Decision Maker

Anne Ruston

  • Minister for Families and Social Services

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Petitioning The Hon Stuart Robert MP, The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Anne Ruston

Give Full Centrelink Support for Kiwis who live and work in Australia. COVID-19

This petition is asking for the Australian Government to reinstate full Centrelink support to New Zealand Citizens living in Australia during the COVID-19 outbreak.  There is a relatively small number of Kiwis living in Australia who have found themselves suddenly out of work because of the COVID-19 outbreak and consequential shutdowns.   I myself received a text message on my way to work, telling me that unfortunately I no longer have a job. The job market is flooded with approximately 2 million casual, contractors, and sole traders who have all just lost their jobs. My Mum is here with me, is high-risk for COVID-19, and now can’t return to New Zealand. And I’ve heard from hundreds of Kiwis with heartbreaking stories. People with families, mortgages, and no way to keep going.  There are only 650,000 New Zealand citizens who have made Australia their home. We all contribute to the Australian economy and social fabric. Many of us will be okay for a while, but some of us need help right away. Our home is here, our families are here, and we want to stay here. Many of us cannot simply uproot our lives here and head back to NZ. We have families, we are part of our communities. Australians who are in New Zealand for more than 30 days and intend to make New Zealand their permanent home can access full support from the Ministry of Social Development. Up until 2001, it was the same here for Kiwis.  We are all in this together and need to muster our ANZAC spirit as we have also done so many times in the past. Please, sign and share this petition and show Kiwis in Australia some support during this crisis. The following is an open letter to the Minister in charge.  To The Honourable Stuart Robert MP,  the Minister for Government Services. and The Senator Honourable Anne Ruston, the Minister for Families and Social Services As the Ministers in charge of Social Services, please allow New Zealand citizens who live and work in Australia to access the full Centrelink support safety net especially during COVID-19 outbreak. The New Zealand government already offers access to the full social welfare safety net that Work and Income offer after only living in New Zealand for 30 days if they provide evidence that they intend to live and work in New Zealand going forward. Please reinstate the reciprocal agreement that we used to have at the very least during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Many of us choose Australia as our home and have worked here for years paying full tax and making contributions for this safety net despite not being allowed to have any or only limited access to it.  This outbreak has turned the world upside down and it’s simply not practical for many of us to simply pack up and go back to New Zealand because our homes and families are now here in Australia. All we are asking for is the right to access the safety net that we already contribute to with the taxes we pay here, like every other Australian. Now more then ever we are vulnerable from the situation that is 100% out of our control - please show some compassion and unlock Centrelink for New Zealand citizens.

Alax Robinson
259,818 supporters
Petitioning Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg, Anne Ruston

Increase the Newstart payment by $95 per week

I’m a Tassie grandmother who has seen first hand the devastating impact the low rate of Newstart has on young families. That’s why I’m calling for the Newstart unemployment benefit to be increased by at least $95 per week.  Did you know the Newstart allowance has not increased in real terms since 1995, when John Howard put a freeze on it? Now, even he is calling for an increase! Currently, the National unemployment rate is 5.3% but it is 7% in Tasmania, and the underemployment rate is 8.4%. The country is struggling to bring the unemployment rate below 5%, and there will always be a percentage that is unable or simply not capable of getting a paid job.  Why don't we just accept the reality, and show some compassion for those people in our society who have ended up in the too-hard basket, and are really doing it tough? Bob Hawke famously said, way back in 1987, that no child in Australia would be living in poverty by 1990. It is now estimated over 731,000 children in Australia are living in poverty. This is simply unacceptable. It is shameful.  I’ve seen the impact of this poverty cycle up close, and it breaks my heart. Sometimes it feels like this government is waking up each day thinking up new ways to make these poor people's lives more difficult.  Experts, politicians, even conservative media commentators all agree - we need to increase Newstart. And we can’t wait. Children are suffering. A $95 increase would lift these young families above the poverty line. We’re a rich country, and we used to have big hearts. What happened? Please Scott Morrison, increase the Newstart/Jobsearch Allowance by $95 per week -  now!

Linda Hannah
74,026 supporters
Petitioning Senator Penny Wong, Malcolm Turnbull, Jay Weatherill, Nick Xenophon, Steven Marshall MP, Hon Tony Piccolo, Hon Jack Snelling MP, Hon John Darley, Hon Robert Brokenshire, Hon John Rau MP, Hon Kate E...

