A Letter from Women Leaders to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

The Hon Anthony Albanese, MP

Prime Minister 

Canberra ACT 2600

5 May 2024

Dear Prime Minister,

As women and non-binary people from the community, union, business, and academic sectors and civil society, we write to urge you to deliver a substantial increase to JobSeeker and Youth Allowance in this Federal Budget.

Substantially lifting JobSeeker and Youth Allowance is the priority recommendation of the government-appointed Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee’s 2024 report.

As the Chair of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, the Hon Jenny Macklin AC said, “Women escaping violence also need to know that there will be a decent social security net for them.” The current social security safety net cannot be described as “decent” nor safe.

The JobSeeker Payment is just $55 a day. Youth Allowance is even less at $45 a day. Around 500,000 women receive these payments. While the government’s expansion of Parenting Payment Single to 82,000 single parents whose youngest child is aged between 8 and 14 was most welcome, there remain large numbers of women of all ages in receipt of JobSeeker and other working-age payments that are simply not enough to cover basic costs.

Fixing the adequacy of JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to deliver basic economic security for women cannot wait.

For First Nations women, for women from diverse backgrounds, for women from all backgrounds, the impacts of poverty on the ability to leave violence and live in safety is profound.

No one should be forced to live in poverty. The evidence is clear: a key reason that women are unable to leave violence is because they do not have economic security.

The Escaping Violence Payment only provides an upfront cash payment of up to $1,500, with the remaining $3,500 provided by way of goods and services. To find safety, women need to know they will have basic economic security over the longer term.

Lifting social security payments will not negate the need to invest in frontline services and take the other critical steps to achieve women’s safety. However, it is a core part of ensuring women can do what they need to do in order to be safe.

