Writing


Charity jobs at risk - Media Release

CHARITY JOBS AT RISK

The future of hundreds of charity workers remain in limbo as they continue urging the Morrison Government to further revise the JobKeeper program.

In spite of initial changes to the program’s requirements, major charities - including Oxfam, Anglicare, UnitingCare, Fred Hollows Foundation, the Samaritans, St Vincent de Paul, Wesley Mission Queensland and many of our major medical research institutes - say they cannot meet the test of a 15 per cent drop in revenue required for charities to qualify.

According to a survey this week by the Australian Council of Social Service, many charities are expecting to have to shed jobs as a result of the drop in donations. They estimate that 37 per cent of anticipated job losses will still occur in organisations whose overall revenue loss is likely to be less than 15 per cent.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Charities on the brink - Media Release

CHARITIES ON THE BRINK

Major charities will have to dismiss staff in coming weeks unless the Morrison Government again revises its JobKeeper program.

Charities run a range of different services including retail stores, early childhood centres, disability services and facilities that bring communities together. In many cases, some operations have suffered massive losses of 80 per cent or more. But because other operations have been sustained, they do not meet the test of a 15 per cent drop in revenue that is required for charities to qualify for the JobKeeper program.

Charities have seen a major increase in demand for help, while also experiencing a drop in donations and volunteering numbers. While some federal assistance has been provided, much more is needed to help the sector navigate the impact of coronavirus.The government’s decision on 5 April to offer charities a reduced threshold (15 percent rather than a 30 percent drop in turnover) was an attempt to fix the problem. But major charities say that it isn’t a solution.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Let’s take this chance to rebuild our solidarity - Op Ed. Herald-Sun

LET’S TAKE THIS CHANCE TO REBUILD OUR SOLIDARITY 

Herald Sun, 30 March 2020

A century ago, the Spanish Flu hit Australia. Quarantine measures were only partially effective, so in 1919, authorities turned to social distancing. Public gatherings were cancelled. Masks were distributed. Schools were closed. People stayed home when they could. One analysis of the response found that it prevented 22 percent of Australians from catching the potentially deadly disease. In the end, 15,000 Australians died. It was a huge toll, but smaller than you might expect from a disease that claimed over 50 million lives globally.

Social distancing measures work, but they are especially tough on those with fewer social connections. In a recent survey on social connections, Nick Terrell and I found that Australians report having only about half as many close friends as they did in the mid-1980s. We are also less likely to know our neighbours. Remarkably, half of all Australians report feeling lonely at least once a week.

Social capital is the idea that the bonds of trust and reciprocity that bind us together have inherent value. Those with stronger social networks tend to be healthier, to do better in business, and to report being happier with their lives. Yet over the past generation, Australians have become disconnected. We are less likely to attend church, less likely to join clubs, less likely to be part of a union, and less active in politics.

Sometimes, a crisis can build social capital. We have seen this at times of war, and at moments when communities put aside their differences to battle bushfires or fight floods. But disasters can also be emotionally scarring. As Lifeline warns, ‘The stress caused following a natural disaster can lead to “burnout” and physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.’

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Helping the helpers - Op Ed, The Canberra Times

HELPING THE HELPERS

The Canberra Times, 24 March 2020

On the NSW South Coast, charities are hard at work supporting victims of this summer’s unprecedented fires. There are homes to be rebuilt and debris to be removed. Teachers are seeing signs of mental distress among children who were evacuated from their homes three or four times. When local MP Fiona Phillips and I held a roundtable with charities in Nowra earlier this month, they told us how their budgets and staff were overstretched.

And that was when there were less than 200 coronavirus cases in Australia.

In the face of Australia’s greatest post-war health emergency, there’s a risk that Australian charity workers have become the forgotten people.

