Nobody Left Behind

Prime Minister, Premiers, Chief Ministers, and colleagues

Nobody-left-behind-banner

These are extraordinary times, full of fear and uncertainty. As such, these times call for extraordinary measures from governments to introduce a floor below which no one in our society can fall, to assure all people that they will not be left behind, that they will be cared for and provided with necessities of life for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and the unprecedented economic and social disruption it brings.

We the undersigned welcome measures already introduced to lift the level of income support payments and temporarily suspend mutual obligation requirements.

However, as the long and dangerous queues at Centrelink offices and the unmanageable demand on the MyGov website demonstrate, the current approach, even with these important shifts, is insufficient in the face of the economic crisis we are entering. With economists forecasting official unemployment rates of 10-15% in the near future, and many more in the informal economy in dire straits, there is a clear and urgent need to introduce a Liveable Income Guarantee without delay to make vital support easily accessible to all in need.

In order to support the millions of people now in more full-time caring capacities;
In order to provide for those who will not be able to find paid work while isolated at home;
In order to give confidence to the millions in precarious paid work - food industry and arts sector workers, cleaners, small business owners, and so many more;
In order to ensure that nobody is left behind, we urgently need a Liveable Income Guarantee.

Specifically, the undersigned call on you to:
* Remove conditionality requirements to make access to the Jobseeker Payment and related payments, including the Coronavirus supplement, administratively fast and simple;
* Remove all mutual obligation requirements, which will be both impossible to comply with and impossible to manage;
* Unify all payments, including the Aged Pension, Disability Support Pension, Youth Allowance, etc, at the same full Liveable Income Guarantee rate of the Jobseeker Allowance plus the Coronavirus supplement (without prejudicing any additional payments such as Disability Support Pension, Rent Assistance or the Remote Area Allowance);
* Introduce these measures with immediate effect.

The signatories acknowledge that a Liveable Income Guarantee alone will not be sufficient, either in these times or in less troubled times. In particular, we call for measures to ensure stable housing for all, including suspension of mortgage and rent payments, a freeze on repossession and evictions, and provision of accommodation for the homeless. We also call for a suspension of utility bills, including internet service provision and telephony. We call for a suspension of the cashless welfare card. And we call on governments at all levels to rapidly employ more people where safe to do so, particularly in health care, education, and government administration to improve access and equity to basic rights and services.

COVID-19 will bring tremendous hardship and loss. In order to find our way through this crisis, we must recommit to each other as members of a community. A Liveable Income Guarantee will be a vital step towards building a fairer society both during the crisis and as we work towards recovery and reconstruction in the years ahead.

Drafting signatories

Prof Jon Altman, Australian National University

Dr Jeremy Baskin, University of Melbourne

Adj Prof Eva Cox, University of Technology, Sydney

Dr Tim Dunlop, author and commentator

Prof Katherine Gibson, Western Sydney University

Prof Jane Goodall, Western Sydney University

Troy Henderson, University of Sydney

Tim Hollo, Executive Director, The Green Institute; Australian National University

Loriana Luccioni, University of Queensland

Dr Francis Markham, Australian National University

Prof Greg Marston, University of Queensland

Dr Jenni Mays, Queensland University of Technology

Josh McGee, Basic Income Australia

Dr Ben Spies-Butcher, Macquarie University

Prof John Quiggin, University of Queensland

Co-signatories

Ryan Batchelor, Nous Group

Dr Paul Bauert, President, Australian Medical Association (NT)

Jharana Bhattarai, RMIT University

Jennine Blundell, CEO, WorkVentures

Emma Bosworth, Co-CEO, Green Music Australia

Dr Zazie Bowen, Australian National University

Rev Boyd Briese, Lutheran Church

Dr Damien Cahill, NSW Division Assistant Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union

Mark Chenery, Common Cause Australia

Dr Benjamin Cooke, RMIT University

Mary-Anne Cosgrove, President, Council of Australian Humanist Societies

Anna Crabb, Head of Strategy and Partnerships, B Lab Australia and New Zealand

Anwen Crawford, writer

Alison Croggon, writer and critic

Emma Davidson, Convenor, Women's Electoral Lobby

Emma Dawson, Executive Director, Per Capita

Tracey Deasey, Australian National University

Prof JP Deranty, Centre for Workforce Futures, Macquarie University

Rev Dr Stephanie Dowrick

Dr Norbert Ebert, Macquarie University

Dr Ben Eltham, Monash University

Osman Faruqi, journalist and writer

Dr Tobia Fattore, Macquarie University

Josie Gibson, Director, The Catalyst Network

Dr Piers Gooding, Melbourne Social Equity Institute

Prof Philip W Graham, University of the Sunshine Coast

Em Prof Roy Green, University of Technology, Sydney

Rev Simon Hansford, Moderator, Uniting Church of Australia Synod of NSW and ACT

Damiya Hayden, Deputy Convenor, Australian Greens

Prof Kathryn Henne, Director, School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University

David Hetherington, Executive Director, Public Education Foundation

A/Prof Melinda Hinkson, Executive Director, Institute for Postcolonial Studies

Adj Prof David A Hood AM, University of Queensland; Director, Long Future Foundation

A/Prof Dierdre Howard-Wagner, Australian National University

Dr Janet Hunt, Australian National University

Dr Arnagretta Hunter, Cardiologist, Australian National University

Fiona Ingram, SenseSmith

Shirley Jackson, economist, Per Capita

Dr Rachael Jacobs, Western Sydney University

Heather Jarvis, RMIT University

Connor Jolley, RMIT University

Tim Kennedy, National Secretary, United Workers Union

Dr Sean Kerins, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, The Australian National University

