#COVID-19 All of us, together

A people-first response to COVID-19 that leaves no one behind

As we start to emerge out of the pandemic that has disrupted our lives for the best part of a year, we should be stronger as a community and ready to help those that need it. But instead we have seen the billionaires get richer, and more of our friends, family and neighbours are finding it difficult to pay rent and put food on the table.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us after years of Liberal governments have ripped funding out of healthcare, chronically underfunded our hospitals and cut away at our social safety net – while propping up their big business mates.

Right now there are 1.3 million people looking for work and only 129,000 job vacancies. With JobKeeper due to end on 28 March and Jobseeker payments being cut on 1 April the Government is making cuts that will only further increase inequality and pull us deeper into an inequality and jobs crisis.

The Greens are fighting to ensure that every single one of us has access to get the support they need to get through this – with no one left behind.

Greens repsonse to COVID-19: No one left behind

Australia faces an unprecedented public health threat with the outbreak of COVID-19. This is a time to show solidarity and take the necessary actions as a community to ensure that no one is left behind.

So far, we have successfully helped:

✅ Eviction Ban to protect Renters, nationwide (commercial and residential) - Thousands of people added their voice to our campaign. We kicked off changes in NSW and TAS, state parliaments on a Tuesday and Wednesday. We wrote to the PM, Premiers and Chief Ministers' National Cabinet, and by Sunday agreement had been reached. This is people power. And there's still more to do...

✅ Additional income support for people on Newstart (JobSeeker) - Individuals on Newstart will get an additional $550 COVID supplement during the crisis, and a temporarily lift on mutual obligation requirements until 27 April 2020. While these measures are only temporary, we'll continue fight for permanent improvements.

✅ Additional income support for Students on Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy - Students will get an additional $550 COVID supplement during the crisis. While these measures are only temporary, we'll continue fight for permanent improvements.

✅ Support for the Not For Profit sector - Originally shut out of the government’s small business support package, many organisations that provide support to the most vulnerable people in our communities now have access to support to keep their services functioning.

The Greens continue to fight for:

👩‍🍳 Extending JobKeeper - to support the millions of casual workers who’ve been employed for less than 12 months, workers on temporary visas and international students who the Government is leaving behind. Sign to support workers

🏠 A roof over everyone's head – stronger protection for mortgage-holders and renters with access to mortgage payment holidays and rent payment holidays, increases to Centrelink Rent Assistance and emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. Everyone deserves a home

♿️ Raise the DSP and Carers payment - disabled people and people receiving a carers allowance are currently excluded from the stimulus package. Faced with rising costs, and already extremely high levels of poverty It is unacceptable that disabled people have been excluded. Sign your name

🎥 Support for the Arts Industry, Artists and those working in the Arts sector with a $1 billion emergency package to save our creative industries from collapse and future proof them. Support our artists & creators

👩‍👧‍👦 Increased funding for frontline domestic violence support services - google searches for domestic violence assistance are at a five-year peak. Learn more Sign your name

☂️ Permanent changes to the Centrelink social safety net – End Robodebt and suspend mutual obligations for the long term, permanently increase income support after the COVID-19 supplement ends and more. Learn more

 

Greens COVID-19 detailed responses:

🏘 Rent and Mortgage holidays

Rent and Mortgage holidays

We've heard from tens of thousands of people who fear they will be kicked onto the streets and we're deeply concerned about the half-measures in place around keeping people in housing.

"Everyone needs a home."

This simple, universal truth is the opening line in the letter sent by Adam Bandt and Senator Mehreen Faruqi to the PM, State and Territory leaders last week.

Millions will struggle to pay rents and mortgages in the months ahead. We can't allow people to be evicted into homelessness or left with crippling debt — especially during a pandemic.

The Tasmanian Greens secured a 120 day ban on evictions in Tasmania (on the 25/03/2020), and a day earlier, the Greens NSW secured special powers for the Housing Minister to step in to stop evictions. By Sunday 29 March, agreement had been reached for a national moratorium on residential and commercial evictions. This is people power 💪

We're keeping the pressure up for a national response:
💚 rent & mortgage holidays
💚 $ for homeless services

We need rent holidays and mortgage holidays and a ban on evictions right now to ensure that people can keep a roof over their heads.

