This year is a federal election year and it will be an interesting one.
I’m not that political but I will watch with interest and participate as much as I can in a good outcome.
The current Prime Minister had female bloggers to afternoon tea a couple of times last year to let them, and through them their readers, know that she’s listening. Well I hope she is.
But when the single parent pension is cut for people whose youngest kid is over eight, I’ve got to wonder if they really care about women’s issues because let’s face it, most single parents caring for their kids are women.
2013 is election year. It’s not going to be all sparkling bubbles and cherries.
Let’s start with the fact, that as of 5 days ago, single parents have lost between $140 – $200 a week once their youngest child turns 8. That is 84,000 families affected.
Right now. Today.
Jenny Macklin, $35 a day will not pay for your blow-dry.
Seriously Jenny Macklin, you think you could live on $12,000 a year? Really? Show me.
I was on the single parent pension when JJ was born and got it until I started working four days a week which meant I got cut off from it and its benefits. During this time I relied solely on it for six months before I went back to work three days a week. Just as well JJ was a baby and the thought of going out was too much. Just as well I breast fed. Just as well I used cloth nappies, because I had just enough to pay my mortgage, pay bills and buy food.
Last year when I lost my job I had to go on Newstart, as even before the recent single parent pension changes, if you were a single parent you could no longer get these benefits if your kids were over eight. These were changes that Howard introduced six years ago. And don’t get me started on dealing with Centrelink and going on Newstart. I shouldn’t have bothered. It was a complete waste of my time for many reasons.
Anyone who has tried to get a job part-time knows that it’s not easy. Even if employers say they are family friendly, it’s quite often a load of crock. I don’t think I’ll see working part-time accepted as par for the course in my lifetime – and maybe it will never happen. But it should.
But back to the Prime Minister and getting female bloggers to her joint for high tea. Were any of these bloggers single parents having to rely on benefits? If so I’d like to know, but I think not and this is why. Single parents usually have some sort of part-time job, or a full-time one, and are running around looking after their kids as best they can and don’t have time to make their voice heard. No single parent I know does live on benefits alone. I know there probably are some who couldn’t be arsed getting a job and think it’s their right to collect benefits and I’d say its these people the government are targeting.
There’s some very ignorant comments on a story Mamamia did about these changes, but some well considered ones too that tell the stories of people who are really going to suffer.
A woman I know was freaking out about these changes late last year. She has to pay rent, she’s got three kids all over eight years of age. Her ex husband just lost his job and she’s only working around 15 hours a week because she had major trouble finding even that part-time job. She told me that the competition for part-time admin work is really tough.
Apparently if she’s doing it tough she can turn to a welfare agency. Like they’re not under a lot of stress already!
And that’s the other thing about single parents going on the dole. You only need to earn a small amount of money from work before your dole payments get cut. The single parenting payment cut off amount was a lot more lenient.
I’d like to hear stories from people that these recent single parent pension changes are going to affect. We need to give them a voice.