At election times, familiar themes often dominate the political agenda: the economy, national security, infrastructure, to name a few. These are vital issues of governance. However, as these conversations take place, too often the needs of people on the fringes of society are overlooked.
There is clear evidence that Australians are looking for leadership on key issues of social justice and inclusion, and want a more compassionate society. Recent polls, for example, show robust support for immigration and multiculturalism; concrete action on climate change; raising the rate of Newstart; and access to family reunion for refugees.
Drawing on four decades of advocacy and action, Jesuit Social Services’ Federal Election Platform 2019 sets out our key priorities across a range of interconnected social policy areas, from ‘closing the gap’ to employment, youth justice, mental health and affordable housing.
Among a range of policy proposals, we are calling for the incoming Federal Government to:
- Legislate an emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050 and set a clear path to transition to a low-carbon future.
- Fund the establishment of a national centre for place-based approaches.
- Raise the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments by a minimum of $75 per week.
- Commit to progressing the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people articulated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
- End offshore detention and the immigration detention of children seeking asylum.
- Develop and commit to a National Youth Justice Strategy.
- Raise the age of criminal responsibility to the age of 14 across all states and territories.
- Increase public and community housing stock by 500,000.
- Commit to fully funding the NDIS over the long term.
- Introduce an Australian Charter of Human Rights.