Yes, everyone needs a home »


Published 27/03/2020 | Updated: 29/3/2020

👩‍⚕️ Pandemic health plan

COVID-19 Pandemic Health Plan response

Australia faces an unprecedented public health threat with the outbreak of COVID-19. This is a time to show solidarity and take the necessary actions as a community to ensure that no one is left behind.

The Australian Greens are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation, and encourage all Australians to follow the available advice on the Health Department website.

At this time, clarity of the information to the Australian public is of critical importance.

The National Cabinet of state, territory premiers and the commonwealth must act swiftly and decisively on the advice it receives from the public health experts and chief medical officers, and provide clear, up to date information to the Australian public about the evolving situation. We will support the National Cabinet as a single source of information and advice so long as it is led by the advice of experts.

Australia’s health system is under strain, and it is clear that this crisis will result in a significant peak in patients requiring acute care in our hospital system. The number of intensive care beds will be the key to how many people die in the crisis.

Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for our frontline health workers is of critical importance, and the current shortage is a serious concern. We are calling on the government to urgently guarantee the supply of all necessary PPE for our health workers so that they are not left at increased risk of infection as they go about their essential work saving Australian lives.  

Australians are now being urged to get their flu shot early to ensure they are not hit with the double effects of influenza and COVID-19. The Greens are calling on the government to make the flu shot free for everyone so that it’s not just available to those who can afford it.

COVID 19 will impact older people disproportionately but people of all ages can get seriously ill from the virus. If our health system is overwhelmed by COVID 19, it threatens our ability to respond adequately to other medical emergencies such as heart attacks or other illnesses.

The Australian Greens are calling on the government to ensure that no one is left behind as they deal with the consequences of the coronavirus. 

First published 17/3/2020 | Updated: 04/2/2020

Centrelink - changes that create a social safety net for everyone

As the crisis continues, as many as 1 in 10 Australians will lose their jobs, as entire sectors of the economy shut down in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In the face of this unprecedented crisis, we have to urgently strengthen our social safety net to make sure that no one is left behind.

For years, the Liberal government has prioritised the profits made by their big corporate mates over delivering services for the people they are meant to represent. They’ve cut away at our income support systems, they’ve ripped funding out of healthcare, and chronically underfunded our hospitals and they’ve targeted people who need assistance. They’ve left millions of Australians living below the poverty line. 

In the face of this crisis, when more people need assistance than ever, we are seeing enormous cracks in our health and social safety net systems. Right now, the government is scrambling to create services and safety nets – these services should already exist.

Centrelink is not fit for purpose and currently lacks the capacity to adequately deal with an increased workload resulting from the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

People can’t afford to wait weeks to receive their payment, the economy is in crisis right now. People are in crisis now.
That’s why we need a substantial increase in Centrelink staffing capacity, a suspension of mutual obligation requirements, cancellation of Robodebt, and the waiving of both the liquid assets test and other waiting periods to ensure that people can quickly access the support they need to weather this crisis.

 

The Greens and community organisations have pressured the government into making  significant changes to Centrelink support since the beginning of the crisis:

✅ Increased support for people on Newstart (JobSeeker) will now receive a temporary COVID-19 supplement. We'll continue to fight to make increased income support payments permanent.

✅ Students on Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy, originally excluded from the COVID-19 supplement, are now eligible.

✅ Attending Centrelink-manded 'Mutual Obligations' temporarily suspended – attending  appointments/activities is optional from Monday 23/3/2020 until 27/4/2020. Payments will NOT be suspended if you can’t attend because you’re physical distancing.

✅ No new people added to the Cashless Debit Card "Trial"


We are still putting pressure on the Government to:

  • People on Disability Support (DSP) and the Carer Payment must also receive the $550/ftnight COVID-19 supplement
     
  • Pause all mutual obligation requirements indefinitely for all people until the virus is contained, including jobactive, ParentsNext, and Community Development Program participants.
     
  • Raise Rent Assistance rates
     
  • Cancel all robodebts and repay and compensate victims
     
  • Expedite processing times for income support applications for those who are sick, have been in contact with someone who is sick, or needs to care for someone who is sick
     
  • Ensure students do not have a disruption in payments if University and TAFE are not providing alternative ways to learn, or classes are cancelled or postponed
     
  • Ensure no $750 payments are quarantined on the Cashless Debit Card - they should be paid directly into people’s bank accounts.
     
  • An additional payment for families with children whose primary income is social security
     
  • Provide access to income support for temporary visa holders – about 1.5 million people in Australia on temporary visas, and the Government has an urgent responsibility to provide income support for those who need it.

