ACOSS Statement on Election of Coalition Government

19 May 2019

ACOSS congratulates the Coalition on being re-elected and will work with the Morrison Government to support people in need and to tackle the challenges we face as a country. ACOSS will continue to advocate for an increase to Newstart, which is widely supported across the country as an important moral issue and by the business community as good monetary policy.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said:

“We welcome Mr Morrison’s commitment last night to work on policies that ‘will keep Australians together’ and urge the Coalition Government to work collaboratively and inclusively to deliver on this promise and together tackle the challenges we face.

“The economy is fragile and the climate crisis is impacting people, our regions, the economy and the environment. More than 3 million people across Australia are struggling, especially women, to make ends meet and keep a safe secure roof over their heads. Employment is uncertain for millions, including young people, older people, and people in regional areas.

“We urge the Morrison Government to work collaboratively across the community, with First Nations leaders, the community sector, the union movement, business groups and regional groups to find the common ground that will deliver the solutions for a fairer sustainable future.

“We firstly urge Mr Morrison to reach out to First Nations leaders as a first priority in forming his new government to establish these relationships of trust for the long term. This must be a priority for a newly elected Federal Government of Australia.

“In bringing the community together, we urge Mr Morrison to consider the real and broad support for increasing to Newstart, including from regional communities.

“As the election result emerges, it is significant that all the candidates elected into the House of Representatives outside the major parties actively support the increase to Newstart and the Raise the Rate Campaign. We also congratulate each on their election;

  • Andrew Wilkie, Electorate of Clark, Tasmania.
  • Rebekha Sharkie, Electorate of Mayo, South Australia.
  • Bob Katter, Electorate of Kennedy, Queensland.
  • Helen Haines, Electorate of Indi, Victoria.
  • Zali Steggall, Electorate of Warringah, New South Wales.
  • Adam Bandt, Electorate of Melbourne, Victoria.
  • Kerryn Phelps (if elected), Electorate of Wentworth, New South Wales.

“From diverse electorates, each sees the strong social and economic benefits of increasing Newstart, including for regional communities, joining business, economists, and the community.

“Lifting Newstart is exactly the right policy we need now to bring the community together and exactly what the economy needs right now in the face of concerns of an economic downturn.

“A $75 per week increase to Newstart would cost less than a third of the cost of the government’s proposed high-end tax cuts and would be far more effective in boosting the economy. This is the major adjustment needed.

“ACOSS promises people affected by poverty that it will continue building on the broad support for increasing Newstart that already exists, including amongst some within the Coalition, as well as on the recognition we must work hard together to tackle our housing affordability crisis.

“The housing affordability crisis is really hurting people and many were deeply concerned about unfounded claims of rent increases during the campaign. The Government has a responsibility to tackle rental stress and homelessness because everybody in Australia, the wealthiest country in the world, should have a safe roof over their head.

“The climate crisis also featured as a key concern in this election and the Morrison Government has promised to take it seriously. We urge the government to work with local communities and across sectors to develop a plan to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels that provides investment certainty, creates jobs, tackles energy prices, and looks after vulnerable groups and communities.

“While the community sent the message last night it was not ready for big and wide-ranging change, the reality is that the government’s tax cut package is unprecedented and would be a huge change and fiscal risk. It must not come at the expense of the promise the government has made to everyone in the community that funding for essential services will be guaranteed.

“The community sector is committed to working with the government to guarantee essential services we all need, and to ensure that as a country we are up to tackling today’s challenges together,” Dr Goldie said.