Showing posts with label Morrison Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morrison Government. Show all posts

Monday, 21 October 2019

You might have found Juice Media's Honest Government Ad on the Cashless Debit Card humorous - the interview is deadly serious



EPISODE SUMMARY Welcome to Episode 5, in which we go into more depth on the topic of our latest Honest Government Ad: the Cashless Welfare Card - aka Class Warfare Card. We speak with two members of the Say No Seven group, which has been spearheading the fight against this bullshit.

Interview with Say No Seven group members starts at 5:09mins.

The Video


*

Friday, 18 October 2019

Morrison Government accidentally tells us more than it intended about its future plans for more dams?


Eighteen pages of 'talking points' compiled by the Prime Minister's Office were accidentally released to Australian journalists on Monday 14 October 2019.

These talking points predictably blame Labor in a look-over-there-not here manner, continue Scott Morrison's personal war on the poor and vulnerable and refuse to look climate change in the eye.

Interestingly for folks in the NSW Northern Rivers region, these points confirm federal government support for abandoning certain federal/state provisions contained in legislation covering water, environment and biodiversity when it comes to building new dams.

The document also lets the cat of the bag when it reveals a wider purpose behind building a Mole River dam in Tenterfield Shire.

Google Earth snapshot of a section of the Mole River, NSW


The current proposal according the PMO is for a 100,000 megalites dam (basically the size of Karangi Dam in Coffs Habour LGA) which Morrison & Co see as assisting not just Tenterfield Shire but also as potentially useful to southern Queensland (See P.4). Morrison expects this dam to be 'shovel ready' two years from now, in 2021.

Water NSW released an Upper Mole River Dam fact sheet at the same time those errant talking points escaped inot the wild. This has the proposed Mole River dam as between 100 and 200 gigalites (ie., between 100,000 to 200,000 megalitres) and costing est. $355 billion. However, Water NSW does not see this proposed dam being 'shovel ready' until 2024 with dam construction completed sometime between 2026 and 2028.

Morrison's 100,000 megalitre dam would be ample to supply the needs of a NSW shire whose total population is yet to reach 7,000 residents, but is perhaps not entirely adequate to cover the needs of local irrigators into a future which is rapidly heating up and drying out.

So why would this such dam be thought capable of supplying water to southern Queensland and where would the potential additional 100,000 come from?

Water NSW data shows that Mole River catchment annual rainfall was less than 600mm in 13 of the last 18 years and, as Professor Quentin Grafton, water economist, ANU and UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance tells us, at 600mm or less annual precipitation a dam will not fill.

Perhaps the Mole River dam is only meant as a water storage staging post as much of the water capacity is intended to travel elsewhere?

Perhaps Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud are paving the way for a raid on a headwater tributary, the Maryland River, or on the Upper Clarence River itself - in order to forever pipe bulk water to Littleproud's electorate of Maranoa in southern Queensland?

Two local governments in Littleproud's electorate are lobbying hard for permission to pipe Clarence River water to their areas and, after all the Mole River is approximately 79kms as the crow flies from the headwaters of the Clarence River as well as less than 57kms in a direct line from Stanthorpe in Maranoa.


Friday, 11 October 2019

Seems no-one is really happy with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's religious freedom bills


Armed with what appeared to be a sense of personal righteousness, in August 2019 Australian Prime Minister, Liberal MP for Cook and self-proclaimed man willing to "burn" for Australia, Scott John Morrison, released a draft Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 along with the Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2019.

Not everyone is happy with the contents of these bills.

For the institutional religions the bills do not go far enough. While for legal academics, industry bodies and human rights agencies these bills go too far. 

This is a selection of views publicly expressed.......

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 October 2019: 

Australia's Catholic Church says the federal government's draft religious discrimination laws are "problematic" and require major changes to avoid unwanted "lawfare" and ensure religious bodies keep their ability to hire and fire at will. 

The demands from the country's largest church increase the pressure on Attorney-General Christian Porter to go back to the drawing board on a process that started with 2017's religious freedom review by Philip Ruddock. 

In particular, the Catholic Church wants special rights for religious schools to extend to religious hospitals and aged-care facilities, as well as an explicit override of state anti-discrimination laws. 