Now more than ever we need a social security system that supports everyone.

 
Updated: 29/3/2020

👩‍👧‍👦 Reducing domestic and family violence — during the coronavirus crisis

Reducing family violence during the coronavirus crisis

Quarantining at home can put women and children living with violence further at risk. Google searches for domestic violence assistance are at a five-year peak and some services are already reporting an increase in demand.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Government must do more to fund the frontline services that protect people experiencing family violence.

Everyone deserves to feel safe at home. But experience overseas shows that being at home during the COVID-19 crisis can put some women and children at higher risk of abuse from violent or controlling partners.

In the coming months, financial pressures, anxiety, restricted access to friends and family, and lack of escape options will mean that some women and children are not safe at home.

Domestic and family violence services are already under strain and need significant additional resources. The COVID-19 crisis will increase demand and change the way that assistance can be provided.

The Greens welcome the announcement of additional funding for domestic violence counselling and referral services during this crisis, but warn more targeted funding is essential to create extra capacity.

“Helping victims to understand their options and the services available to them is critical. But without extra funding for the already stretched services women are being sent to, more referrals just creates more unmet demand."

“The scale of government assistance for frontline services supporting survivors of family and domestic violence does not meet the demand fuelled by self-isolation during the Covid-19 crisis.”

“An additional $150 million to a referral and counselling phone line is inadequate when experts say housing (both crisis and long-term), legal support and policing is needed."
– Greens Senate Leader and spokesperson on Women, Senator Larissa Waters.

The Government must make sure that women and children fleeing dangerous situations have somewhere to turn.

The Australian Greens are calling on the government to:

  • Urgently fund crisis accommodation
  • Waive time limits on accessing crisis accommodation to ensure women and children can safely self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days
  • Urgently increase funding for frontline domestic and family violence services to respond to increased and changing demands by:
    • increasing staff;
    • implementing public health protocols;
    • investing in new technology to allow remote advice and support services to be delivered safely and securely.
  • Increase funding for Safe at Home programs
  • Work with the COAG Women’s Safety Council to ensure specialist domestic and family violence police officers are available to oversee DVO / AVO applications and enforcement.

To get through this crisis we all need to work together and find ways to ensure everyone is safe from violence.


First published 23/03/2020 | Updated 28/03/2020

COVID-19 Vaccinnation

 

As Australia begins our vaccine rollout, we believe Covid-19 vaccines should be provided on a voluntary basis and free of charge to the whole population.

We support the safe, efficient rollout of Covid-19 vaccines across Australia as early as possible in order to protect our health system and vulnerable members of our community.

It is critical that we prioritise everyone’s safety in the vaccine rollout. All Covid-19 vaccines must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to ensure their efficacy and safety.

The AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Novavax and Moderna vaccines all offer protection to varying degrees from illness caused by the dominant strain in Australia. We still don’t know the efficacy of these vaccines in preventing the transmission of Covid-19 and we will continue to take advice from the health experts on this.

There is evidence that the mRNA vaccines are more effective and easier to adapt to new strains and mRNA technology is set to revolutionise drug and vaccine development. We should be investing in Australia’s capacity to manufacture mRNA technology onshore.

We are strongly supportive of health care and aged care workers getting vaccinated. We will follow the advice of health experts regarding the need for mandatory vaccines for frontline workers.

It is important that all Australians have a record of their Covid-19 vaccinations that is easily accessible. These records should be confidential.

Information and messaging about Covid-19 vaccines should be provided in a transparent, accessible and honest way so that everyone can make informed decisions.

The Greens encourage everyone in the community to get vaccinated in order to protect our health system and vulnerable members of our community. This includes supporting our neighbours in the Pacific Region to get timely and equitable access to the best Covid-19 vaccines available.

The Greens support a strong public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic and that includes vaccination.

Steps to vaccine development in Australia

Step 1: Research and discovery: Research into vaccine candidates is undertaken by universities, non-for profit organisations and pharmaceutical companies.

Step 2: Pre-clinical trials: Pre-clinical trials involve laboratory studies to show if a vaccine could be useful and safe for humans. This helps sort out the most promising candidates to go on to human clinical trials. 

Step 3: Clinical trials: Clinical trials measure how a vaccine will work by testing it on a large number of people. Vaccine candidates go through several phases of clinical trials to identify safety, dosage, side effects, efficacy and comparability. 

