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I don't believe I could survive on $35 a day, could you? In The Sydney Morning Herald "Jenny Macklin, federal Families Minister, has told reporters she could live on the Newstart allowance of $35 a day."
According to the article, "more than 80,000 single parents were moved from the parenting payment to the lower Newstart. The Australian Council of Social Services chief executive, Cassandra Goldie, said the changes would leave vulnerable people - the majority of them women - between $60 and $110 a week worse off."
Prices of food have gone up, electricity prices have gone up, and other essentials are not cheap. I think $35 a day would be very hard for a person by themselves and impossible to live well, but factor in looking after kids as well. All the things that a child needs would not fit into this budget as well as caring for an adult as well.
God help you if you got sick and needed to buy medicine. I recently went to the chemist when the twins had tonsillitis and the medicine and painkillers cost well over $50, so that is the daily allowance blown already. You would hope that you had food in the fridge and pantry, as trying to feed yourself and the family is hard with nothing. That said, what about when it gets cold or too hot. How do you make sure that your little ones don't boil or freeze. Paying for electricity or gas might make it impossible to have these services at all, so going without is the only option.
Living with this budget would mean that there would be no extras just the basics to survive. No presents or treats, no replacements for things. If you have kids that have constant growth spurts, you would need to purchase or find new clothes and shoes for them. It is a tough ask on $35 a day.
In the Sydney Morning Herald article it states that having a "low rate of Newstart could be a barrier to people getting employment." I agree as, you need to present yourself in the best light to get a job. Organisations won't hire someone that does not present well, and has not got the means to get to the job. If you have limited finance, you cannot purchase a suit/dress/skirt/makeup/pay for transport/pay for childcare/food to stay well to enable you got get the job and also not get sick, and much more. Money helps you get the job, and gives you more help to get to the next step.
I do understand that some people don't get jobs or want them. However the majority want to be off the allowance and better themselves via a new job that allows more financial freedom, for them and their family. The government needs to increase the allowance so it is not under the poverty line and more able to keep up with the standard of living in 2013. I do agree that Jenny Macklin should live on $35 per day for a month, but not in her house that she is used to. She should be in controlled conditions and this for example would be a flat or house of a person that has to survive on $35 a day. Also being limited to her new surroundings, she would need to not have credit cards or any help, only the money from the allowance would be allowed. If this experiment does happen, I am sure she would not like it or survive. It is an unrealistic ask and only a rich politician who has never had to do it would would state stupidly that she could live off $35 a day.
So Ms Macklin I challenge you as well to live off $35 a day and see how your fare! I think you need to give it a go as you have already told the world you can do it. Your supporters and party will not appreciate the fact you are not backing up what you say.
According to the article, "The acting Greens leader, Adam Bandt, whose Melbourne electorate has the highest proportion of people in public housing in the country, said he would spend a week living on $35 a day next month." Well done Adam Bandt, politicians need to do more of this. I hope you are not going to be in your house but somewhere less well off to replicate what it would really be like.