And despite the special rules for schools, the peak Catholic school body complained the draft law still "does not provide our schools with the flexibility they require" to ensure staff and students adhere to the tenets of their faith. 

The head of the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC), former Labor senator Jacinta Collins, said Australia's 1750 Catholic schools must retain their legal right to hire and fire - and accept students - based on how well a person fit into "the ethos" of the school. That included whether someone was baptised as Catholic, or whether they had undermined the tenets of the faith by publicly entering a same-sex relationship or marriage. 

In a 27-page submission to the government on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli said the laws "require some significant amendment" to properly assist people of faith. 

He stressed religious hospitals and aged-care facilities "must" be included as religious bodies and enjoy the same hiring and firing rights as religious schools, with the Catholic Church the largest non-government provider of healthcare services in Australia. 

The Age, 4 October 2019: 

Religious believers could be free to publicly shame rape survivors under the federal government’s proposed “religious freedom” laws, Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner has warned. 

Commissioner Kristen Hilton also noted an unmarried woman would be powerless to seek redress if a doctor told her she was “sinful and dirty” for requesting contraception on the basis of a religious conviction. 

The commissioner has warned federal Attorney-General Christian Porter that his proposed new laws, which the government says are designed to protect the rights of people of faith to express their religious views, risks trampling on the human rights of other Australians…… 

Ms Hilton writes in her submission that the religious freedom laws might allow a worker in a health service to go on social media in their own time and denigrate the homosexuality of sexual abuse survivors. 

Another concern for the commissioner is the potential under the proposed laws that a private business or religious group could demand the right to provide sexual health education in government schools and tell children that homosexuality is an illness and that the use of contraceptives is a sin. 

A clause in the draft bill stating that expressions of belief should be protected from anti-discrimination laws could have the effect, Ms Hilton wrote, of "emboldening some people to characterise survivors of sexual assault or rape as being blame-worthy for not being sufficiently modest or chaste."….. 

“But religious expression needs to be balanced against other rights, such as the right to be free from discrimination,” the Commissioner wrote. 

“This bill does not get the balance right. 

“By privileging religious expression, the rights of other people are diminished."  

The Guardian, 4 October 2019: 

Legal academics and the Diversity Council have warned that the Coalition’s proposed religious discrimination bill is unworkable for employers and will thwart policies designed to create safe and inclusive workplaces. 

In a joint submission, the academics warn the bill’s proposed ban on workplace policies regulating religious speech would leave employers in the invidious position of having a duty under occupational health and safety laws to create safe workplaces, but being restrained in their ability to prevent bullying. 

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned the bill does not properly define religion, meaning that Indigenous spirituality could be excluded by the common law definition while “esoteric or emerging religions” are protected. 

The draft bill would prevent employers from having codes of conduct that ban religious speech in the workplace or on social media, on the grounds that such a ban would indirectly discriminate on the grounds of religion. The provision exempts large employers only if they can show they would suffer “unjustifiable financial hardship” without the rule. 

The academics’ submission – coordinated by Liam Elphick and Alice Taylor and signed by Professors Beth Gaze, Simon Rice and Margaret Thornton – noted the effect of the section is that religious speech “would have greater protection from employer intervention than any other statement or expression”. 

For example, an employer with a code of conduct banning employees from publicly engaging in controversial political debates would not be able to impose the rule on a religious employee who wanted to oppose marriage equality. A gay employee, however, would be restricted from publicly supporting it. 

“There are also workability issues in how an employer can factually prove that a conduct rule is ‘necessary’ to avoid unjustifiable financial hardship, considering the very high standard required to prove necessity,” the academics said. 

The academics warned the clause exempting religious speech from federal, state and territory discrimination protections would create an “unworkable situation for businesses in regard to employment”. 

“Work health and safety laws impose a positive duty on employers to prevent bullying, and discrimination laws require businesses to provide their services free from discrimination, yet [the exemption] would authorise bullying and discrimination,” they wrote. 

The Australian, 1 October 2019: 

The Anglican Church says the Morrison government’s draft religious discrimination bill contains problems “so serious” it cannot support it in its current form, warning that some groups like Anglicare and Anglican Youthworks may not be protected. 

