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Election 2022: What the sector wants


22 April 2022 at 4:37 pm
Danielle Kutchel
The 2022 federal election is rapidly approaching. Each day, candidates from across the political spectrum lay out their agenda. But how does that fit with yours?


Danielle Kutchel | 22 April 2022 at 4:37 pm


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Election 2022: What the sector wants
22 April 2022 at 4:37 pm

The 2022 federal election is rapidly approaching. Each day, candidates from across the political spectrum lay out their agenda. But how does that fit with yours?

Pro Bono News has gathered together the main policy wants from across key pillars of our sector, as well as other key areas of interest from charities, peak bodies and advocacy groups. 

Over the coming weeks we will put questions to the major political players from each party to find out how they will serve you should they form government after 21 May. We will also feature interviews with these political faces to keep you up-to-date with their policy pledges and announcements.

To help guide our coverage, take our election poll! Visit our website to have your say. And of course, if you would like to respond to any of the issues raised in your own words, you can email us at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

Following is a summary of some of the sector’s biggest concerns and policy demands in the lead up to the 2022 federal election:

Charities

The charity sector has broadly welcomed the news from Labor that the party would develop a charity sector blueprint if it wins the election; the Community Council of Australia said the blueprint was something it had been calling for for some time.

Meanwhile, a coalition of more than 50 for-purpose organisations has drawn up a list of proposed reforms to the sector for the new government, including seeking a guarantee of the independence of charities in how they pursue their purpose, and federal funding agreements that encourage advocacy. The group said it was ready to work “constructively” on reforms.

Volunteering

In its 2022 election platform, Volunteering Australia is calling on the electorate to “Vote for Volunteers”, and for candidates to “recognise and support” volunteers, the organisations they’re involved with and that support them. Volunteering Australia is also keen to work with the incoming government on the design and implementation of a National Strategy for Volunteering.

Philanthropy

Philanthropy Australia released its campaign strategy early, asking candidates to join with the body and the sector as a whole to double philanthropic giving in Australia by 2030. The organisation laid out a number of reforms that could help make this possible, including a national campaign to promote giving, and the creation of a single national set of rules to regulate fundraising in Australia. Labor has committed to doubling philanthropy and a number of Philanthropy Australia’s other aims, should the party form government in May.

Social enterprise

The Alliance of Social Enterprise Networks Australia (ASENA) has announced three actions that it is encouraging candidates in this federal election to take:

  • Learn about the state of social enterprise in their electorates and the impact they have on the local community.
  • Publicly pledge their support for social enterprise.
  • Provide funding to the tune of $24.6 million from each portfolio in which social enterprise supports public outcomes, including disability, housing and Indigenous Affairs.

Impact investing

Impact Investing Australia made a number of submissions to the government prior to the 2022 federal budget which still stand as priorities for the incoming government after the election. Its recommendations include:

  • the creation of an impact investing wholesaler, the role of which would be to act as the go-to place for “anchor capital and impact due diligence”, which would support capital raising from private investors;
  • the development of a broad, multi-function social enterprise growth fund; and
  • the extension of existing social enterprise capacity-building programs in the Indo-Pacific region.

Welfare

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has listed three major policy priorities for the coming election: poverty, inequality, and climate change. It has also provided a detailed list of policies it would like the incoming government to commit to:

  • Raise the rate of Jobseeker, Youth Allowance, and other income support payments so it is at least $70 a day. 
  • Establish a Single Parent Supplement recognising the additional costs of raising children as a single parent.
  • Index payments to wages as well as CPI, including Family Tax Benefit, so that they maintain pace with community living standards.
  • Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50 per cent to ensure people on the lowest incomes, especially single parents, can better cover the cost of rent.
  • Commit to full employment, so as many people as possible can secure paid employment for the regular paid hours they need.
  • Create a Community Sector Continuity of Service Enabling Fund to ensure continuity of service delivery, adaptation, secure jobs, prevent loss of jobs or income, and guarantee paid special leave for all workers.
  • Rescind unaffordable tax cuts for people on higher incomes and shield people with the least resources from any spending reductions.

Similarly, the Antipoverty Centre expressed its disappointment at both major parties for a lack of action on raising the JobSeeker rate, and providing misleading information on the unemployment rate. The organisation has called on politicians to “commit to increasing all social security payments to the Henderson poverty line, which is currently $88 a day, and ensure that everyone who needs support can get it”.

Climate crisis

Vote Compass data shows that climate change is the most important issue for Australians this election, but so far the main parties have largely avoided the topic. Organisations from across the sector have made it clear that the climate crisis is also an important issue for them and their work.

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) has called for “real and immediate action” on climate change, with several policy suggestions relating to social justice including the adaptation of existing housing stock for low-income people and renters to better control temperature and reduce energy costs. AASW also wants to see a climate change and equality policy statement created that will see the climate crisis burden distributed equally.

ACOSS has called on the incoming government to commit to reducing carbon pollution, ideally by 75 per cent by 2030 (on 2005 level), and implement a fair and inclusive plan to ensure people and communities with the least benefit from transition to clean energy and economy.

