Monday, 20 October 2014

Welcome to the Institute of Public Affairs universe

In the modern Australia, where poverty is increasingly defined as the lack of a plasma television in an otherwise opulent home….
[Institute of Public Affairs, October 2014 occasional paper, Things are getting better all the time: A snapshot of Australian living standards in the long run]

This self-described think tank created in 1943, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), has been keenly supported by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and other right-wing politicians for many years.

Perhaps its rather strange understanding of comparative poverty in Australia, explains the Abbott Government’s 2014-15 Federal Budget and its punitive moves against the poor.

The real face of poverty in this country is not the absence of a plasma television, it looks like this:

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data:

In 2011-12 there were 272,400 Australian households with incomes below $300 per week. These households contained over one million people;

There were 105,237 people who were classified as being homeless on census night in 2011(up from 89,728 in 2006);

The number of homeless people in improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out on census night  was 6,813; and

In 2011 60% of homeless people were aged under 35 years, and 22% of the increase in homelessness was in the 25 to 34 years age group (up 22% to 19,311 homeless people in 2011).

In 2012 the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) revealed 2.2 million Australians were living below the poverty line.

Nearly 2 million people rely on some form of food aid each year and approximately half of them are children.

The underemployment rate in Australian in 2013 was 7.5 per cent.

Even with factors that affect labour force outcomes being the same, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people are still twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to be unemployed.

Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.1 per cent in September 2014.

Since January 2003 unemployment benefits have been below the Henderson Poverty Line, with a single adult of working age falling $196.02 short according to The Australia Institute
Calculations by The Australia Institute based on Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Poverty Lines: Australia (various issues), and Australian Government (2014) Guide to Social Security Law.
In 2013-2014 1 in 8 Australians couldn’t afford to pay their electricity bills.

The Echo Netdaily reported on 1 October 2014 that one in three elderly Australians are living in poverty, despite being among the most highly educated senior citizens in the world.

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