Government funding for epilepsy

South Australia and the Northern Territory are the only states in Australia that do not receive Government funding to support children and families living with epilepsy. 63,000 people live with epilepsy in South Australia and 8,000 in the Northern Territory. The Epilepsy Centre continues to provide support and services to those affected funded solely by private donations. Epilepsy can be a devastating condition to manage and the support The Epilepsy Centre provides to the community is an absolute necessity. The suicide rate among youth living with epilepsy is 25% higher than the general population, due to difficulties in securing employment, maintaining friendships and holding a driver’s license. It is a life of uncertainty, confusion, isolation and embarrassment which no one should have to endure. Epilepsy can affect anyone at any age. Epilepsy is not just falling to the ground and shaking. A seizure can kill. The Epilepsy Centre is a professional organisation committed to providing quality services to people living with epilepsy and improving community awareness and attitudes throughout South Australia and the Northern Territory. The team at The Epilepsy Centre have been helping people since for over 40 years and we work continuously to raise awareness of epilepsy in the community to reduce stigma and create a more welcoming and inclusive society. Our key services include: Counselling Advocacy Epilepsy Management Support Care Plan Development NDIS Support Home and Residential Care Visits Employment Support Resources Workshops Clinics Epilepsy Training for Families, Schools and Workplace In hospital Support Collaboration and networking with other agencies Risk Assessments Epilepsy First Aid Training Emergency Medication Training Annual Camps Epilepsy Education for - Schools, Workplaces, Sports Groups, Disability and Support Workers, Community Organisations, Family and Friends The cost of service delivery is incredibly high yet we strive to go above and beyond to supply children and families with necessary medical equipment designed to protect people from their seizures. For over two years The Epilepsy Centre has donated almost 60 Seizure Monitors to children in need. These monitors are placed on the child's bed and can detect movements similar to seizures, which then sounds a loud alarm to alert loved ones. Each seizure monitor costs $1000, which most families can not afford. We have also donated equipment such as Oximeters, life jackets, ice vests, helmets and specially designed wheel chairs. Our mission and vision is to improve in all respects the welfare of people with epilepsy and their families in South Australia and The Northern Territory. We aim to: Educate the public to accept persons with epilepsy as equal citizens and encourage greater public understanding Remove any discrimination from persons with epilepsy and/or their families Advise and help persons with epilepsy, and their families Represent persons with epilepsy in being accepted with education authorities and all employer organisations Promote and provide information on epilepsy by way of pamphlets, advertising, films, articles, discussion and lectures to public and professional groups and the community Support research programmes and seminars into medical and social aspects of epilepsy Government funding would enable us to employ additional full-time nurses, social workers and counsellors to manage the enormous workload. These workers would help reduce hospital admissions, give families and individuals much needed support, train schools and workplaces and help improve community understanding - effectively ending the appalling stigma associated with seizures. It's time to recognise that epilepsy is indeed a Chronic Health Condition and to provide much-needed funding for The Epilepsy Centre. For more information please visit: www.epilepsycentre.org.au or Or like us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/theepilepsycentre/ 

The Epilepsy Centre
12,024 supporters
Petitioning Scott Morrison, Stuart Robert, Mathias Cormann, Anne Ruston

Persons with disability and their carers need COVID-19 support payment.

This is me with my wonderful son, Luke, who lives with a disability. I spend most of my time caring for him, but also work on a part-time basis to supplement our income, just like so many other parents. My job prospects have also taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, unlike parents on Parenting Payment, the government isn’t offering parents on Carer Payment (CP) or Disability Support Pension (DSP) any fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement. (The government are only offering the lesser-paying Economic Support Payment to people on DSP or CP.) This leaves parents with a disability in their family on a lower overall payment than parents on Parenting Payment. Having a disability or a child with a disability shouldn’t make a difference. This is why I’m calling on the government to top up DSP and CP for the next six months, like those on Parenting Payment will have access to. In my circumstance, I completed my last temp job two weeks before people started losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. I, too, am finding it increasingly difficult to find another job and expect to be out of work for the duration of the economic downturn. There are many others like me. It is commendable that the federal government has announced an additional one-off Economic Support Payment and fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement payments for those on Jobseeker payments, Parenting Payment, and others for the next six months. However, it is deeply upsetting that the government doesn’t equally recognise DSP and CP recipients, and has denied us the fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement. People with disability and carers are also suffering  massive financial setbacks in the coronavirus economic downturn, due to changes in expenses and income.  This is about including all people with disabilities in the community. I am urging the government to acknowledge people with disability and those who care for someone with a disability, including parents in these groups, as well as everyone else on Centrelink income support payments. A fair and equitable way to address the unprecedented crisis would be to top up everyone's fortnightly Centrelink payments to match what is being offered to people without disability or who care for children who don’t have a disability. 

