Julia Banks, Federal MP for Chisholm, has gone on record saying that she could live on the $40/day Newstart allowance. How much more out of touch can you get?!
There are hundreds of thousands of people living on Newstart who are unable to make ends meet. Julia Banks owes it to these people to explain how she could live on Newstart.
We call on Banks to make good on her words and live off Newstart for a week, using it to pay all her living expenses. If she can't, she should resign.
Why is this important?
In Australia, the Newstart Allowance is $350 per fortnight below the poverty line. It has not been increased in 24 years. It is the lowest unemployment benefit payment in the OECD.
The latest data shows that there are only three rental properties affordable to the 855,000 Australians collecting Newstart. According to the Salvation Army, after housing costs it is estimated that unemployed workers only have $17 per day,
The Business Council of Australia, Deloitte Access Economics, and even former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, all believe that Newstart should be raised as the payment is so low it becomes a barrier to work.
What they don't recognise is that Newstart recipients are not only locked out of the labour market because they can't afford to look for work, they are also locked out cause there is not enough to go around. The latest ABS data shows that on average there are 15 jobseekers competing for every job.
For this reason, the average period spent on Newstart is over 4 years.
And yet despite this, Julia Banks - who has a base salary of $200,000 per year and owns 6 investment properties - stated that she could live on Newstart.
When we went to her office to ask her how, she locked the doors. As an Member of Parliament, Julia Banks should be fixing this crisis, not kicking the unemployed while they are down.
Well its time to put up or shut up, Julia. Live on Newstart for one week or resign.
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