Already, we’ve seen charities sidelined by the federal government’s response. In the first stimulus package, businesses were prioritised over non-profit groups. That meant a for-profit childcare centre could access support that was unavailable to a non-profit early learning centre. Although the second stimulus package contained support for small charities, the main measures are off limits to major charities such as Mission Australia, Barnados, the Smith Family, and Goodstart Early Learning.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Food relief services get food to the most vulnerable. Now they’re at tipping point - Media Release

LINDA BURNEY MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES

MEMBER FOR BARTON

ANDREW LEIGH MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES

MEMBER FOR FENNER

FOOD RELIEF SERVICES GET FOOD TO THE MOST VULNERABLE NOW THEY’RE AT TIPPING POINT

Food banks and emergency relief services are at tipping point as the COVID-19 challenge depletes food supplies and squeezes supply chains.

Food banks provide a vital service in our community by saving excess food and getting it to vulnerable Australians.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Food banks and emergency relief need boost now - Media Release

LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON

JASON CLARE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND

ANDREW LEIGH
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES
MEMBER FOR FENNER

FOOD BANKS AND EMERGENCY RELIEF NEED BOOST NOW

Labor is calling on the Government to urgently extend stimulus support to the charity and non-for-profit sector.

Food bank, emergency relief and financial counselling organisations provide vital services to those Australians doing it toughest – and they are more important now than ever.

There are already reports of local emergency relief organisations running out of essential goods, food staples and basic safety equipment for volunteers.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Thomas Piketty and the roots of global inequality - Review, The Sydney Morning Herald

THOMAS PIKETTY AND THE ROOTS OF GLOBAL INEQUALITY 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 March 2020

Thomas Piketty isn’t scared to tell a big story. In 2013, he produced Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a 700-page tome about inequality that combined Jane Austen and Honoréde Balzac with data from tax returns and national statistics.

One idea that captivated many readers was r versus g. When the rate of return on capital (think rental yields and share dividends) exceeds the overall economic growth rate, then inequality rises. When g is bigger than r, inequality falls.

Read more
2 reactions Share

The war on charities continues - Media Release

THE WAR ON CHARITIES CONTINUES

Nearly two years after the report from the mandated five-year review of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s legislation was given to the Government – in May 2018 – the Morrison Government has finally responded.

Of the 30 recommendations, 11 have been rejected. This includes the sector’s top ask: for Commonwealth leadership to deliver a harmonised fundraising system.

Australia’s fundraising laws predate mobile phones and the internet. They require charities who raise money online to register in multiple states across Australia.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

When even Trump is cutting prison numbers, Australia should take note - Op Ed, TenDaily

WHEN EVEN TRUMP IS CUTTING PRISON NUMBERS, AUSTRALIA SHOULD TAKE NOTE

TenDaily, 28 February 2020

At this month’s Super Bowl, more than 100 million viewers saw a Republican ad that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

President Trump’s campaign touted Alice Marie Johnson, a 64-year-old African-American woman who had been serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offence. With tears in her eyes, Ms Johnson thanked Mr Trump for commuting her sentence.

It was a far cry from George HW Bush’s infamous 1988 attack on Michael Dukakis for allowing Willie Horton out on weekend release, and from the harsh sentencing laws that led to the United States having the highest prison population in the world.

It wasn’t just Republicans that drove the surge in imprisonment. From the 1970s to the early-2000s, it was unchallengeable political ideology in the United States that tough on crime was a vote-winner. This resulted in incarceration levels increasing four-fold, with two million Americans behind bars. By 2007, more than one percent of American adults were incarcerated. One study estimated that more than one quarter of African American men would spend time behind bars.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

We need to rev up Australia’s stagnant economy - Op Ed, Canberra Times

WE NEED TO REV UP AUSTRALIA'S STAGNANT ECONOMY

The Canberra Times, 24 February 2020

On many of the standard measures, the Australian economy is in a bad way. Since 2013, economic growth has slowed. Wage growth is the worst on record. Household spending is growing at its slowest pace since the Global Financial Crisis. Retail is amid its deepest downturn since 1990, with Harris Scarfe, Dimmeys, Bardot and Jeanswest among those to hit the wall. New car sales last year fell 8 percent, with fewer vehicles sold than at any time since 2011. Construction is now shrinking at its fastest rate since 1999. Business investment is at its lowest level since the 1990s recession.

But that’s just the surface metrics. It is a sad fact is that Australia’s economy is less productive, less nimble, and less dynamic than many other advanced countries. Indeed, on many indicators, the economy has become more stagnant over time.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Search



Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.