In its submission to the government, the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney outlined seven issues to be addressed and called on Attorney-General Christian Porter to expedite the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into laws that impact on religious freedoms. 

Under clause 10, religious bodies “may act in accordance with their faith” and do not discriminate against a person if their conduct may reasonably be regarded as in accordance with their doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings. A religious body that “engages solely or primarily in commercial activities” is excluded. 

Bishop Stead said the explanatory memorandum made it clear religious hospitals and religious aged-care providers would not be considered religious bodies. 

Anglican Youthworks, which charges fees to run “Christian Outdoor Education” programs, could also be disqualified because it engaged in commercial activity.While commending the bill, Bishop Stead said the clause might have a perverse effect. 

The Guardian, 30 September 2019: 

Key provisions of the religious discrimination bill may be unconstitutional because they allow medical practitioners to refuse treatment, and privilege statements of religious belief, an academic has warned. 

Luke Beck, a constitutional and religious freedom expert at Monash University, warned the Coalition’s exposure draft bill may be incompatible with international law and therefore not supported by the external affairs power in the constitution. 

The submission echoes concerns from the Australian Human Rights Commission and Public Interest Advocacy Centre that the bill will licence discriminatory statements about race, sexual orientation and disability on the grounds of religion, and that it privileges religion over other rights. 

What is the religious discrimination bill and what will it do? Read more The bill has been criticised for overriding state and federal discrimination law, including section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits speech that offends, insults or humiliates people based on race. 

Beck argued the bill provided a “bigger sword” to religious people’s statements of belief than those of non-religious people. Statements of belief can be made “on any topic whatsoever” provided they “may reasonably be regarded” as in accordance with a person’s religious beliefs. 

By contrast, statements of non-belief must deal only with the topic of religion and “arise directly” from the fact the person does not hold a religious belief, the associate professor said.  

Freedom For Faith, undated submission:

The overwhelming concern of faith-based organisations across the country with whom we have spoken is about the effect of the Bill on their religious mission, with particular reference to their staffing policies, but also in relation to other issues. 

Staffing policies in faith-based institutions 

At a meeting in Sydney with a range of faith leaders a few weeks ago, the Prime Minister promised that the law would not take faith groups backwards in terms of protection of religious freedom. The difficulty is that this Bill does, in relation to staffing of faith-based organisations. The issues are existential ones for many faith-based organisations. If the issues are not resolved, this may lead us to conclude that the Bill is better not being enacted. That said, we have every confidence that the Attorney-General will be able to sort the drafting problems out. 

Currently, at least in some States, it is lawful for faith-based organisations to appoint, or prefer to appoint, adherents of the faith without breaching anti-discrimination laws. So for example, a Catholic school may prefer practising Catholic staff, or at least practising members of other Christian denominations. A Jewish school may prefer Jewish staff, and so on. This is no different to a political party which may choose or prefer staff who support the policies of the party, or an environmental group that wants staff who will believe in its mission. Organisations that exist for a particular purpose or are associated, for example, with a particular ethnic group, need to be able to have staffing policies that reflect their purpose and identity. 

This is not a right to discriminate. It is a right to select. And it is just plain common sense. A Church’s childcare centre is not like the Commonwealth Bank or a shop selling bedroom furniture. The childcare centre is part of the mission and ministry of the Church. If it could not insist on employing Christian staff, or at least having a critical mass of Christian staff, it would cease to be a Christian ministry. 

Many faith-based organisations have a strong preference for staff who are practising adherents to the faith, in order to maintain their religious identity and culture. However, larger organisations typically do not make it an inherent requirement of working there, because they need the flexibility to meet their staffing needs without drawing from too narrow a pool......


Neither of these examples cover situations where there is merely a preference to employ practising Catholics or practising Christians more generally. Furthermore, even if a Catholic school or other charity did have a policy of only employing Catholic staff, it would only be lawful if this could reasonably be regarded as in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs and teachings of Catholicism. That may be a difficult test to satisfy in the eyes of a court. The court may find it hard to see how the Catholic school’s preference in terms of employment may reasonably be regarded as being in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of the religion. The school, however, may take the view that it is a necessary implication of their doctrines that they want to maintain a Catholic ethos by having a “critical mass” of believing staff. Whether or not this policy does flow from religious doctrines – it is really about the purpose of having a Catholic school – it would be best if the legislation made it clear that such a policy was not unlawful.

