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I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders. My thanks to Per Capita, particularly Executive Director Emma Dawson, for the chance to speak with you today. Last month, journalist David Speers asked senior Liberal Party frontbencher Linda Reynolds a reasonable question: ‘Do you agree that flexibility in wages and keeping wages at modest levels is a deliberate feature of our economic architecture?’. ‘No, absolutely not’, replied Reynolds. ‘For Bill Shorten to even suggest that…’ ‘I’m quoting Mathias Cormann’, Speers pointed out. It was a telling moment for the Coalition. Their economic message was so out of touch with reality that it had become a caricature of itself. Even one of their senior figures couldn’t tell the difference between actual Coalition policy, and what she thought was an absurd exaggeration. It didn’t need a scare campaign – the policy was a horror show all of its own. When it...

Federal Budget 2019: A Missed Opportunity to Address Inequality in Australia by Emma Dawson, Executive Director Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's first budget fails to grapple with the big challenges facing our nation. The centrepiece of the Government's pre-election budget is personal income tax cuts aimed at middle-income earners, but real measures to address the growing inequality in our society are absent. For someone earning $50,000 per year, the tax cuts announced tonight are worth only around 57% of the extra money that would be in their pay packets if wages were growing at the long term average of 3.5%. Yet the budget includes no measures to address sluggish wage growth, and for those earning under $40,000 per year there is nothing at all.  Most disappointingly, and for the 25th year in a row, the Government has ignored calls to increase the rate of Newstart. Excluded even from the meagre energy supplement awarded to other recipients of...

The prestigious Per Capita Young Writers' Prize is now open for submissions. Do you have an idea for fighting inequality in Australia? Do you want to win $1500? We can't wait to hear your thoughts. HOW TO ENTER: Answer the following question in under 3000 words (no lower limit): 🌟Imagine you have the opportunity to implement one, single policy to make Australia a more equal society. What policy do you choose?🌟 Submit to info@percapita.org.au by the end of April. RULES: Answers can be academic essays, opinion pieces, or personal reflections - no rules on format. You don't need to have specific knowledge of the policymaking process - just hit us with your best idea. PS: aged out of this particular opportunity but know a young person with a drive to fight for a fairer Australia? Let them know we want to hear from them!...

On International Women’s Day 2019, Per Capita is thrilled to announce that Tanja Kovac is joining our team as Senior Fellow, Gender Equity. Tanja is a renowned activist for gender equality, and a policy and advocacy leader with decades of experience working in government, law and the non-profit sector. Most recently she was Chief of Staff to the late Fiona Richardson MP, Australia’s first family violence prevention minister where she was responsible for overseeing Victoria’s strategic family violence prevention and gender equality agenda, including creating the Victoria’s first Gender Equality Strategy. Per Capita’s Executive Director, Emma Dawson, said “I am delighted that Tanja Kovac is joining Per Capita to lead our work on gender equality and advocacy for women and girls. “Tanja’s expertise and her passionate feminism will bring a depth of experience to Per Capita’s focus on fighting inequality in the area of gender equity and women’s rights. I can’t wait to...

https://www.facebook.com/PerCapitaAustralia/videos/2205280076355749/ December saw the completion of Per Capita’s flagship social innovation project Money For Jam. Generously funded by Equity Trustees and Gandel Philanthropy, with further support from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Melbourne Women’s Fund and Reichstein Foundation, Money For Jam engaged with more than 40 older women to empower them to earn through microenterprise. Working with Women’s Housing Ltd, Fitted for Work and En Masse, we delivered both class-based learning and a smartphone app program, supporting women to learn small business skills and tools to grow their confidence, using positive psychology, mentoring and peer support networks. Evaluation from Brotherhood of St Laurance shows 54% of women who completed the year-long program had either started a microenterprise, or are currently developing a microenterprise. Ideas for businesses reflect the diverse skills and interests of older women. They range from organic cleaning products, to a home tutoring service for school-age children, and even trauma therapy. The program is designed to help women at different stages...

Tim Lyons is a Fellow at Per Capita and Deputy Chairman of a large industry superannuation fund. [caption id="attachment_1964" align="alignleft" width="442"] David Maruiz for AAP[/caption] In 2013, soon after taking office, then Treasurer Hockey announced a plan to “make his senior public servants spend more time in the world of executives, bankers, bond traders and corporate investors” or what he called “the real world”. Perhaps Hockey’s plan was for permanent redeployment. In his horror 2014 Budget, Hockey cut funding to ASIC by $120 million over five years, more than reversing an increase in funding provided by the previous Labor government. At the same time a minister called for more "self-regulation" of the financial services industry. Hockey was sending a message to business that the Government wasn’t just untroubled by the potential the capture of regulators by business, it positively encouraged it. And as for regulators, well, business could look after things themselves: the regulators...

Per Capita is delighted to announce that Dr John Falzon OAM will join our team as Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice on 1 November 2018. Dr Falzon is a sociologist, poet and social justice advocate, and was national CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society from 2006 to 2018. He has written and spoken widely on neoliberalism and the structural causes of inequality and has long been engaged in the collective movement for social justice. Per Capita’s Executive Director, Emma Dawson, said “We are thrilled that John is joining Per Capita to lend his voice to our fight against inequality in Australia. “John’s expert knowledge of policy issues related to economic insecurity, housing and homelessness, social security and workers’ rights, along with his proven track record of advocating for those at the margins of our society, make him a perfect choice as the newest member of the Per Capita team.” Dr Falzon’s...

[caption id="attachment_1776" align="alignleft" width="417"] photo: @UN4Ageing[/caption] International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) celebrates the contribution older people continue to make to societies across the world. It also provides a regular opportunity for advocates to raise awareness around key areas of concern in ageing: poverty, the pandemic of loneliness, and the growing incidence of elder abuse. The theme of 2018’s IDOP is to ‘Celebrate Older Human Rights Champions’. It has been 80 years since the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and a generation of older Australians helped drive that agenda, including Australia’s sole female delegate to the UN Jessie Street, who successfully campaigned to change the opening of the UDHR from "All men and brothers…" to "All human beings are born free and equal…" Today’s IDOP will recognise Street’s generation and the role older people continue to play in advancing human rights across the globe. It also provides an opportunity to continue to talk about...