This morning Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for government services and social services, will debate the Greens’ Antipoverty Commission Bill.
This Bill would set up the Antipoverty Commission, an independent body to provide independent and transparent advice to the government about alleviating poverty in Australia.
The Bill goes further than the current interim Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee which is due ahead of next year’s budget, and provides a clear framework for a robust body to tackle poverty.
The Greens’ Antipoverty Commission is a benchmark to assess future legislation and to ensure we have the best chance of eradicating poverty in Australia.
Lines attributable to Greens spokesperson for government services and social services Senator Janet Rice:
“Successive governments have used the lack of a national definition of poverty as an excuse to keep people living on inadequate income support payments. We need a national definition of poverty - one that takes into account different needs and contexts, and one that the government can be held accountable to.
“This week in Parliament has shown that the Labor Government has some major issues when it comes to dealing with transparency in politics. Establishing more truly independent bodies to advise government is an important starting point.
“While the Greens support the concept of and work done by the interim Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, it is abundantly clear that the original committee does not go far enough to tackle poverty in Australia. There’s no way to ensure that the people appointed to the Committee are truly independent from vested corporate interests.
“Poverty is a political choice. Labor is choosing to keep millions of Australians on income support well below the poverty line. All Centrelink payments must be raised above the poverty line to $88 a day.
“If this last year of a Labor government has shown us anything, it’s that they do not take tackling poverty seriously. We need an explicit focus on addressing poverty in the shape of a commission to develop a national poverty line. We need an independent commission that listens to people with direct experiences of poverty and experts who make independent recommendations to the government.
“At this stage, the combined cost of living and housing crisis aren’t going anywhere and people’s lives are getting harder. A truly independent Antipoverty Commission will help us navigate this difficult time and be the self-standing body we need to guide us on how to fix it.”