Christian Schools Australia, undated:

In conjunction with the release of this package of Bills the Government narrowed the Term of Reference of the referral to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) of the other aspect of the response to the Religious Freedom Review of interest to Christian schools and deferred the timetable for this review. 

While the substance of the ALRC review remains the same it will now do so in the light of the proposed legislation circulated last week. Rather than releasing a Discussion Paper next week it will now release a discussion paper “in early 2020” with the reporting deadline to Government pushed back from April 2020 to 12 December 2020. Although claimed to “reduce confusion for stakeholders” the amended timeline will require the Religious Discrimination Bill and associated legislation to be finalised BEFORE the discussion paper on proposed amendment to the existing amendments are released. 

CSA is concerned that this will not allow appropriate consultation on the complete package of reforms affecting Christian and other faith-based schools. 

We have raised this with the Attorney-General’s office and will continue to advocate for a more coordinated response to both aspects of the whole package.

Australian Human Rights Commission, 27 September 2019: 

However, the Commission is concerned that, in other respects, the Bill would provide protection to religious belief or activity at the expense of other rights. The Bill also includes a number of unique provisions that have no counterpart in other anti-discrimination laws and appear to be designed to address high-profile individual cases. As a matter of principle, the Commission considers that this is not good legislative practice. As a matter of substance, the Commission considers that this may lead to unintended and undesirable consequences. 

The Commission’s main concerns regarding the Bill are as follows. 

First, the scope of the Bill is overly broad in defining who may be a victim of religious discrimination and, arguably, too narrow in defining who may be found to have engaged in religious discrimination. 

Unlike all other Commonwealth discrimination laws, which focus on the rights of natural persons (that is, humans) to be free from discrimination, the Bill provides that claims of religious discrimination may be made by corporations including religious institutions, religious schools, religious charities and religious businesses. This is a significant departure from domestic and international human rights laws which protect only the rights of natural persons. 

At the same time, the Bill provides that ‘religious bodies’—including religious schools, religious charities and other religious bodies—are entirely exempt from engaging in religious discrimination if the discrimination is in good faith and in accordance with their religious doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings. This is a wide exemption that undercuts protections against religious discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment and the provision of goods and services, and requires further close examination. 

Secondly, the Bill provides that ‘statements of belief’ that would otherwise contravene Commonwealth, State or Territory anti-discrimination laws are exempt from the operation of those laws. Discriminatory statements of belief, of the kind described in clause 41 of the Bill, whether they amount to racial discrimination, sex discrimination or discrimination on any other ground prohibited by law, will no longer be unlawful. The Commission considers that this overriding of all other Australian discrimination laws is not warranted, sets a concerning precedent, and is inconsistent with the stated objects of the Bill, which recognise the indivisibility and universality of human rights. Instead, this provision seeks to favour one right over all others. 

Thirdly, the Commission is concerned about two deeming provisions that affect the assessment of whether codes of conduct imposed by large employers on their employees, and rules dealing with conscientious objections by medical practitioners, will be considered to be reasonable. Unlike all other Commonwealth discrimination laws, the Bill prejudges the assessment of reasonableness by deeming some specific kinds of conduct not to be reasonable. This means that, in those cases, not all of the potentially relevant circumstances will be taken into account. 

Fourthly, those deeming provisions also have an impact on the ability of employers to decide who they employ. The Bill provides that employers may not decide that compliance with a code of conduct that extends to conduct outside work hours, or with rules dealing with conscientious objection, are an inherent requirement of employment, if they would be unreasonable under clause 8. This means, for example, that the narrow deeming provisions about what is reasonable for organisations with an annual revenue of more than $50 million also has an impact on the decisions by those employers about the conditions they may set with respect to employment. 

These four issues, and a range of others relating to all three Religious Freedom Bills, are dealt with in more detail in the body of the Commission’s submission. In revising the Bill, attention needs to be paid not only to its text, but also to the eventual Explanatory Memorandum. At several points the current Notes provide examples and explanations that suggest a very limited scope for religious organisations to retain their ethos and identity, and conversely an expansive scope for suppression of free speech. It is difficult to reconcile these Notes, at various points, with government policy as expressed by the Prime Minister and Attorney-General. 

