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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



Poverty in Australia: the ‘wake-up call’

One in seven Australians lives in poverty, and the situation is getting worse writes Dean Maloney in Red Flag. That’s the startling conclusion of a comprehensive report released on 12 October by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS).

Poverty in Australia 2014 found that more than 2.5 million people, including 600,000 children, struggle below the poverty line. Despite almost uninterrupted economic growth, poverty in Australia has increased in the last decade.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said that the findings are a “wake-up call” and “shine a spotlight on the current policy direction of [the] federal government.

“In particular … over a third of children in sole parent families [are] living in poverty. This is due to the lower levels of employment among sole parent households, especially those with very young children, and the low level of social security payments for these families.”

Social security

The most widely needed social security payments fall well below the poverty line, which is calculated at $400 per week for a single person. More than half of those on the Newstart allowance live in poverty, as do almost half of those who rely on the disability support pension or parenting payment.

Red Flag contacted the Welfare Rights Network about the report. Network president Maree O’Halloran labelled its findings “disturbing but unsurprising”.

“Since 2011, the number of people out of work for more than 24 months has surged by a massive 234 percent”, she said. “Many of these 355,000 job seekers have been living lives of unseen desperation on manifestly inadequate social security support.”

The extreme hardship many endure is illustrated by research published in the Economic and Labour Relations Review, which found that a quarter of Newstart recipients in Sydney’s inner west who have been jobless for more than a year have begged on the street for help.

“It is critical that the harsh social security bills before the parliament, which will remove benefits from single parents, cut important programs like to Pensioner Education Supplement, freeze family payments and limit future pension rises, are stopped in their tracks”, O’Halloran said.

Working Poor

It isn’t just welfare recipients who are struggling. Almost 800,000 people live below the poverty line despite being in paid work.

Hayden, a young retail industry worker and part time student, told Red Flag about the difficulties he has trying to get by: “After paying rent and bills each week, I’m left with about $65 and that mostly buys food and train tickets.” The report’s findings didn’t surprise him.

“Each week I always seem to overhear or get involved in a conversation about the cost of living in Sydney, the exorbitant prices of commuting and the lack of full time and even graduate employment available”, he said. “I work as a casual and therefore get a slightly higher rate of pay per hour. I don’t know how some of my part time workmates survive each week while also juggling uni.”

To add insult to injury, hospitality bosses have been attacking penalty rates, which many workers in the industry rely on. “There have already been calls from retail executives and from Liberal politicians to cut penalty rates on public holidays and weekends”, Hayden said. “At that point I will have to reconsider uni and search for full time employment, probably in my current retail job, just to make ends meet. It’s hard enough juggling study and work, and at times I feel like I’ll never get ahead.”

That feeling isn’t confined to students and young workers. The data show that those aged 25 to 64 are only a fraction less likely to be poor than younger people.

Confirming the findings of the report, research carried out by Ernst and Young also reveals that one in five households has been unable to pay an electricity bill in the past year. In NSW the energy and water ombudsman has reported “a worrying increase in complaints as a consequence of affordability problems, particularly completed disconnection”.

Poem: An uncertain future


What am I going to do about money?

I see my mum who worked all her life

but she has no money.

So yeah,

it’s pretty bad

when you work all your life and your only income

is the pension.

If I did have children …

I don’t have any savings or a stable job;

it would be really stressful I think.

And not being able to do anything.

And if you get sick you’re a bit stuffed too.

So …



Source: Poverty in Australia 2014 report



Comment from Lorikeet
Time October 17, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Yes, it’s very sad. Sadder still is the fact that the vast majority of Australians still have not seen the light and ceased voting for Labor and Coalition.

Yesterday I heard that some companies are encouraging women to have their eggs frozen so they can have children when they are older, which still remains an imperfect science.

This idea will give capitalist employers greater access to workers in their preferred age category, the 25 to 45 age group. That is, those who have been educated and trained at their own expense, experienced and mostly not yet suffering from workplace injuries and diseases of ageing.

This idea will also ramp up damage to the Population Pyramid, and force more people into an early retirement.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time October 18, 2014 at 8:10 am

All of those who are unemployed should push for bulk billing in doctors’ surgeries, and concessional public transport fares.

Comment from Ross
Time October 19, 2014 at 5:58 am

The solution is to move back to govt banks that can create new money debt free.

I think the big collapse is not far off. When they went off the gold standard in 1971 fiat money grew expoentially and we are on the hockey stick curve of collapse now. Global debt is 5 times the GDP of the planet and the gambling derivative market is 20 times the GDP of the planet.

James Rickards the author of The Death of Money says we are in for a 25 yr Great Depression. Unless we the people take control of our money creation system ,things will only get worse.