Additionally, the Australian Conservation Foundation has outlined five goals as part of its Together We Can campaign, aimed at addressing climate change and environmental issues. These are:

  • turning Australia into a clean energy superpower;
  • powering schools, government offices, sporting clubs, halls and libraries with clean energy by 2025;
  • making public transport more accessible, and making sure this and electric cars run on clean energy;
  • moving money invested with banks and superannuation funds out of coal and gas; and
  • protecting and restoring Australia’s natural environment.

First Nations

Change the Record’s election platform outlines policy demands in four broad areas: housing, family violence, social security and justice. Each of these broad areas includes a number of demands:

  • Housing – commit to systemic reform to ensure everyone has somewhere safe and comfortable to call home; invest in Aboriginal and community-controlled housing; end homelessness once and for all.
  • Family violence – adequately fund family violence prevention and legal services to meet community need; restore funding to the national peak, the Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum; establish a self-determined, dedicated National Safety Plan for and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
  • Social security – raise the rate of Centrelink so no one is forced to live in poverty; abolish racist compulsory income management; abolish punitive mutual obligations.
  • Justice – establish a National Justice Reinvestment Body; end Black deaths in custody and fully implement police and prison oversight; Raise the Age to at least 14 years old.

Reconciliation Australia has also released its election priorities, asking the new government to be “brave and ambitious” in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.  Reconciliation Australia is asking the incoming government to:

  • support the Uluru Statement from the Heart;
  • work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations on funding and meeting the targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap;
  • support local, regional and national truth-telling; and
  • fund a long-term National Anti-Racism Framework.

Disability

On Tuesday, the Labor party announced a suite of policies in relation to the NDIS, including a review of its design and operations, hiring over 300 more agency employees, and a crackdown on the National Disability Insurance Agency’s use of private law firms and consultants. The pledges were broadly welcomed by People with Disability Australia (PWDA), though the organisation wanted to see more detail on many key points. 

Ahead of the election, PWDA has released its election platform, spanning the areas of health and wellbeing, financial security and employment, inclusive homes and communities, safety, rights and justice, personal and community support via the NDIS, education and learning, and community attitudes.

Anglicare Australia, in a joint call with other major Australian church providers, has asked that the NDIS deliver on its objectives and have “enough funding to provide tailored, individual support”.

Aged care / older Australians

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia has released a list of 37 recommendations for the incoming government. These recommendations cover a range of issues, including:

  • addressing ageism and age discrimination, especially by strengthening age discrimination legislation and establishing a Productivity Commission inquiry into the costs of ageism;
  • transforming aged care, including by committing to and funding all recommendations and timelines from the Aged Care Royal Commission, except the funding and financing recommendations;
  • commissioning a review into the Age Pension;
  • introducing a whole-of-government strategy on older Australians and an ageing Australia; and
  • repealing the Federal Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, so that Australian citizens in the ACT and NT have the same rights as those in states to decide whether or not to adopt Voluntary Assisted Dying laws.

COTA Australia also welcomed the Labor Party’s planned aged care reforms, including the appointment of a dedicated Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

Meanwhile, COTA Victoria has identified the weeks leading up to the election as a “window of opportunity” as it advocates for the needs of the people over 50 in Victoria. COTA Victoria is advocating for assistive technology for all – for those older people who need aids, equipment or home modifications to be able to access them “in a timely and affordable manner”. The organisation notes that those under 65 who live with a disability can access this assistive technology through the NDIS – but older people who are excluded from the scheme do not receive that assistance.

Housing

National Shelter has a detailed list of policy priorities to tackle the housing crisis in Australia. This includes:

  • Establishing a National Housing Strategy – which includes a plan to lift the national level of social housing to 10 per cent of all housing by 2036.
  • Housing as infrastructure linked to economic productivity, with a national housing minister to be included in Cabinet within, or linked to, a central agency.
  • Recognising that housing is essential to health and wellbeing, and establishing a set of minimum housing standards (within the national housing strategy) to be met by all rental housing.
  • A fair and secure renting system, including rental law reform across Australia, led by the Commonwealth government and encompassing a minimum set of national standards.
  • Reforming taxation to remove distortions and raise revenue for housing.
  • Housing Australia’s First Peoples, including adopting the principle of self-determination for First Peoples’ housing, and developing a National First Peoples’ housing strategy.
  • Planning reform for the delivery of affordable housing.

In addition, ACOSS has called on the new government to build at least 25,000 new social housing units across the country and increase government investment in social housing stock long-term to create an ongoing pipeline.

Anglicare Australia, in collaboration with other major Australian church providers, has called for more to be done to support Australians to get into secure and stable accommodation.

Misinformation

Sixteen community, human rights and religious groups have come together to call on candidates in this election to commit to honesty and limit the spread of disinformation. The group has asked candidates to:

  • campaign honestly;
  • commit to meaningful reform to stop disinformation, including by introducing penalties for any candidates, campaigners or parties who deliberately misinform voters, and laws that require digital platforms to be transparent about the spread of disinformation on their platforms; and
  • commit to developing laws to limit the spread of disinformation, according to principles including that the laws should be proportionate, should focus on the harm disinformation can cause at a community and societal level, and that the laws should not restrict free speech or a free press.

Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting.

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