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Law Council of Australia not amused by those playing politics with the issue of domestic violence


Law Council of Australia, media release, 23 September 2019: 

Family violence awareness training urged for parliamentarians 

The Law Council has condemned as dangerous suggestions by Senator Malcolm Roberts of One Nation that the family courts are contributing to family violence and called for family violence awareness training for all members of parliament. 

“It is inappropriate to be blaming victims, the courts or judges for any person lashing out and hurting another person,” Law Council President, Arthur Moses SC, said today. 

“Politicians must be careful not to use words that may incite those currently engaged in the system or dissatisfied with a court outcome to engage in violence.” 

Mr Moses labelled as “irresponsible and plain stupid” comments by made One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts blaming the family law system for violence by men. 

“These comments could incite violence against partners, children or judges of those courts, or provide excuses for some men to blame anyone else but themselves for hurting a partner or child. The comments of Senator Roberts will undermine, not assist, concerns being raised by some members of the community for law reform as to how custody matters can be dealt with in a less adversarial manner.” 

“The Joint Select Committee Inquiry announced this week provides a critical opportunity for Parliament to examine holistic options to reform the system, including recent recommendations by the Australian Law Reform Commission. The Law Council has offered its support to the Inquiry but it needs to be free from bias and pre-determined outcomes.” 

“But let me be clear – the Inquiry will have no hope of achieving any meaningful reform and will quickly lose support if it is overshadowed by these disgraceful comments or misguided by myths. Reform has to be based on facts not slogans.” 

“This Inquiry must be about finding long-term solutions to a crippled family law system. This will assist vulnerable children, mothers, fathers, families and victims of family violence. Not apportioning blame or seeking to excuse the inexcusable. 

“Cases of family violence are serious matters to be heard and determined by the courts and prosecuted by the police, not Parliament. If parties are unhappy with outcomes, these can decisions reviewed. 

“I acknowledge Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Attorney-General Porter have said earlier comments reported by Senator Hanson about the raising of domestic violence issues in family cases were wrong. The reported comments by the Senator were plainly wrong.” 

“However, Prime Minister Morrison, Attorney-General Porter and Committee Chair Andrews now need to condemn these latest remarks by Senator Roberts in the strongest possible terms and ensure the Inquiry is conducted in a manner that is safe and respectful. Otherwise, the situation will quickly deteriorate and this Inquiry will harm not help children, mothers and fathers” Mr Moses said. 

“The Law Council strongly recommends all parliamentarians including those who participate in this Inquiry be provided with family violence awareness training at the outset to help them undertake their important roles in the Inquiry but also considering any recommendations from the Inquiry.


Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Meet the Indue Class Warfare Card


Think the Australian Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government is not seriously considering a national roll-out of the Indue Cashless Debit Card?

Do you think that living many hundreds of kilometres in any direction from current debit card trial sites proves that that the Liberal Party's head hater of the poor and vulnerable is not yet planning to specifically target you and your family?

Recently noticed that your bank's ATM now has a function icon which allows the limited use of these particular debit cards in order to facilitate a person's ability to access the paltry 20 per cent of a welfare payment which can be paid out in cash under this punitive income management scheme?



Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Morrison Government continues to mislead concerning results of Indue Cashless Debit Card trials


“it is difficult to conclude whether there had been a reduction in social harm and whether the card was a lower cost welfare quarantining approach.” [Australian National Audit Office ANAO, The Implementation and Performance of the Cashless Debit Card Trial (Performance Audit Report, 1 of 2018-2019)]

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.....




His minister said.....

The Courier Mail, 29 August 2019:

YOUTH unemployment has dropped since the cashless welfare card was introduced to Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, while the number of people in the region on welfare has fallen at double the national rate. 

For the first time the impact of the controversial card can be revealed, as a push for the trial to be rolled out nationally intensifies. 

The trial was rolled out in the region in January this year, the first test sites outside predominantly indigenous communities. 

