A Real Alternative


sign labour vs lnp

It is becoming more and more clear that the difference between the two major political parties here in Australia is in rhetoric only. Both have been slowly eroding legislation that has for years enables those in poor circumstances the opportunity to support themselves and their children.

We’ve watched free university education fall to the Higher Education Scheme and the cost per semester increasing with every year.  As a country we have had to watch as the conservatives and the left dismantle essential Mental Health programs as well as those for the homeless and at risk persons.  In particular the current federal LNP government has been attempting to overturn environmental protections on some of our most important world heritage listings in the aim of short-term profit over long-term damage.

greens 2For many years the smaller parties and independents have not held the numbers to seriously impact legislation and have also been tied to more singular orientated policies while leaving other issues unaddressed.  This has been changing however and in the past year especially The Australian Greens have begun to make an impact at both the state and federal level in both houses of parliament and in variety of areas.

Today we saw a giant step in policy for this party as they move to address an issue that both the Labour and LNP have successively undermined. In recent years we’ve seen massive cuts to the single mothers pension, first under Howard and then with Labour under Gillard and we have been left wondering just who are we voting for. Successive Labor and Liberal governments have made it harder for single parents, reducing their level of income support and cutting payments out completely when the children are still as young as 8 years old.

Today the Greens announced a bill to change that.

green sinlge mums

“This bill would scrap the Howard Government’s changes to parenting payments, which dumped single parents onto Newstart when their youngest child turns eight. It would also restore the payments of those parents affected by the Gillard Government’s January 2013 payment cuts,” – Senator Rachel Siewert

If you would like to read more about this bill please follow the link to The Australian Greens.

26 thoughts on “A Real Alternative

  1. In contrast maternity leave. has been introduced. It is non-means tested up to $150,000 a year, and is not dependent at all on what the husband / partner earns.I support women staying home to look after their children and wish there had been support when I had my babies. However, does someone earning $149,000 a year need this income support more than the single mother?

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    • No – I do like the idea of paid maternity leave but it is in my mind not something that should be put ahead of those who have no income at all. It is the reason that the age of the single parent payment has been reduced to 8 as the cut off point. I don’t want to say it is a bad idea but others who have a greater need should not suffer for it which is what has been happening.

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  2. Hi Jenni! i just dropped over from Holistic Wayfarer where you posted today. I enjoyed your writing very much and came over to subscribe. Thank you. Keep up the good work!

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    • Thank you for taking the time to visit – I’ll actually be doing a few pieces about Australia over the next couple of weeks as they seem to be quite popular and not many people have heard of some of our animals, other than the koala and kangaroo.

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  3. These governments are doing this everywhere. It’s exactly the same in the UK. It’s almost as if they’ve all signed up to some ‘masonic’ club with promises to wreak the most damage they possibly can on ordinary people. It beggars belief and I fear for the future. I don’t have children but I do have nieces and nephews and the thought of what they will inherit is unthinkable.

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    • It does seem that way – it’s like they’re trying to make up for decades of poor long term planning with even worse short term budget cuts coupled with overturning legislation that protects our heritage so as some company can wring a short term profit out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always liked the policies of the greens but have concerns over their lack on policies on some important issues. Hopefully the UK greens will follow the example of the Australian greens.

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    • It’s been a long time coming but I think that the other parties have made themselves so very unpopular that it is the time for groups like the greens etc to expand their policy scope and take advantage of the confusion to solidify their base.

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  5. I agree that the problem is similar in the US, except that we have no viable small parties at the federal level to make any impact. I’m glad your Green party is in a position to propose legislation and hope that they can gather support from some like-minded folks in the large parties so that it will get enacted.

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    • That is what a lot of us are hoping for and it is why we’re backing them in any way we can. The Western Australian elections are going to be a testing ground for representatives at a state level so I, along with others around Australia, will be watching to see what happens there.

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  6. I think this problem is everywhere: a system that pretends there is choice when really it is about maintaining power structures. I’m inclined to believe Russell Brand when he says that voting is a waste of time. Activism isn’t though. There will always be power in people organizing themselves.

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    • I do think voting is important but I think that the power of activism has more sway now than it has had in the past due to the social media and internet. It is almost impossible to police or censor it and as a result governments do have to pay attention when backed into corners.

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      • Like Margaret Mead’s “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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      • I just cut and paste that to my quote file – hope you don’t mind but I make a habit of collecting them because if you don’t at the time you’ll never remember them properly when you need them for a paper or article.

        Thanks for sending it and it is quite accurate it is one of the few things that has had true impact in this world both for good and for bad.

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  7. In America we have no political choice. The 2 party’s give you different rhetoric but govern the same way. 3rd party challenges are a waste of time. I’m beginning to think that the only way to fix the problem is a new form of government.

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    • We’ve been seeing that here in Australia and for awhile I couldn’t see any real alternative but it does appear that The Australian Greens are attempting to take up the challenge and are moving into areas commonly left to the major parties. The elections in Western Australia this weekend will be a bit of a testing ground to see in the greens can gain an even stronger foothold in both houses of parliament.

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      • That’s good for Australia. The larger the pool of ideas the better. The US has a pool of political ideas that is about an 1″ deep.

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      • It is hard when there are no real alternative and I have to say that the American system seems crippled under the strain of infighting and spin doctoring all geared toward re-election rather than actually governing. Sad I think.

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