(This is a rolling post, with additional comments being added).
With the announcement that Scott Morrison MP has been chosen as the new leader of the Liberal Party, and hence will be Australia’s new Prime Minister, health and social justice groups respond to the change of leadership and express some concerns about the implications for vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Their responses are summarised below.
Jennifer Doggett writes:
Open Australia has a record of how new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has voted on key health and social issues since 2006:
- Voted against: same sex marriage; tobacco plain packaging; a carbon price; increasing scrutiny of asylum seeker management;implementing refugee and protection conventions; increasing protection of Australia’s fresh water;restricting foreign ownership; increasing investment in renewable energy; increasing Aboriginal land rights; increasing funding for university education; decreasing the private health insurance rebate; increasing the age pension; extending government benefits to same-sex couples; carbon farming; increasing restrictions on gambling; increasing consumer protections; increasing public access to government data.
- Voted for: government administered paid parental leave; privatising government assets; increasing the price of subsidised medicine; live animal exports; decreasing availability of welfare payments; the Intervention in the Northern Territory; increasing funding for road infrastructure; and decreasing ABC and SBS funding.
Kon Karapanagiotidis from the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre has said:
Today’s news of a new coalition government under the reign of Scott Morrison spells disaster for refugees and people seeking asylum.
A Morrison government and its inclination towards draconian and harsh policies instils fear in those seeking safety – we know what a Morrison government is capable of doing and we are committed to ensuring it doesn’t happen on our watch.
Will you join me and help defend and protect the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum at a time when they will need it the most.
At the ASRC we know first-hand what a Morrison Government will mean for our country. Over the last five years we have seen on a daily basis the catastrophic cost to people and community caused by harsh and inhumane government policy.
Families separated, children left to languish till critically ill on Nauru, men driven to take their lives on Manus, newly arrived Sudanese refugees demonised, 12 deaths in offshore prison camps, turning back refugees to danger at sea, thousands left in limbo for years under an unjust and inhumane legal process, attacks on multiculturalism and the trashing the Rule of Law and the Refugee Convention.
Already people seeking asylum are telling me they are terrified about what a Morrison Government would mean for their future, having already faced years of limbo, uncertainty and destitution.
They are worried what few remaining rights they have will be taken from them.
We know a Morrison Government will see further attacks on the human rights of refugees and removal of any hope of a future for those families and children on Nauru and the men on Manus.
We know people seeking asylum will find themselves facing even great barriers just to survive in our communities.
The Australian Council of Social Service has released the following statement:
ACOSS congratulates the Hon Scott Morrison who has just been sworn in as the new Prime Minister.We hope this brings an end to a period of instability in government and politics. The community response to this instability serves as a reminder that our parliamentarians are there to serve the people.The new Prime Minister must focus the Government on dealing with the many challenges facing millions of people in Australia.There are still over three quarters of a million people languishing on Newstart and Youth Allowance, and two thirds still looking for stable paid work after more than one year.We face the prospect of another dry and dangerous summer as a result of climate change with no policies in sight to address the necessary transition to clean energy, the cost of energy bills for people on low incomes, and our commitments to the Paris agreement.We need a strategy to fuel jobs creation and to strengthen the revenue base to meet the growing cost of essential health and community services we all need.Our communities are this country’s strength. We urge the new Prime Minister to provide assurances that he will act to bring the country together, and govern in the interests of the many, not the few.We can overcome great challenges, but only if we all work together – government, community, business and unions.People want a country that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and communities as integral to our story as a nation.People want a country that protects its natural environment.People want a country that ensures our economic success is shared by everyone, and most importantly by people and communities experiencing poverty and disadvantage.People want a country that is open and welcoming to people fleeing persecution.People want a country with a thriving democracy where the voices of people across Australia are heard and valued.ACOSS urges the new Government to reach out to people in the community, to listen carefully, and to act responsively, ethically, and in consultation and tandem with civil society.The voices of people and communities disadvantaged by poverty and inequality in Australia must be included in the dialogue, not only over social security and community services but crucially also economic policy, tax reform, energy transition and housing.ACOSS looks forward to working with the new Ministry as we continue our commitment to the task of building a fairer, most just and sustainable community.
Through the murkiness of the Government’s leadership crisis one thing is starkly clear – the Coalition has scored a massive own goal on health policy. With Greg Hunt’s resignation, they have lost their third Health Minister since 2013..https://t.co/fFYvYzh3cE … #libspill #auspol pic.twitter.com/FBftURqFjT
— AMA Media (@ama_media) August 24, 2018