Yours sincerely,

Antoinette Braybrook AM
Katie Kiss
Dr Hannah McGlade
June Oscar AO
Professor Nareen Young
Feyi Akindoyeni
Tasnia Alam Hannan
Jan Alewood
Victoria Aitken
Kate Allingham
Dr Jane Alver
Zuleika Arashiro, FECCA Director of Policy, Health and Ageing
Dr Amira Atfab
Stassi Austin
Professor Eileen Baldry AO
Sam Barker
Dr Alison Barnes, National Tertiary Education Union National President
Dr Naomi Barnes
Jo Barraket AM, Melbourne Social Equity Institute Director
Professor Alexandra Barratt
Associate Professor Amy Barrow
Ricci Bartels OAM
Christine Bartlett
Associate Professor Francesca Bartlett
Associate Professor Becky Batagol
Mary Bennett
Professor Sharon Bessell
Karen Bevan
Debby Blakely
Jade Blakkarly, WIRE CEO
Janin Bredehoeft, Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) CEO
Toni Brendish
Professor Marie Brennan
Madeleine Bridgett
Elizabeth Broderick AO
Dr Nikki Brunker
Associate Professor Cathie Burgess
Georgia Burke
Dr Kellie Burns
Sharan Burrow AC
Tracey Burton
Meghan Butterfield
Katie Cameron
Liz Cameron-Smith
Sharon Callister
Robbie Campo, Women in Super Chair
Tanya Carabez
Wendy Carlisle
Emily Carter AM
Jane Caro AM
Tanya Carroll
Jennifer Chandler
Fariha Chowdhury
Melinda Cilento
Narelle Clay AM
Anna Cody, Sex Discrimination Commissioner
Professor Kay Cook
Marie Coleman AO PSM DUniv
Kate Colvin
Trish Connelly
Megan Corfield
Associate Professor Natasha Cortis
Ros Craig
Susan Crookes
Professor Bronwen Dalton
Marianne Daly
Professor Azadeh Dastyari
Dr Cristyn Davies
Professor Megan Davies
Professor Angela Dawson
Georgie Dent
Dr Elizabeth Deveny
Lin Hatfield Dodds
Natasha Doherty, Ethicol CEO
Anne Donaldson
Professor Heather Douglas
Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz
Sherrill Duncan
Anne Dunn AM
Julie Edwards
Terese Edwards
Megan Etheridge OAM
Professor Emerita Robyn Ewing AM
Audette Exel AO
Molly Fairweather
Dr Katherine Fallah
Sylvia Falzon
Jo Farrell
Jana Favero
Melanie Fernandez
Marie Festa
Caitlin Figueiredo
Angela Finch
Verity Firth AM
Mel Fisher
Catherine Fitzpatrick
Rev Nicole Fleming
Catherine Fox AM
Holly Freeman
Rev Jane Fry
Professor Susanne Gannon
Dr Lydia Garside
Emeline Gaske
Lisa Gay
Associate Professor Jessica Gerrard
Leisa Gibson, Abt Global Senior Director, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
Tina Gibson
Michelle Gigenhuber
Caterina Giorgi
Rebecca Glenn
Dr Cassandra Goldie AO
Dr Claire Golledge
Professor Susan Goodwin
Robyn Gough
Professor Jenny Gore AM
Professor Linda Graham
Associate Professor Genevieve Grant
Emma Greenleigh
Kathryn Greiner AO
Professor Susan Groundwater-Smith AM
Fiona Guthrie AM
Associate Professor Anna Halafoff
Dr Bridget Haire
Julie Hamblin
Wendy Harmer
Kate Harrison
Virginia Haussegger AM
Professor Valerie Harwood
Professor Catherine Hawke
Professor Debra Hayes
Cheryl Hayman
Correna Haythorpe, Australian Education Union Federal President
Dr Katherine Heath
Valerie Heath
Nicole Hetherington
Lynda Henderson
Janine Hendry
Dr Yara Hilal
Jennie Hill
Jess Hill
Rev Faaimata (Mata) Havea Hiliau
Lucy Hohnen
Rev Sharon Hollis
Alison Holloway
Nicole Hollows
Dr Jess Hooley
Professor Julia Horne
Dr Angelique Howell
Katrina Ironside, Women’s Legal Service NSW CEO
Dr Angela Jackson
Tanya Jackson-Vaughan, TJV Consulting Director
Anita Jacoby AM
Associate Professor Kathryn James
Associate Professor Melissa Kang
Associate Professor Miranda Kaye
Professor Fiona Kelly
Anna Kennet
Emeritus Professor Jeanette Kennett
Cheryl Kernot
Tanja Kovac
Rosemary Lee
Stephanie Lee
Vanessa Leill
Catherine Liddle
Katrina Lines
Julian Lush
Angela Lynch AM
Libby Lloyd AO
Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, Chief Executive Women President
Libby Lyons
Edwina MacDonald, ACOSS Deputy CEO
Jasmine MacDonald
The Hon Jenny Macklin AC
Jane Madden, NFAW President
Professor Marion Maddox
Rowena Maguire, Centre for Justice, Queensland University of Technology Director
Professor Jacqueline Manuel
Dr Jackie Mapulanga
Professor Lina Markauskaite
Bridget Mather
Rev Dr Margaret Mayman
Kate McBride
Harriet McCallum
Wendy McCarthy AO
Julie McCrossin AM
Dr Janelle McDonald
Katrina McDonnell
Professor Lisa McDaid
Ashleigh Mcfarlane
The Hon Cathy McGowan AO
Maria McGowan OAM
Lisa-Marie McKechnie
Dr Margaret McKenzie, Per Capita Senior economist
Professor Julie McLeod
Dr Domenique Meyrick
Jennifer Mills
Marcelle Mogg
Melanie Montalban
Fiona Moore
Elfa Moraitakis
Sue Morphet
Di Morrissey AM
Karen Mundine
Kate Munro
Rev Bronwyn Murphy
Dr BJ Newton
Kris Newton
Katherine Nicholson
Vivian Nguyen
Juliana Nkrumah AM
Professor Karen O’Connell
Kristin O’Connell
Dr Alison Grove O’Grady
Liz Olle
Professor Rachel Ong ViforJ
Maree Overall
Kirstie Parker
Sara Parrot
Kelly Paton
Associate Professor Louisa Peralta
Karen Perkins
Sarah Perks
Professor Janette Perz
Michelle Phillips
Professor Ruth Phillips
Dr Deborah Pino-Pasternak
Dr Susan Poetsch
Jan Primrose
Abby Prior
Professor Helen Proctor
Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen
Dr Victoria Rawlings
Trudi Ray
Caitlin Reiger
Associate Professor Janice Richardson
Suzie Riddell
Professor Alison Ritter AO
Jamila Rizvi, Future Women Deputy Managing Director
Claire Robbs
Distinguished Professor Kerry H. Robinson
Violet Roumeliotis AM
Dr Emma Rowe
Elana Rubin AM
Jemma Rule
Frances Rush OAM
Diana Ryall AM
Professor Judyth Sachs
Janelle Saffin
Professor Sue Saltmarsh
Jane Sanders AM
Kathy Sant
Emma Sayers
Mary Sayers
Angela Scarfe
Nora Scheinkestel
Associate Professor Ashley Schram
Emily Scott
Professor Kate Seear
Jillian Segal AO
Victoria Shakeshaft
Denise Shrivell
Joanna Siejka Rostami
Diane Smith-Gander AO
Dr Catherine Smyth
Jozefa Sobski
Melanie Southwell
Associate Professor Ilektra Spandagou
Dr Margaret Spencer
Tracey Spicer AM
Ruth Spielman
Kerry Staines
Professor Fiona Stanley AC
Julie Steiner AM
Caroline Stewart, Ecstra Foundation CEO
Lisbeth Stewart
Dr Mary Stewart
Wendy Stone, Swinburne University of Technology Professor of Housing and Social Policy
Imogen Sturni
Dr Helen Szoke AO
Magda Szubanski AO
Jo Taylor
Sarah Taylor, CBS Group Director, Strategy + Technology
Jennifer Thomas
Tanja Tosvic
Professor Jane Ussher
Maria Valenzuela
Pauline Vamos
Tahlia-Roae Vanissum, Sisters in Spirit Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson
Professor Ariadne Vromen
Hang Vo
Ha Vu
Nicola Wakefield Evans AM
Maree Walk
Selina Walker
Professor Chris Wallace
Kristen Wallwork
Karen Walsh, Venture Housing CEO
Associate Professor Jane Wangmann
Heather Watson
Professor Helen Watt
Associate Professor Jennifer Way
Stephanie Wescott
Elisha West
Kerry Weste
Lesley Whalan SC
Kate Wheller, CISVic Executive Officer
Kate Whittle
Cassandra Winzar
Dr Blair Williams
Dr Miriam Williams
Jess Wilson
Gladys Woods, Haslin Constructions Owner/General Manager
Ashton Wynn
Kristine Ziwica

Women leaders call for JobSeeker boost to promote women’s safety

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