to emerge and those interested are encouraged, to turn to the participating organisations for further information.