ACOSS welcomes marriage equality

ACOSS congratulates the Australian Parliament on recognising in law the equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people to marry the person they love.

“This is fantastic news and a turning point in the way our nation views and treats a subsection of our community that has endured so much discrimination in the past,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie. “It has been the culmination of so much hard work over many years by dedicated people and campaigners for a more just Australia.”

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Deeply concerning for all Australians: Appointment of new Charities Commissioner

Australia’s leading charities and peak bodies today expressed deep concern that the appointment of Dr Gary Johns to lead the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission indicates the government is intent on silencing Australians by destabilising charities. The appointment of Dr Johns sits within a worrying trend of governments seeking to silence charities – from bans on international donations to attempts to hamstring the ability of charities to fundraise. Dr Johns has consistently shown himself to be a trenchant anti-charity campaigner and it is difficult to see how he can or will act in good faith on behalf of the sector, which is a core function of the Commission and requirement of its Commissioner.

Read Full Joint Statement here Also Read: ACNC appointment an attack on the charity sector

The Senate must reject mandatory cashless debit cards

Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS has called on the Senate to reject mandatory cashless debit cards following the release of the Senate committee inquiry report. “Mandatory cashless debit cards are not backed by reliable evidence. Legislation to expand the cards does not have support of a broad range of individuals and organisations within and without trial sites, including the Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar, and National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. There is wide-ranging concern that mandatory cashless debit has been imposed on communities without proper consultation and consent.” Read more

Silencing advocacy about public policy would threaten democracy

Banning advocacy by charities who receive international philanthropy about public policy and the issues affecting communities would strike at the health of democratic culture in Australia and must be strongly opposed. The planned Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 will prohibit charities having a public voice on issues they were established to address, if they are receiving funding from an international donor to do so. Read more

Fix revenue to fill gaping holes in essential services, not raid it for election year tax cuts

As the holiday season approaches, ACOSS today issued a strong statement to Federal Parliament, reminding our elected leaders to focus on securing the public revenue we need to fund important services like the NDIS, healthcare, education, social housing and vital social security payments. ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said, “The priority of this Parliament should be to strengthen public revenues, not raid what we have to fund election year tax cuts. It is unfathomable this government would be talking about more income tax cuts when we are cutting payments for people living in poverty.” Read more here

Silencing Australians: The result of the federal government’s proposed donations ban

Click here to show your support

Australian charities are united in opposing the Federal Government’s attempt to undermine the benefits many Australians receive from philanthropy and to silence their voices. Among a range of worrying impacts, the proposed legislation would limit funding for life-saving medical research; access to education; the voice and rights of Indigenous Australians; and the ability to sustain and protect our shared natural environment.  Read more

Social Security Bills currently before the Senate 

The Welfare Bill

The Welfare ‘Reform’ Bill introduces new compliance systems, delays start to payments by increasing waiting periods, new requirements for mature-age unemployed people, cuts to bereavement payments, and a new Jobseeker Allowance to replace Newstart Allowance and other payments.

The Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee has reported on this Bill, but it has not yet passed the Senate. This Bill is expected to be debated in the week beginning 27 November 2017.

ACOSS strongly opposes this Bill.

Cashless Debit Card Bill

The Cashless Debit Card Bill seeks an extension of the Cashless Debit Card to new areas.

The Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee is due to report on 28 November 2017 but have requested an extension to 6 December 2017.

ACOSS opposes the Cashless Debit Card Bill.

Restore the public revenue piggy bank to fund NDIS & other essential services, don’t break it now to cut taxes

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie has warned that essential services like the NDIS and health care are under-funded and that public revenues must be strengthened, not raided for unfunded tax cuts.

“Now is not the time to raid the public revenue piggy bank for another round of un-funded tax cuts,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie warned.  Read more

Marriage equality finally recognised

ACOSS is very pleased that marriage equality has been recognised by the Australian people as a right following the release of the postal survey results today. People across Australia have voted a resounding yes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people having the same rights as everyone else to marry the person they love.

ACOSS applauds all those across Australian society who campaigned tirelessly for this outcome, and all of those Australian people who voted yes to finally removing discriminatory barriers to marriage.

Read Full Statement here

United call for Australian Parliament to respect and back full Uluru Statement from the Heart

A broad cross section of Australian civil society voices are calling on the Federal Coalition Government to respect the wishes of Australia’s First Nations peoples in the Uluru Statement and make constitutional reforms that enable First Nations peoples to take their rightful place in Australia an immediate national priority.  Read more

Read Joint Statement: A call to the Prime Minister and Australian Parliament

Let’s tackle child poverty in Australia

Child poverty was reduced by 30 per cent before. It can be done again.

ACOSS has marked the beginning of Anti-Poverty Week with a renewed call for government to stop attacking Australia’s social safety net, and the people who need it; and to focus instead on reducing child poverty in Australia as has been done before. At our Press Conference on Sunday 15 October, we honoured the Hawke government’s legacy of reducing child poverty by a massive 30 per cent, while shining a light on the increasing child poverty today.  Read more 

Read the ACOSS briefing on child poverty in Australia

Strengthen the social safety net and stop tearing it apart 

We are calling on Federal Government to strengthen the social safety net for people who have the least in Australia. Stop tearing it apart. Join us and sign the petition. Federal government wants to make nine more cuts to the incomes of people living with severe hardship. There are already 3 million people living in poverty in Australia. Horrifically, 731,000 are children. We don’t want more people falling into poverty.

Sign the petition today

Read the statement that has been signed by over 40 community organisations

Drug testing of income support recipients

Put people first to deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy

A new report calls on the Australian Government to put people first and end the deadlock on energy transition to ensure people on low-income and experiencing disadvantage have access to affordable, reliable and clean energy into the future. The report Empowering disadvantaged households to access affordable, clean energy was produced by the Australian Council of Social Service, Brotherhood of St Laurence and The Climate Institute after consulting with over 120 community, environment and energy experts across Australia from March – June 2017.

Read media release  |  Read report

Inequality in Australia: an explainer