Proposed amendment to Towards a Socialist Australia: Disability and Poverty

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Under the subhead, “Economic Crisis Already Here - with worse to come” add the sentence in bold.

  1. The richest 20% of the population now own 61% of total household wealth, while the poorest 20% own just 1%. Two million people live in poverty, and at least 100,000 are homeless on any given night. Public health care is under-funded, and quality education is increasingly for children whose parents can pay. Pensions and unemployment benefits are far below poverty levels. Australians living with disability have the worst quality of life in the developed world with one in two living in poverty.

The rationale for this is as follows:

A report issued by Price Waterhouse Coopers in November 2011 indicated that out of 27 OECD countries, Australia ranked last with people with disability 2.7 times more at risk of poverty.

On employment opportunities for people with disability, Australia listed 21 of 29 OECD countries in that category. The current employment rate of people with disabilities sits at 39.8% as compared with 79.4% for those without a disability - and those figures would dramatically understate the real weight of the problem as many of those in receipt of a Disability Support Pension are not formally registered as job seekers.

I think Socialist Alliance needs to name this outrage, scandalise and politicise it! We need to raise disability rights in a way we've not before and, over the coming months and years, insert ourselves in the debate around the National Disability Insurance Scheme and champion the rights of this sector that goes largely unrecognised.

Over recent years, there has been criticism from some quarters that Socialist Alliance does not take up this question. I think it's time we name it in our formal political resolution and seek to support and be part of campaigns by disability rights activists.