Share the Benefit

We have much to be thankful and hopeful for in our younger generation.

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Share the Benefit

We have much to be thankful and hopeful for in our younger generation.

In June, the Messenger published a letter by Year 11 student, Elisabeth Hughes, to her Local Member of Parliament about the rate of the Newstart Allowance which has stayed at the same level for about 25 years.

Elisabeth’s passionate letter prompted a response by Mr Patrick Gorman MP who visited her at her home to talk about the issue. So impressed was he after speaking to Elisabeth, that he made a statement in Federal Parliament in support of raising the Newstart Allowance.

An extract of Mr Gorman MP’s speech to the House of Representatives on Tuesday 23 July 2019 follows:

"Anglicare recently conducted the Share the Benefit challenge. This is about encouraging families to try living on Newstart for a week. Elisabeth, a year 11 student in my electorate, tried with her family to live on Newstart for a week. She’s smart and determined and is going to go very, very far in this world. But she and her family could not do it.

In the electorate of Perth we are facing a very unfortunate increase in homelessness, as many of my Western Australian colleagues know. This is, no doubt, a symptom of the challenges people are having living on inadequate government support payments.

The national figures in May 2019 show that some 46,799 Western Australians are living on Newstart. Some 4,000 of those are in my electorate. When I say ‘living’, they are attempting to get by. Three million people live in poverty in Australia today, and 739,000 of those are children. Ten years ago, this parliament acted to help lift pensioners out of poverty. We should do the same. It’s time for the government to increase Newstart."

Published in Messenger, September 2019

Elisabeth Hughes and Mr Patrick Gorman MP
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Share the benefit letter

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