Wednesday, 2 September 2020
That the Senate—
(a) notes that this is the last sitting week before the Federal Budget will be handed down on 6 October 2020;
(b) recognises that the poverty rate for people on JobSeeker Payment dropped from 67% to 6.8% after the introduction of the $550 Coronavirus Supplement;
(c) acknowledges that, when the Coronavirus Supplement is cut by $300 a fortnight on 25 September 2020:
(i) the number of people in poverty will increase by 740,000,
(ii) people in our community will be in mortgage stress and rental affordability will plummet to 0.2% for people on JobSeeker Payment, and
(iii) more than 1.1 million children will be living in households that have their incomes cut;
(d) recognises the importance of leaders showing support for unemployed workers during these times; and
(e) calls on the Government to:
(i) maintain the rate of the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight to ensure people on income support do not slip into poverty during this pandemic and recovery; and
(ii) include adequate increases to income support in the October Budget that ensure that people on income support can live above the poverty line.
Labor won't be supporting this motion. We note that the Greens have moved motions like this over the past fortnight and have used them to campaign against the Labor Party. My suggestion is—
Senator Siewert interjecting—
My suggestion is that the Greens and the Australian Labor Party work together to hold the government to account to permanently increase the rate of Newstart and use the powers that the parliament has given them to determine the adequate rate of the coronavirus supplement. I think that would be a much better thing to do than to get a short little buzz on Twitter by campaigning against the side of progressive politics. But we think it's up to the government to determine the rate. We think the rate should be permanently increased and we think the government need to determine what the coronavirus supplement should be. Don't let them off the hook!
Honourable senators interjecting—