#COVID-19 All of us, together

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

If the Coronavirus has shown us one thing,
it’s that we’re all in this together – and we will get through this together.

We’re seeing, very clearly, that our own health and the health of the people we love depends on the person next to us, and the person next to them.

We will all be touched by this health crisis in one way or another – protecting the most vulnerable amongst us, protects all of us.

As the crisis disrupts our daily lives and our ability to work, millions of us, including our friends, family and neighbours could lose our jobs and find it difficult to pay our rent and put food on the table.

It MUST be the first priority of the government to make sure no one is left behind. Right now, the government is scrambling to create services and safety nets. But these services should already exist.


No matter where you live, or how much money you have, you shouldn’t be left in the lurch.

For years, the Liberal/National government has ripped funding out of healthcare, chronically underfunded our hospitals and cut away at our social safety net – while propping up their big business mates.


We have strong concerns about the level of readiness of our health system and are actively pushing the Government to ensure we can double the number of intensive care beds and secure enough ventilators and protective supplies for our hospitals.

Now is the time for us to pull together. The Greens are fighting to ensure that every single one of us has access to adequate care, financial support and the paid time off that we need to get through this – with no one left behind. The choices our government makes now to help us get through this outbreak could set a better course for the future of our communities. 

Help make sure no one is left behind

Protecting Renters | no forced evictions
Australia needs a New Zealand-style LEVEL 4 COVID-19 LOCKDOWN + jobs guarantee + wages guarantee
Support for workers | Join the campaign
Save the arts industry | add your voice

Greens' response to the government's #COVID-19 plans

 
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 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) and Students on Youth Allowance, Austudy and Absutdy. All these groups get an additional $550 COVID supplement during the crisis, and a temporarily lift on mutual obligation requirements until 27/04/2020. 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.

We continue to fight for:

⚠️ A New Zealand-style stay-at-home Coronavirus Lockdown to ensure as many people as possible stay home – to flatten the curve and save lives. Support a Lockdown »

🏠 A roof over everyone's head – stronger protection for mortgage-holders and renters with access to mortgage holidays and rent holidays, increases to Centrelink Rent Assistance and emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. Sign your name »

🏥 Massive increase in Intensive Care (ICU) beds and ventilators - to ensure our frontline healthcare workers are equipped to deal with the peak. Learn more below ↓

♿️ 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 the AUWU petition »

👩‍🍳 80% wage subsidies for all workers - just like in the UK. 2 weeks sick leave for the 3.6 million casuals and other workers without leave entitlements and nation-wide extension of workers compensation to cover COVID-19. Sign to support Casual workers | Learn more about wage subsidies ↓

🎥 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. Sign your name »

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

☂️ Permanent changes to the Centrelink Social Safety Net – to raise the rate of the DSP and Carers payments, end Robodebt, suspend mutual obligations for the long term, permanently increase income support after the COVID-19 supplement ends and more. Learn more below ↓

 

Greens COVID-19 detailed responses:

⚠️ Full Coronavirus Lockdown + 👩‍⚕️ Pandemic health plan

To save lives, Australia needs a New Zealand-style mandatory stay-at-home lockdown

The number one job for the government right now is to protect lives. This is a health crisis of unprecedented scale. We need clear and consistent advice. This is the time for leadership to save lives.

Australia needs to adopt the common-sense New Zealand approach:

✅ Everyone must now stay home, except those providing essential services, and only make physical contact with those they live with.

✅ You can still access all the essentials they need, including medicine, food and other home supplies.

✅ You can still go for a walk, run, or bike ride, because exercise is crucial for people’s mental health, but it must be solitary, or with those you live with.

✅ You have an easy-to-follow list of what's in, what's out and what to do about it. This is critical so people have clear and consistent advice (e.g. here's NZ's list )

This approach ensures we #FlattenTheCurve and gives frontline heathcare workers and hospitals a fighting chance at dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will you add your name in support for a COVID-19 Lockdown?

I support a COVID-19 Lockdown »

 

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 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.

The government must explain what it is doing to ensure we can massively increase the number of intensive care beds and secure enough ventilators for our hospitals.

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. The government has completely failed to fully support the most vulnerable people with its stimulus package so far.

First published 17/3/2020 | Updated: 29/3/2020

👩‍🍳 80% Wage Guarantee + 🏘 Rent and Mortgage holidays

80% Wage Guarantee

We’re facing a reality where 1 in 10 workers could be out of work – but everyone needs an income during this crisis.

The government should pay any workers who have lost their jobs 80% of their wage so they can keep food on the table, a roof over their heads and keep their job.

We know it’s possible – they’ve done it in the UK. We should be supporting workers directly now, not waiting until they lose their jobs. Every job we save now is a job we don’t need to recreate later.

We’re handing out billions in support but the Morrison Government’s current approach is failing.

“Scott Morrison’s offering is a weak approach that like so many other Liberal policies, heavily favours people on higher incomes…. If a worker earns less than the tax free threshold of $18,000, the employer gets no financial benefit, so those workers won’t be kept on.