Kerry Janten
9,465 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Anne Ruston

SAY NO TO THE CASHLESS DEBIT CARD

We are the voices of the Australian people and we call on our Government to immediately stop the trial and roll out of the Indue LTD Cashless Debit Card. We uphold the position of the Australian Human Rights Commission, that states the CDC Program is in violation of Human Rights Standards and as such, it is a program that fails to uphold Australian democratic and community values. Legislation governing the card trial removes Australian citizens who have committed no crimes, from full and equal protection under Anti-Discrimination, Privacy and Consumer laws and infringes heavily upon existing Racial, Disability, Social Security Privacy and Human Rights legislation's. We hold that any form of social or economic apartheid is unacceptable and is not reflective or representative of Australian community values or standards. We reject the notion that the current sitting government has been empowered by the national constituency, to force voting, taxpaying citizens to enter into financial relationships and legally binding contracts with any non government corporate entities against their will, simply because they are in lawful receipt of Social Security entitlements. We resoundingly deplore this governments use of force and stereotypes and its use of omission and other manipulative pressures in parliament and in national media, to engineer Cashless Card Roll outs; the cost of which is being measured at this time, in human lives lost; in community division and increases in crime and predation. Given the urgency and evident need for systemic social welfare funding in our communities, we find the multiple million dollar redirection of Taxpayer funds to this program to be evidence of wholesale economic mismanagement and shortsightedness. A failure of imagination. We call on the Australian Liberal/National Coalition to acknowledge and accept the overwhelming evidence gathered from community, academic, government and social service sectors alike, that confirms the position that programs of Forced Income Management simply do not work and have only entrenched cycles of abuse, violence addiction and poverty. We call on the Australian Parliament to hear and raise our voice, and ask them to call upon this government to suspend all CDC operations.    

THESAY NOSEVEN
9,426 supporters
Petitioning Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg, Mathias Cormann, Daniel Andrews, Simon Birmingham, Greg Hunt, Michaelia Cash, Anne Ruston

Save the Australian Hospitality Industry by signing #SaveHospo

We all know it’s of paramount importance for the Australian public to self-isolate so we can flatten the curve and avoid an exponential growth in Covid-19 cases. But with Australians staying home in self-isolation, restaurants have seen a sharp decline in dine-in customers, forcing them to shutdown because there is no money coming in to pay wages & rent.  With the threat of the pandemic growing everyday restaurants are facing an existential threat. Restaurant owners, who have poured their life savings, blood, sweat and tears into their businesses, are now at the brink of collapse. The hospitality and tourism sectors are together worth over $100 billion dollars, and their demise would be catastrophic for the country. But at this time of crisis, they are struggling like never before. As you know, the hospitality industry can’t work from home or in isolation. It largely consists of casual and part-time employees, the majority of whom are now being plunged into poverty since they can no longer go in to work or employers can no longer afford to pay their salaries, due to their restaurants no longer being operational.  The hospitality industry would like to respectfully urge the Australian Federal and State level governments to look into this matter urgently. We are staring down the barrel at what will be the end of the hospitality industry in Australia as we know it, unless the government steps up and provides the industry with a stimulus package, which will help us pay staff wages and rent until the Covid-19 pandemic has run its course. Please sign the petition and spread the word so we don’t lose Australia’s famous restaurant culture, which is very much a part of the fabric of this great nation. #SaveHospo #SupportSmallBusinesses   