The card quarantines about 80 per cent of dole payments so they can’t be used for drugs, alcohol or gambling. Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, in Hervey Bay today, will reveal the number of people on Newstart or Youth Allowance has dropped. 

In Bundaberg people on the welfare payments dropped 8.7 per cent, or by 502 people, to 5277 recipients in the past year, while in Hervey Bay there has been a 10 per cent fall to 3482 recipients. 

This compares to a five per cent drop of people on Newstart or Youth Allowance nationally. Youth unemployment in the region has dropped from 19.8 per cent in January to 18.5 per cent last month. 

Senator Ruston said the region was “punching above its weight” with the significant reduction in people relying on welfare payments. 

“We believe the cashless debit card is supporting people to demonstrate personal responsibility for their finances, helping to encourage financial independence and addressing intergenerational welfare dependence,” she said. 

There are 5746 people in the region on the CDC, while about 700 people have come off the card, either because they found work or they were suspended from welfare payments for breaching the rules. 

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said if the trial was successful it should be rolled out nationally for people under 35. [my yellow highlighting]

Siewert said......

Fraser Coast Chronicle, 3 September 2019: 

It was disappointing to see the government once again spread misinformation about the Cashless Debit Card in the Hinkler region. 

The government claims that unemployment has dropped in the Queensland trial site but they have used the data for the much larger region of Wide Bay as the basis for this claim. 

It’s like saying that unemployment has dropped in Canberra using the figures for the whole of NSW and I urge people to look more closely at their claims. 

Unemployment figures in the Wide Bay area dropped quite a bit before the trial started and have changed slightly since the card’s introduction and if you actually go and look at the raw data, they are clearly subject to seasonal variation. 

If government really has the evidence to prove it’s working, then release it.

If they are making these claims on data they have available it should be released for all to see. 

Communities are crying out for more support and services but instead community members are put on a card that makes life harder for them. 

The issues that this card is purported to address are complex and need individualised approaches to address. 

Despite the ANAO report saying there is no evidence of a reduction of social harm the government wants to continue to roll out the card. 

My office hears from people constantly who cannot pay their rent or bills using the card, who have problems with the card, who are not able to use cash economies like markets, second hand shops or op-shops to help them make ends meet. 

 RACHEL SIEWERT 
 Greens Senator for Western Australia
 [my yellow highlighting]

Monday, 12 August 2019

So is there an army of "Quiet Australians" backing the Morrison Coalition Government or is it just another political myth


The Morrison Coalition Government, its ministers, senators and MPs, have been making much of the notion that there is a large mass of citizens who quietly agree with them on every subject they discuss and every policy position they hold. 

This survey suggests that rather than there being a large number of head nodders in the community, these so-called 'quiet' Australians may broadly disagree with the Morrison Government on issues involving treatment of vulnerable people and low income households - especially when it comes to the Newstart Allowance 
level of payment
  http://www.scribd.com/document/421336946/Essential-Report-Australian-survey-8-August-2019

Monday, 24 June 2019

Is Australia really a fair and just country or is it nothing more than a collection of Scott Morrison clones?


In 2017-18 there were on average 236 requests for housing assistance made every day which were not able to be met by specialist homelessness agencies across Australia.

This figure represents in excess of 86,000 requests for emergency housing assistance - from individuals, couples, parents with small children and elderly Australians -  which were not met in thatfinancial year.

Yet social housing stocks does not appear to be keeping pace with population growth or the needs of people living in insecure accommodation or existing on the street.

Social housing as a share of all housing has been falling since the start of this century and, in total state, territory and federal governments spent est. 2.1 per cent of total government expenditure on social housing and homelessness services in both 2016-17 and 2017-18 according to the Productivity Commission's Reporton Government Services in 2018 & 2019.

Affordable and available private rental is also in short supply.

Homelessness is not confined to the cities either. Here in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales there are hundreds of people without accommodation.

By the end of 2018 the Australian population had grown to over 25 million people and an estimated 190,000 were on social housing waiting lists. 

The population now stands at an over 25,384,573, with est. one birth every 1 minute and 40 seconds, one death every 3 minutes and 19 seconds and one person arriving to live in Australia every 56 seconds,

At state, territory and federal levels government is well aware of the housing situation, yet Morrison & Co in particular still describe calls for further spending on government services such as housing as being calls based on the “politics of envy”.