Adopting the UK model would result in employers receiving 5x more for the average working Australian than the government’s current policy, and they’ll get it now, not in five months’ time." – Adam Bandt

The Australian Greens, in unison with a growing number of business and workers groups, including the ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions), are in support of this measure, refusing to accept that Australia’s workers just have to join the queue for Centrelink until this is all over.

The Greens moved in Parliament on Monday 23 March for jobs and wages guarantees — but it was voted down by the Morrison Government.

“It is time for Scott Morrison to admit he made a mistake and implement a UK-style jobs and wages guarantees to protect 80% of people’s income. If he needs to recall Parliament, perhaps online, then so be it." – Adam Bandt

If we’re handing out billions in support, it has to go where it’s needed. Support workers. Not just corporations.

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

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

ℹ️ Ensuring all communities have access to the right information and support — including: First Nations people, disabled people, older Australians, LGBTQI+ people, rural and regional communities, people in detention and all temporary visa holders

We should all be able to access the information and support that we need to get through this crisis.

Many people in many communities aren’t being given the clear information they need to understand what this COVID-19 crisis means for them or what plans are in place to ensure that they have access to good healthcare if they need it.

The government must ensure that all people in all communities have access to the right information and support.

Many communities were already struggling to access these services and supports:

✊🏾 First Nations people, particularly those living in remote areas, need clear information and a guarantee that culturally appropriate services will continue to be made available throughout this crisis.

♿️ Disabled People – many disabled people need support to complete everyday tasks, like eating or showering, while others require around-the-clock support to survive. The community is worried that they won’t be able to continue receiving support and that the organisations that provide their support services will shut down.

👵🏼 Older Australians often rely on support services to help them go about their daily lives and provide them with care when they need it. Many older people and their families are worried that they won’t be able to access this help as the crisis continues to develop, and that the organisations they rely on won’t be there to support them.

🏞 Rural and Regional Communities often struggle to access basic health services and have lower life expectancies and worse outcomes on key health indicators. They need targeted support to help them get through this crisis.

🏳️‍🌈 LGBTIQ+ people often suffer from discrimination in our healthcare system and have higher rates of respiratory, auto-immune and mental health conditions compared to the general population. Targeted support is needed to help community organisations and health services that support the LGBTIQ+ community.

🔒 People in Detention must be supported by management and infection prevention protocols that are humane, respectful, and culturally sensitive. These must be implemented, updated and reviewed on an ongoing basis so that people in detention can practice social distancing while continuing to engage in recreational, social and faith-based programs.

🛂 1.5 million people in Australia on temporary visas are facing uncertain employment, many have no income and no capacity to leave the country due to restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic, and face losing their homes and jobs. The Australian Government has an urgent responsibility to provide income support for those who need it.

This includes people seeking asylum, people who hold temporary work or skilled visas, international students, people who hold working holiday visas and New Zealand citizens on non-protected Special Category Visas.
 

As a result, many people in many communities are feeling worried and uncertain about what this crisis means for them and for the people they love.

The Greens are calling on the government to urgently take action to ensure that:

  • All people and all communities have access to clear information, adequate funding and appropriate supports get through this crisis;
  • All people who require support can access additional funding to ensure they can continue to get the support they need;
  • Service providers can access additional funding to enable them to deliver essential supports throughout this crisis;
  • There is a stand-by workforce to ensure that people in our community who need support can have certainty that they will be able to get it, even if their usual service provider is unavailable;
  • No one is left without a home during this crisis, especially those in precarious and casual work. A nationwide freeze on evictions and rent rises, with additional funding for crisis and homelessness services is necessary;
  • Detainees who have passed medical and security checks are transferred into community detention, where they have family, faith, and other community ties that would help house and support them.
  • The 1.5 million people in Australia on temporary visas have access to income support during this crisis

Failing to address these issues will put the safety of our communities at risk. The government must take urgent action to ensure that everyone is supported through the COVID-19 crisis.

The Greens are listening to those in the community who are at risk, addressing their concerns about the COVID-19 crisis and making sure that they are heard. We understand that urgent action is needed to make sure that people have the information and support they need to get through this crisis together.

Our Greens movement will always prioritise the wellbeing of our community, and we're committed to ensuring that in this time of crisis, everyone has access to the information and appropriate support they need to live a good life.

 

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 crisis.

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.

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.

Recent major press announcements

Press announcements in specific policy areas:

All COVID-19 related information for the press and media is updated regularly and available at:  greensmps.org.au/covid19

COVID-19 media responses from Greens MPs & Senators »

Looking for COVID-19 health advice?

Where to find the latest COVID-19 health advice

Australian Government health resources:

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

healthdirect includes FAQ and symptom checker
health.gov.au Government updates, posters and translated resources for communities

State and territory-based health resources:

Qld NSW Vic
Tas SA WA
ACT NT