Clinical trials happen in many places including hospitals, medical institutes, universities and research centres. Results of clinical trials are published, and to be credible, need to be published in peer reviewed journals. 

Australian Clinical Trials are governed by established ethical principles and research guidelines, including by Human Research Ethics Committees under the auspices of the National Health and Medical Research Council. 

Step 4: Approval by the TGA: All vaccines must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia. 

The TGA assesses the results of clinical trials and the way that trials were designed and conducted. The TGA looks at the benefits of new vaccines, including any possible side effects, to determine whether it is both safe and effective for use in Australia. This means testing every ingredient in the vaccine for safety, quality and effectiveness. 

The TGA also checks that the vaccine meets manufacturing quality standards and assesses the quality of all vaccine batches before they are supplied in Australia. 

Once vaccines are approved for use in Australia, the TGA monitors and reports on any side effects of vaccines. Adverse events are publicly listed on the Database of Adverse Event Notifications.

Results of clinical trials into Covid-19 vaccines:

Further information about Covid-19 vaccines is available on the Health Direct Website and NPS Medicinewise Website

 

COVID-19 media responses from Greens MPs and Senators

The Greens are calling on the government to ensure no one is left behind in this pandemic.

Decades of under-funding have left gaping holes in our social safety net, our health system, and the government's responses so far have done little to stem job losses. Financial insecurity has many households facing eviction and homelessness. This will only increase when JobKeeper is cut throwing 1.3 million workers and businesses into further uncertainty.

It is the government's number one job to keep people safe. We’re in a pandemic, and this is not the time for half measures.

All Greens COVID-19 media responses »

COVID-19: Information in-language

ENGLISH COVID-19 Information - How you can stop the spread of the virus, good hygiene advice, what to do if you're feeling unwell and ways you can help others in the community. For full text, please refer to the PDFs linked in the next section

COVID-19 keeping our community healthy. For full text, please refer to the PDFs linked in the next section

COVID-19 useful services listing - interpreter services and family violence services. For full text, please refer to the PDFs linked in the next section

COVID-19 useful services - mental health, trustworthy information. For full text, please refer to the PDFs linked in the next section

COVID-19 in-language summaries

Not all communities have had easy-to-access information provided in-language.

Square-format imagesideal for sharing on Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Information on keeping our community healthy, including — how you can prevent the spread of the virus, good hygiene practices, what to do if you're feeling unwell and ways you can help others in the community.

Printable / Full text PDF

Keeping our community healthy - A3 pamphlet, all 14 languages listed above (pdf)

PDF also available with printer marks

Information is accurate as of 09/04/2020

Interpreter services

Tarjumidda adeegyada / Tajaajiila hiika afaanii / የማስተርጎም ኣገልግሎት / ግልጋሎት ምስትርጓም / Ajuiir ke wɛ̈ ɛ̈ r thook / Sözlü Çeviri / خدمات الترجمة / Hizmetleri / Dịch vụ Thông ngô / 口译服务 / 傳譯服務 / Servizi Interpreti / Υπηρεσίες διερμηνείας / Servicios de Interpretación

  • Interpreter service: 131450
    - You must say you need to talk about the coronavirus.
  • Centrelink multilingual phone service: 131 202

Mental Health

Caafimaadka dhimirka (maskaxda) / Fayyina mataa / የኣእምሮ ጤና / ናይ ኣእምሮ ጥዕና / الصحة النفسية / Tuaany de nhom / Akıl Sağlığı / Sức khoẻ Tâm thần / 精神健康 / 精 神健康 / Salute mentale / Ψυχική υγεία / Salud Mental

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone about your mental health, call:

  • Beyond Blue anxiety assistance: 1300 22 4636
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14

Trustworthy Information

Macluumaadka lagu kalsoonaankaro / Odeeffannoo qabatamaa / ታማኝ መረጃዎች / ተኣማኒ መረዳእታ /معلومات جديرة بالثقة / Wël ke lëk lɔcök / Güvenilir Bilgiler / Thông tin đáng tin cậy / 值得信赖的 信息 / 可信的資訊 / Informazioni affidabili / Αξιόπιστες πληροφορίες / Información Confiable

SBS News on Coronavirus in your Language:
COVID19 information in more than 60 languages »

For the most up-to-date advice, please follow the directive of professional advisory bodies and health departments in your state or territory:

Government Health information: