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Election 2019

Australian Parliament House in Canberra

Australia decided its new government on 18 May 2019.

Before the election we identified a number of issues to talk to candidates about to influence the conversation.  Thank you for raising awareness! A number of these issues become key election topics, reaffirming that when the community cares about a topic, our leaders will respond.  

The Salvation Army believes these issues are important as they help to address inequality and disadvantage in Australia.  They are also things the new federal government can immediately take action on:

Poverty

Australia is a rich country, why are so many of us poor?

Over three million Australians are living below the poverty line. Over three million Australians don’t have the money to meet their basic needs and live with dignity.

Over 739,000 of those are children.[1]

Many more Australians are at risk of financial hardship. An unexpected job loss, injury or illness, relationship breakdown or issue with drugs or alcohol can impact anyone. The causes of poverty are many and varied, and so are the people who experience it.

Australia has a sophisticated welfare system designed to ensure that people can live with dignity, even if they are not currently employed. But it isn’t working the way it is meant to. The value of some payments has not increased significantly for over 20 years, even though the cost of living continues to rise. When you take out the cost of housing, Newstart recipients are left with just $17 a day to pay for everything else they need.

Poverty is such a big issue to tackle it can feel overwhelming. Actually there are some clear-cut actions the Federal Parliament can take to make a difference.

You can continue the conversation with your local member by asking them:

  • Is your party committed to an immediate increase to Newstart and the establishment of independent mechanisms to ensure welfare payments are fair?

You can let us know their response here.

Get Involved

You can find and contact your local member by visiting www.aph.gov.au

Video

Learn More

The Salvation Army's National Economic & Social Impact Survey 2018 provides a snapshot of the realities faced by those accessing our services.

Download 2018 ESIS report

Other links

Find out about our financial hardship services

Help by donating Help by volunteering

[1] ACOSS Poverty in Australia 2018 report

Housing and Homelessness

Homelessness is an experience; it shouldn’t be a life sentence.

Everyone in Australia deserves a home but on census night 2016, 116,427 people were experiencing homelessness.[1] Many more are facing housing stress.

Only seven percent of people experiencing homelessness actually sleep on the streets. The other 93 percent of homelessness is “hidden”. The fact that it’s hidden, doesn’t make it less important or less stressful for the person experiencing it.

The impact of not having a safe and stable place to call home should not be underestimated.

Not knowing where to sleep each night or not being able to sleep properly at all, the lack of access to washing facilities and basic hygiene, and barriers to preparing nourishing meals all impacts both physical and mental health.

The stress of not knowing what the future holds can be debilitating.

Tragically, at the last census, almost 16,000 children under the age of 12 were being raised in homelessness[1]. Imagine walking into school not knowing where you’ll go home to that night. An experience of homelessness has a lasting impact on a child, potentially leading to poorer health and educational outcomes compared to their peers.

You can continue the conversation with your local member by asking them:

  • Is your party committed to delivering a National Housing Strategy that will meet Australia’s identified shortfall of 500,000 social and affordable rental homes?

You can let us know their response here.

Get Involved

You can find and contact your local member by visiting www.aph.gov.au

Video

This video shows you what it is like to live in a car.

Learn More

You can find out more about the way forward on homelessness at everybodyshome.com.au

Learn more about homelessness

Other links

Find out about our homelessness services

Help by donating Help by volunteering

[1] ABS (2018) Census of Population and Housing: Estimating homelessness, 2016

Family Violence

Everyone deserves to feel safe and free from harm.

In 2016, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 16 men reported having experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 15.[1]

Almost 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men reported having experienced emotional abuse from a current or previous partner since the age of 15[1].

Family and domestic violence is a significant, complex and persistent issue within Australia. Many people, regardless of their demographic, age and socioeconomic background, are not safe in their own homes and relationships.[2]

Family and domestic violence results in significant economic costs to individuals, business and governments with violence against women and children costing $22 billion in 2015-2016[2].  

The drivers of family and domestic violence are complex and, although both men and women experience violence, key factors are the social norms, structures and practices that discriminate against women.

We all have an opportunity to ‘change the narrative’ and uphold the inherent worth and dignity of each person.

You can continue the conversation with your local member by asking them:

  • How will your party prioritise prevention, early intervention and advocacy campaigns to change community attitudes and the underlying drivers of family violence?

You can let us know their response here.

Get Involved

You can find and contact your local member by visiting www.aph.gov.au

Video

This video gives you a bit more insight into the personal effect of family and domestic violence and how survivors can be supported:

Learn More

You can find out more about family and domestic violence in Australia at www.humanservices.gov.au

Learn more about family & domestic violence

Other links

If you are concerned for the immediate safety of yourself or someone else, please call 000 for emergency assistance.

The National Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Helpline is also available 24 hours: 1800 737 732 (1800 Respect)

If you’re experiencing violence in your home, feel threatened, or are at risk in any physical or emotional way, we want to help.

Find out about our Domestic and Family Violence Services

Help by donating Help by volunteering

[1] ABS 2017b. Personal Safety Survey 2016. ABS cat. no. 4906.0.
[2]https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/d1a8d479-a39a-48c1-bbe2-4b27c7a321e0/aihw-fdv-02.pdf

Alcohol and Other Drugs

The misuse of alcohol and other drugs impacts many.

In 2018, around 1 in 20 Australians were reported to have an addiction or substance use disorder.[1] This is over one million Australians whose health and lifestyles have been negatively affected by alcohol and other drugs.

The impacts of substance use disorders are both immediate and longer term. Immediate effects include an increased risk of accidents, injuries and violence.[1] Longer-term misuse can lead to health problems like lasting damage to the brain and other organs, personal and social problems within families, and financial and legal struggles.[2] The effects of a substance use disorder can impact a person’s entire life, their family, colleagues and friends, so it’s important that we respond to the whole person at a community and societal level.

Alcohol and other substance use disorders have also been found to increase the frequency and severity of family violence.[3]

It is never just one life that is affected.

You can continue the conversation with your local member by asking them:

  • Is your party committed to delivering fully funded, evidence-based responses to substance use disorders?

You can let us know their response here.

Get Involved

You can find and contact your local member by visiting www.aph.gov.au

Video

This video gives you a glimpse of what a person who is experiencing a substance use disorder may face, and the hope and freedom that can be found through appropriate support services.

Learn More

You can find out more about substance use disorders and addiction more generally.

Read our addiction fact sheet 

Other links

Learn more about our addiction services

Help by donating Help by volunteering

[1]‘Substance Abuse’, Health Direct, 2018 https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/substance-abuse
[2] Addiction Fact Sheet’, The Salvation Army Australia https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/need-help/addiction-rehabilitation/addiction-fact-sheet/
[3] Review of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998’, Alcohol Policy Coalition, 2016

Employment

It’s never just a job.

Being unemployed can mean losing more than just income. It can mean losing connection, community, freedom and dignity.

In January 2019 nearly 700,000 Australians were unemployed and looking for work.[1] Youth unemployment remains at more than double the national rate, with young Australians even more at risk of unemployment than adults.

Unemployment is very rarely a choice.

Unemployment can affect your quality of life and your wellbeing. It can be bad for the individual and bad for the economy.

There is a clear relationship between unemployment and poverty, homelessness and social isolation. If we want to do something about poverty, we need to be proactive about addressing the causes and outcomes of unemployment.

You can continue the conversation with your local member by asking them:

  • What commitment is your party making to support job seekers to find employment?

You can let us know their response here.

Get Involved

You can find and contact your local member by visiting www.aph.gov.au

Video

Learn More

You can find out more about unemployment in Australia at www.rba.gov.au

Learn more about unemployment 

Other links

Find out about our employment services

Help by donating Help by volunteering

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2019), www.abs.gov.au

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