Dr Paul Kildea, University of Melbourne

Dr Harald Klein, Former Director Youth, Disability and Women's Affairs, Victoria

Melissa Laing, social worker and PhD candidate, RMIT University

Dr Benjamin Law, writer and broadcaster

Dr Bronwyn Lay, RMIT University

Colin Long

Tim Lyons, former Assistant Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions

Ausitn Mackell, CEO, Write In Stone

A/Prof Cecily Maller, RMIT University

Dr Michelle Maloney, New Economics Network Australia

Gavin May, RMIT University

Dr Hannah McCann, University of Melbourne

Dr Dylan McConnell, University of Melbourne

Michael McNally, Queensland Division Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union

Prof Bernadette McSherry, Director, Melbourne Social Equity Institute

Dr Sara Meger, University of Melbourne

Ed Miller, Director, Economic and Climate Justice, GetUp!

Christine Milne, former Leader of the Australian Greens

Lisa Moloney, LIMAX Events

A/Prof Susie Moloney, RMIT University

Kristin O’Connell, Australian Unemployed Workers Union

Lizzie O’Shea, lawyer and writer

Prof Sundhya Pahuja, University of Melbourne

Brooke Prentis, Aboriginal Christian Leader, CEO of Common Grace

Prof Katherine Robinson, Australian National University

Dr Millie Rooney, Australia reMADE

Dr Caroline Salom, University of Queensland

Prof Nicholas Smith, Macquarie University

Dr Adam Stebbing, Macquarie University

Dr Charlotte Overgaard, Macquarie University

Dr David Pledger, artist, commentator, director of NYID

Will Prothero, Director, Nous Group

Brenda Sharpe, RMIT University

Dr Rebecca Sheehan, Macquarie University

Michael Simpson, V/Line

Dr Melissa Slee, Victorian State Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union

Tanya Smith, public policy consultant

Dr Jeff Sparrow, writer

Dr Sally Staton, University of Queensland

Anna Stephenson, Conscious Enterprise

Em Prof Frank Stilwell, University of Sydney

Dr Emmett Stinson, Deakin University

Michael Thompson, NSW State Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union

Aviva Tuffield, University of Queensland Press

David Upton, Basic Income Australia

Tom Quinn, Founding CEO, Future Business Council

Dr Cathy Vaughan, Centre for Health Equity, University of Melbourne

Sam Wallman, Workers Art Collective

Adrianne Walters, social justice advocate, Human Rights Law Centre

Syndi Li Walton, Nous Group

Prof Rob Watts, RMIT University

Prof Mark Western, University of Queensland

Bhiamie Williamson, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, The Australian National University

A/Prof Sara J Wills, University of Melbourne

Anthony Wong, Nous Group

Dr Jacinda Woodhead, former editor, Overland

Australian Unemployed Workers Union

Friends of the Earth Australia

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To: Prime Minister, Premiers, Chief Ministers, and colleagues
From: [Your Name]

These are extraordinary times, full of fear and uncertainty. As such, these times call for extraordinary measures from governments to introduce a floor below which no one in our society can fall, to assure all people that they will not be left behind, that they will be cared for and provided with necessities of life for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and the unprecedented economic and social disruption it brings.

The signatories welcome measures already introduced to lift the level of income support payments and temporarily suspend mutual obligation requirements.

However, as the long and dangerous queues at Centrelink offices and the unmanageable demand on the MyGov website demonstrate, the current approach, even with these important shifts, is insufficient in the face of the economic crisis we are entering. With economists forecasting official unemployment rates of 10-15% in the near future, and many more in the informal economy in dire straits, there is a clear and urgent need to introduce a Liveable Income Guarantee without delay to make vital support easily accessible to all in need.

In order to support the millions of people now in more full-time caring capacities;
In order to provide for those who will not be able to find paid work while isolated at home;
In order to give confidence to the millions in precarious paid work - food industry and arts sector workers, cleaners, small business owners, and so many more;
In order to ensure that nobody is left behind, we urgently need a Liveable Income Guarantee.

Specifically, the undersigned call on you to:
* Remove conditionality requirements to make access to the Jobseeker Payment and related payments, including the Coronavirus supplement, administratively fast and simple;
* Remove all mutual obligation requirements, which will be both impossible to comply with and impossible to manage;
* Unify all payments, including the Aged Pension, Disability Support Pension, Youth Allowance, etc, at the same full Liveable Income Guarantee rate of the Jobseeker Allowance plus the Coronavirus supplement (without prejudicing any additional payments such as Disability Support Pension, Rent Assistance or the Remote Area Allowance);
* Introduce these measures with immediate effect.

The signatories acknowledge that a Liveable Income Guarantee alone will not be sufficient, either in these times or in less troubled times. In particular, we call for measures to ensure stable housing for all, including suspension of mortgage and rent payments, a freeze on repossession and evictions, and provision of accommodation for the homeless. We also call for a suspension of utility bills, including internet service provision and telephony. We call for a suspension of the cashless welfare card. And we call on governments at all levels to rapidly employ more people where safe to do so, particularly in health care, education, and government administration to improve access and equity to basic rights and services.

COVID-19 will bring tremendous hardship and loss. In order to find our way through this crisis, we must recommit to each other as members of a community. A Liveable Income Guarantee will be a vital step towards building a fairer society both during the crisis and as we work towards recovery and reconstruction in the years ahead.