Election time – let’s reclaim the “fair go”
Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) urges Australians to go to the polls on 7 September focused on selecting people who will keep a clear sight of the needs of those people in our society who are poor, disadvantaged and voiceless.
“We urge each and every person to be active in public life, to vote wisely and to promote the good of the whole community and of every group in it,” said the Executive Director of CSSA, Mr Paul O’Callaghan.
“Australians have always been proud to say they are believers in a ‘fair go’ for all people, including for those who are poor and disadvantaged,” he said. “So, we urge all voters to consider which of the political leaders is most likely to bring our community back from the recent trend of demonising people who seem to be a so-called drain on the public purse.”
“Australians struggling at the margins of society often do so due to circumstances which are outside of their control,” he said. “Just as we invest in essential infrastructure, we need to invest more adequately to help people find a job, put a roof over their head, kick their drug habit, build strong family relationships or, send their kids to early childhood schooling. A rapid spiral into poverty can happen unexpectedly to any of us and the spiral down is much quicker than the climb back-up to the top.”
“Our major political parties need to provide better leadership for supporting active participation in the community and in the workforce. This does not always mean higher spending. There is plenty of evidence that many policy and program solutions mainly involve more considered design and a longer term view of making change. This requires longer term investment, flexibility and promotion of innovation at government level,” he said.
“Specifically, on two issues regarded as low priorities by both major parties - the level of Newstart and Youth Allowances should be brought up to a satisfactory minimum level for people to live and the incentive system to assist jobseekers with significant disadvantages needs a major overall. The unproductive recent political debates about what is an adequate income for job seekers could be overcome by creating an independent and expert commission to analyse and make recommendations to Government – just the way the Remuneration Tribunal works for setting the salaries of politicians.”
“Amidst all the negative election slogans, CSSA urges all voters to look at which leaders are most likely to deliver a long term investment aimed at giving all Australians a fair go,” he said.
CONTACT: Jackie Brady 0417 220 779