Ganeev Bains
7,687 supporters
Petitioning Anne Ruston, Scott Morrison

Stop endangering domestic violence victims through couples counselling

Couples counselling is unsafe for victims of domestic violence. Survivors have told the Government this themselves, as have the specialist women's safety services and advocacy groups that support them. Even those with expertise working with men who use violence and their representative bodies have told the Government that couples counselling is unsafe and ineffective as a response to domestic abuse. Yet, the Government has pushed ahead with its controversial decision to invest $10 million of taxpayers funds to expand what it calls a "whole of family approach" to domestic abuse which includes couples counselling. This intervention could see women and their children placed in situations where they have no control over their own safety and are at increased risk of serious injury and homicide. Domestic abuse survivor and CEO, Rachael Natoli says it all with this statement:  “In an abusive relationship we learn to manage the behaviour of the abuser to stay safe and protect the children, and we do that the best that we possibly can. But [in couples] counselling you don't have control over what is discussed. In this case, one of two things will happen- either you’ll say something and be punished, or you’ll lie and it is a complete waste of time.” Sign the petition to tell the Prime Minister couples counselling is not safe for victims of domestic abuse and that you want this decision urgently reversed. These funds must be invested in the services women and children need to achieve safety.  ***************************************************** Shockingly, the announcement to fund couples counselling was made under the National Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children. Yet, the women's safety practitioners and advocates advising the Government on the National Plan never recommended this. In fact, due to serious concerns about women and children's safety and in response to a public outcry, the Government was advised against the move, but pressed ahead regardless, and the new Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston has doubled down.  Concerns were raised by the women's safety sector that despite being named "Specialised Family Violence Services" the grant guidelines contained no specifications as to specialist domestic and family violence knowledge or expertise nor the need to employ domestic and family violence safety mechanisms. Indeed the listed organisations eligible to apply for the grant were largely faith-based services delivering family relationship services and not specialist domestic and family violence services and there has been no consultation or transparency with the sector as to how these organisations were selected. No reference was made in the grant guidelines as to any requirement to meet the National Outcome Standards for Perpetrator Interventions which were developed under the National Plan to ensure perpetrators are held to account through effective interventions that stop their violence. Psychiatrist Dr Karen Williams from Doctors Against Violence Towards Women holds grave concerns about the plan to expand couples counselling in a domestic abuse context: "We know that the majority of women who are affected by domestic violence are already not disclosing violence due to fear of the consequences- they are left in violent situations for far too long as it is and do not need further encouragement to remain with their abusers." Dr Williams is particularly worried about whether the services are to be delivered by appropriately qualified specialists:  "The risks of couples counselling is injury and death, so any type of intervention in these settings should only be performed by specialist practitioners." Women’s Safety NSW and Doctors Against Violence Towards Women, along with partners in the women’s safety sector are calling on the Government to listen to survivors of domestic abuse and to the specialist services that support them, and to act in accordance with the evidence of interventions which are proven to be safe and effective in addressing domestic abuse. These are women's specialist services providing information, support, safety planning, referrals, court advocacy, case management, supported accommodation and counselling, as well as accredited men's behaviour change services. Also essential are culturally safe and specific services for Aboriginal, CALD and LGBTIQ communities for equal access to crucial supports. It's time to speak up. The cost of inaction on this critical issue is too great. We cannot ignore the shocking statistics and the names, faces and experiences behind these statistics anymore. Let's join together to send a clear message that we, as a community will no longer tolerate, accept or condone violence against women and children in our society.  

Kate Johnson
6,048 supporters
Petitioning Minister for Education, Greg Hunt, Anne Ruston, Scott Morrison, Daniel Tehan, Stuart Robert

Stop educational discrimination against children with ADHD

Thousands of children with ADHD experience discrimination and alienation in schools across Australia each day. Behind this discrimination is a lack of awareness and wilful economic ignorance about the nature of ADHD. This ignorance exists within all levels of the education system.  We call on the Education Minister to ensure: Schools in Australia are up to date with the current research and developments relating to ADHD. Principals and teachers are trained to recognise ADHD is a neurobiological condition. Students with ADHD are provided access to funding and support. Schools formulate and implement positive strategies for students with ADHD, both in the classroom and playground. Principals and teachers who discriminate against children with ADHD are legally held accountable for their actions. Stop discriminating against our children and instead provide support. Children with ADHD require adjustments to their learning environment. Many also require health and allied services including Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Behavioural and Psychological services. These services are not freely available across Australia and are financially out of reach for many parents and carers. Provide access for those affected by ADHD to these services and allow them the opportunity to participate equitably in the community.

Saf Chaleur
3,219 supporters