These days I often read comments on social media asking when it was we stopped being a fair, just and kind country.

Well the truth is that Australia was never the fair, just and kind society we liked to think it was.

Just look at out history when it comes to Aboriginal Australia, children in institutional care, our aged and disability care systems and our treatment of refugees.

What governments since Federation have done is paper over the cracks between what we are and what we believe about ourselves. They did this by funding a wide range of government services to meet basic human needs like safety, shelter, food, education and health care.

Since 2013 the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has been walking away from adequately providing many of these basic services, by year in and year out failing to increase funding, reducing funding or cutting funding altogether.

BACKGROUND

This is what the Australian Parliamentary Library had to say on the subject of homelessness in March 2018:

On 14 March 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released their homelessness estimates, based on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.
Under the ABS definition, a person is homeless if they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:
 is in a dwelling that is inadequate, or

·         has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable, or

·         does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations.
    The key homelessness estimates from the 2016 Census are that:
·         there were 116,427 people enumerated in the Census classified as being homeless on Census night (up from 102,439 in 2011)

·         the homelessness rate was 50 persons for every 10,000 persons—up five per cent from the 48 persons in 2011, and up on the 45 persons in 2006

·         the homelessness rate rose by 27 per cent in New South Wales, while Western Australia fell 11 per cent and the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory each fell by 17 per cent

·         most of the increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2016 was reflected in people living in 'severely' crowded dwellings, up from 41,370 in 2011 to 51,088 in 2016

·         the number of people in supported accommodation for the homeless in 2016 was 21,235; almost unchanged from 2011
·         there were 17,503 homeless people in boarding houses in 2016, up from 14,944 in 2011

·         the number of homeless people in improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out in 2016 was 8,200, up from 6,810 in 2011

·         people who were born overseas and arrived in Australia in the last five years accounted for 15 per cent (17,749 persons) of all persons who were homeless

·         the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were homeless was 361 persons per 10,000 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, a decrease from 487 in 2011

·         the number of homeless persons aged 55 years and over continued to increase, from 12,461 in 2006, to 14,581 in 2011 and 18,625 in 2016 (a 28 per cent increase between 2011 and 2016). The rate of older persons experiencing homelessness has also increased, from 26 persons per 10,000 of the population in 2011 up to 29 persons per 10,000 in 2016 and

·         the male homelessness rate increased to 58 males per 10,000 males, up from 54 in 2011, while the rate for females remained steady at 42 per 10,000 females.

Severe crowding and social housing

As noted above, a majority of the increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2016 was a result of more Australians living in severely crowded dwellings. This was also the case between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses.

While homelessness is not just the result of too few houses, severe overcrowding does suggest that there is a need for more housing that is affordable to low- to middle-income earners, and social housing in particular. Social housing is housing that is managed by either state and territory housing authorities or community housing providers and made available at below market rates to people who are unable to access suitable accommodation in the private rental market.

Despite Australia’s social housing stock having grown over the years, this has not been at a rate sufficient to keep pace with household growth and demand. As at 30 June 2017, there were 189,404 applicants on the waiting list for social housing across Australia. A significant proportion of these applicants are likely to be households in greatest need—that is, households that are homeless, in housing inappropriate to their needs or that is adversely affecting their health or placing their life and safety at risk, or, have very high rental housing costs.

Severe overcrowding is particularly prevalent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with 70 per cent of homeless Indigenous Australians in this position. The latest homelessness estimates indicate that the rate of homeless Indigenous Australians fell between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses. If this rate is to continue to fall then this may hinge to some extent on the outcome of negotiations currently underway between the Australian Government and the states and territories over Commonwealth funding for housing for Indigenous people following the expiry of the National Partnership on Remote Housing in June 2018.

Homelessness by geography

In the linked spreadsheet, the Parliamentary Library has compiled homelessness estimates by ABS geographical areas and homelessness operational groups. Table 1 details total homeless persons by Statistical Area 2. Table 2 sets out total homeless persons by Statistical Area 3 and operational group.

Table 1 also lists the Commonwealth electorate that is most aligned with each SA2. Electorate estimates cannot be derived from this table.