A paltry $4 a day: Thousands of Victorians heading into poverty

As a result of the Facebook ban on Newsfeeds, I have reprinted this AGE article by Michael Perusco

The federal government’s announcement that it will increase the JobSeeker payment by a paltry $4 a day from March 31 will force tens of thousands of Victorian families into poverty.

All of the progress made last year in response to the pandemic to reduce homelessness and poverty will be undone.

When the government saw the economic crisis COVID-19 would bring, it rightly introduced the JobSeeker supplement – an additional $250 per fortnight. The supplement was reduced to $150 in December, and will be removed on March 31.

To be going backwards as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, and forcing families to live on just $44 a day, simply defies logic.

Can you remember the last time you spent less than $44 a day?

When you add up your morning coffee, maybe a piece of toast, some lunch and a drink, groceries for dinner … and don’t forget to count the bills – electricity, water and petrol to name a few – and rent. The median rent in Melbourne is $400 a week.

On $44 a day, tens of thousands of Victorians will be forced to eat the bare minimum. Perhaps a tin of food and some porridge a day. They’ll shower once a week to save on bills. They’ll have insecure housing – either couch surfing or living in their car. Some will be trapped in abusive relationships.

Poverty and financial hardship creates a raft of challenges in and for our communities. It can cause increased family conflicts and separations, family violence, substance misuse and abuse, housing stress and homelessness, and crime.

One in six Australian children lives in poverty. That is simply heartbreaking.

The fact is, if families and children do not have their basic needs met – a place to sleep, food on the table, the ability to get to school – they are significantly less likely to begin to be able to address the other, more complex issues in their lives.

For the past year, the JobSeeker supplement has enabled families to better meet basic household needs and relieve financial stress.

At just $44 a day, we will continue to entrench families in poverty and compound the risks of family violence, poor mental health, housing stress, complex trauma, and the range of other issues that can lead to family separation and child placement in out-of-home care.

There are currently around 50,000 children involved with the child protection system in Victoria, with nearly 12,000 living in out-of-home care. At Berry Street, we know that, sadly, half of the young people who leave out-of-home care when they turn 18 experience homelessness. The current youth unemployment rate in Australia is just under 12 per cent, and the reality of young people trying to strike it out on their own with little to no income support is a huge challenge.

Making the $150 JobSeeker supplement a permanent increase would go some way to alleviating a number of pressures on vulnerable families, and addressing the compounding factors of disadvantage that can result in families being separated and children entering out-of-home care.

Michael Perusco is the chief executive of Berry Street child and family services.

Letter to My Grandson xxxxiv

You walk towards me with a sad-serious look on your face.

“Papa, I want you to stay 76 for ever.”

“I know, sweetheart, but I am going to have my 77thbirthday this year,

And you are going to have two new teeth. 

Everybody gets older.”

“I know,” you say.

We have this game that you play,

“Papa, how old will I be when you’re 90?”

I tell you that you will be 20.

You continue testing the limits of my mortality,

“Papa, how old will I be when you’re 100?”

I tell you that you will be 30.

Soon you will stop asking “When?”

And start asking “If.”

Letter to My Grandson xxxxiii

Winton is losing his teeth. His first front tooth fell out while he was eating and he swallowed it. He got this letter from the Tooth Fairy

Dear Winton,

I hear that your tooth fell out while you were eating and you may have swallowed it. 

Don’t worry, this happens to lots of children. So, I will explain what we do in such situations.

The tooth goes down into your tummy with the rest of your food. And later it comes out your bum with your poo.

Yuckity, Yuck. Don’t worry, I have a special team of fairies called the Poo Scooper Fairies. 

They come zooming in and find your tooth. Then they bring it to me at my Tooth Palace.

I have enclosed $5 for your tooth.


The Tooth Fairy


From the Washington Post: Trump-McConnell clash threatens to settle into a cold war as GOP eyes midterms

By Mike DeBonis and Josh DawseyFeb. 18, 2021 at 2:42 p.m. GMT+11

The Post writes: Were it up to former president Donald Trump, Republicans would spend the next two years purging their ranks and reshaping themselves in his own image — a process he moved to jump-start Tuesday with a searing attack on the party’s most powerful elected leader, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell (R-Ky.) has other ideas. Having held Trump responsible for both the loss of his Senate majority in the Jan. 5 Georgia runoffs and the deadly attack on the Capitol a day later, he has moved to chart a different path — one that steers clear of the former president’s personal grievances and conspiratorial rhetoric to put the GOP back in power as soon as possible.

The clash between the two men stands to define the Republican Party for years to come and was sketched out in a recent series of dramatic public attacks — with McConnell labeling Trump as “practically and morally responsible” for the Capitol riot in a Saturday speech, followed by Trump lashing into McConnell in a Tuesday statement as a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” who should be stricken from GOP leadership.

By acquitting Trump, Republican senators are taking the GOP down the path of misinformation and Mob Rule

The AGE reports that the move to impeach Donald Trump has failed. It failed because 46 Republican senators voted not to impeach. This will allow Donald Trump to run for president in 2026.

METROWEEKLY Demonstrators surge into the U.S. Capitol Building during the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6 – Photo: Lloyd Wolf.

The actions of these 46 legislators have profound ramifications for democracy in America. It is now clear that there is no constraint on a US president exhorting Mob Rule against his opponents.

US citizens should be concerned about the ex-President’s actions during and before the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Despite his denials, he clearly inflamed and exacerbated the situation. Despite his denials, the mob clearly saw him as encouraging their actions, some of which were clearly murderous. He also refused to exhort the protest to be peaceful and was extremely tardy in mobilising National Guards to suppress the riot.

Frightningly, Trump singled out individuals for the mob’s attention. Most notably his colleague, supporter, fellow party member Republican Vice-President, Mike Pence. All because Pence refused to stop the ratification the Electoral College votes that elected Joe Biden President. But Trump also singled out others for the mob’s murderous attention: political opponents Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney.

Through the verbal smokescreen of lack of constitutionality of the impeachment, one thing is clear.

It now means that future US Presidents can invoke mob rule to storm the seat of government when they lose an election.

There is nothing to suggest that, should be re-elected in 2026 He will not use these tactics again to bully, intimidate and suborn political opponents.

And the mob the storms Capitol Hill next time will be better organised and far more dangerous.