Big movement for economic and social justice is taking off

Contributed by Joe Montero

The new fast-growing national movement to hit Australia, Living Incomes For Everyone, is going to be formally launched next Tuesday (21 July). More than 60 unions, community and faith groups have signed on to the 3 demands – Keep the Rate, No one Left Behind, and an End Harassment (in the social security system).

Not bad going for a concept that began only about 5 weeks ago.

It is a sign of the times. Many Australians are coming to see that the situation is urgent, and that serious action is needed, to ensure that all are treated fairly.

On the ground, the reality is that it was getting harder to make ends meet for an increasing proportion of Australians, even before Covid-19 struck. The prospects are even dimmer now. This is why Living Incomes For Everyone is striking a chord with so many, and starting to attract a great deal of attention.

There is a sense that this is the time to strive for better and pull together to ensure betrer times ahead. Doing this, requires a new way of thinking, empowering ordinary people to band together and build a movement for change, from the ground up.

To succeed, every citizen must have enough income to cover the basic needs for decent housing, food and a rewarding life with dignity, participation, and a voice: Concepts that are now being talked about by more people.

Although hardly enough, the current Jobseeker and JobKeeper rates must be maintained as the starting point.

Progress depends on ditching the obsession with neoliberalism and the trickle-down effect, as the road to prosperity and a better life for everyone. This is not how it works. Most of us know that this path has led to the growing chasm, with a very few at the top doing well and almost everyone else being left a long way behind. It is not only those on social security benefits in this position. Real wages in general have stagnated and fallen backwards.

If we continue in this way, the nation will head to a precipice, an observation now shared by more than the usual suspects. Even many conservative economists are now saying that the future looks bad, and some are even saying that we cannot return to where we were before Covid-19.

The launch om 21 July will set the foundation for the ongoing growth of Living Incomes For Everyone. The online gathering will be addressed by the National Secretary of the United Workers Union Tim Kennedy, historian Humphrey McQueen, and economist Alison Pennington. Mark Seymour of Hunters and Collectors fame will perform. Other voices representing different sections of the community will be heard.

The date has been chosen to precede the federal government’s economic statement and will launch a series of community actions leading up to the September budget and beyond.

It is expected that many more will join this campaign during this period.

Register to participate via this link.

The launch will live streamed on Facebook

5 Comments on "Big movement for economic and social justice is taking off"

  1. With all this focus on Job Seeker/Job Keeper, what are your demands regarding DSP?

    Historically, this has been a higher rate that NewStart/JobSeeker/Whatever it has been called at the time, presumably in recognition that those on DSP aren’t able to work as much or at all, compared to those on NewStart etc and/or that people on DSP often have higher medical/aid/etc. costs.

    As you presumably know, those on DSP have not been getting the COVID supplement that has resulted in the JobSeeker rate being the rate it now is, and that you are demanding be kept. As someone who gets partial DSP and works part-time, I now need to go to do about 20 hours work a fortnight just to end up with the same income as someone on JobSeeker doing NO work whatsoever, or those who may have been doing just a couple of hours of work, now on JobKeeper. Keep in mind, that for most of my work pay, 50c in the dollar is deducted from my DSP payment.

    Are you going to be demanding that the DSP rate be raised to a higher base rate than the JobSeeker rate you’re demanding be kept, restoring that capacity recognition that has been broken? That the rates be the same, and thus you are denying the previous recognition of capacity differences?
    Or no change, leaving those on DSP behind those on JobSeeker? Maybe you haven’t even considered the situation of those on DSP at all, and they are irrelevant to you?

  2. I’m a UBI campaigner in Aus and am so thrilled by these iniatives. I thoroughly support it and will try to attract amap here in Adelaide where I live.

  3. Don Sutherland | 16 July 2020 at 9:35 am | Reply

    To Annonymous re DSP. Thank you for your insights. We clearly say no one left behind in our programme and, that all rates including DSP are raised so that they are in parity with. We have a DSP organisation rep speaking at our public launch next Tuesday. We do want be more powerful on the issues you raise and welcome you if you join in.

  4. We need to add the value of unpaid work to the arguments on living incomes. Paid work is generally connected to market forces and growing paid jobs to increases in GDP, none of which measure and reward only the hours of paid work’s commercial value. Before the industrial revolution, much of what was produced was consumed (subsistence) by the producer’s household, shared and exchanges with other others. One consequence of globalised world trading has been the growth of damage to the environment, now at crisis point!

    Estimates of women’s unpaid work in domestic and care is that it may equal up to half of GDP, if transposed to market forces. Cultural and creative effort that were part of daily life and community well being have often been added to commercial exchanges. Quality of life has become expensive and inequitably distributed but this mal-distribution is often hidden by its invisibility! It’s time we looked at some alternatives to systems that put the emphasis on paid work, and look at income support which recognises the diverse ways most of us do or could contribute to the common good
    why not a universal social dividend, not means tested but taxed that allowed us to budget time and skills in much more productive ways?

  5. LIVING INCOMES must be just that — a living income!!
    Our Aged & Invalid pensions are nowhere near as good as they were in 1947 in the liveability terms of the time.

    My grandparents back then were not rich, on the pension, lived fairly comfortably & even ran their 1935 Plymouth car as well, no major problems with finance.

    Bring that up to today, housing, food, running a basic sort of car, socialising moderately, the occasional trip to Lorne to stay with rellos, AND DOING THAT IN MODERATION WITHOUT FINANCIAL STRESS. — WE OLDIES CAN’T DO THAT ON TODAY’S PENSION.


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