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
304,064 supporters
Petitioning Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg, Anne Ruston

#KeepTheRate. Don't let people on JobSeeker fall back below the poverty line.

I’m a Tassie grandmother who has seen first hand the devastating impact the low rate of JobSeeker (formerly Newstart) has on young families. Due to the impact of coronavirus, the JobSeeker rate has doubled - but it is set to go back below the poverty line when the pandemic is over. That’s why I am calling on the government to leave JobSeeker where it is and #KeepTheRate. When it became apparent that millions of Australians were at risk of sudden unemployment due to coronavirus, the Prime Minister and Treasurer moved quickly to double JobSeeker. Seemingly overnight, we discovered that raising the JobSeeker rate was possible. In the blink of an eye, hundreds of thousands of Australians were pulled out of poverty. When this pandemic is over, we cannot let them slip back beneath the poverty line. As we slowly, cautiously find a pathway out of this pandemic, we have a chance to fix the system that has been breaking vulnerable Australians. 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 even more difficult. Before the shutdown, experts, politicians, even conservative media commentators all agreed - we needed to increase Newstart. If we don’t keep the rate where it is, we are letting children go back to a life of uncertainty and suffering. Please Mr Morrison, keep everyone in this country safe, warm and fed by keeping JobSeeker where it is.  

Linda Hannah
128,630 supporters
Petitioning Anne Ruston

#ProtectRefugeeKids from government brutality

Hundreds of refugee families, some with newborn babies, are being evicted from their homes and cut off from all financial support.  Families like single mum, Ayaan*, whose little boy, Zahi*, is just 18 months old. If the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) gets its way, Zahi will soon be without food and shelter. With no rental or employment history and only six-month temporary visas, these mums and dads are given three weeks to find jobs and homes. This unprecedented move is re-traumatising kids who have already been through the wringer. Many already suffer chronic mental and physical illnesses as a result of prolonged detention.   On top of losing their homes, their schooling is being disrupted, if not terminated, robbing them of education and a wider support network. The stress being placed on their parents, many of whom also suffer chronic mental and physical illnesses, is also a point of grave concern. The families affected are those previously held on Nauru, who were brought to Australia for medical care. They have since been living in homes provided by the DHA without work rights, on a restricted government allowance.  We are pleading with Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, to extend special benefits to all affected refugees while they work to obtain secure employment, housing and financial independence.  This also includes the refugees recently released from the Park Hotel in Melbourne and all other refugees formerly on Nauru and Papua New Guinea from whom government financial aid has been cruelly withdrawn.  By washing its hands of responsibility for these people, the government has placed the burden of care on the chronically underfunded and under-resourced community sector.  All we want is to see these people, especially the children, happy, healthy and safe, but as grassroots organisations already overwhelmed by the pandemic, we simply cannot cope with the consequences of the DHA’s actions.   Please sign and share this petition and help us #ProtectRefugeeKids. This is a joint initiative by Mums4Refugees, Hope for Nauru and Grandmothers for Refugees NSW, with the support of the organisations listed below.  Supporting this campaign: Welcoming Australia, Communify, Rural Australians for Refugees, Grandmothers for Refugees, Refugee Advocacy Network, Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project, Centre for Asylum Seekers Refugees and Detainees (CARAD), Justice for Refugees SA, Asylum Seeker Network WA.

Mums4Refugees, Hope for Nauru, Grandmothers for Refugees NSW
39,135 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
32,038 supporters
Petitioning Anne Ruston


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.    

9,395 supporters
Petitioning Matt Kean, Mark Speakman, Ray williams, Scott Morrison, NSW Police, Michaelia Cash, Greg Hunt, Honourable David Elliott MP, Anne Ruston, Marise Payne, Pauline HANSON, Mark Latham, Howard Brown, Dom...

Driven to suicide, but Renae's abuser in the clear - Criminalising Catfishing.

Imagine if your child’s best friend led them to take their own life. It’s every parent's worst nightmare, but for us it’s a painful reality. Our daughter was emotionally catfished by her best friend. Our daughter is gone, but her friend has not been charged. There have been no legal consequences for her.  ‘Catfishing’ is defined as ‘creating a fake identity (or stealing that of another’s) to formulate a persona (usually online) for the purpose of obtaining advantage by deception. With the extensive use of social media today, especially with young people, catfishing is becoming a global epidemic. We need your help. Because catfishing is not a criminal offence in any Australian jurisdiction. And it needs to be.   On an August evening in 2013, our beautiful, lively, kind, and generous 20 year old daughter Renae drove to The Gap in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. That day, Renae’s boyfriend of 18 months had ended their relationship and Renae was heartbroken. She was never seen again. As we fought to uncover the reasons why Renae never returned home, the ugly truth was exposed. Renae’s ‘boyfriend’ was actually Renae’s best friend of 6 years, Camila. We had always been concerned with the toxic nature of the friendship. Renae was a forgiving, trusting individual. She wasn’t gullible. As Renae (and we) became more concerned about Camila’s influence and the physically, mentally and emotionally abusive nature of the friendship on Renae, she tried to end the friendship numerous times. Unfortunately, Camila’s manipulation and Renae’s kind hearted nature always saw them reconnect. For almost 2 years of their friendship, Camila simultaneously emotionally catfished Renae, luring her into an online relationship with ‘Brayden’. Yet Renae never discovered the deception. During the time Renae was being catfished, Camila maintained her control over the friendship. She monopolised Renae’s time and mental and emotional energy, both as herself and also as Brayden. There was no escape. When Renae decided to end the friendship for good, Camila responded by having ‘Brayden’ end the relationship. She wanted to punish Renae by crushing her spirit and destroying her emotionally. To date, Renae’s body has never been found.  NSW Police were unable to charge Camila with any offence under existing laws, despite her actions directly influencing Renae to take her own life. Catfishing is not criminalised anywhere in Australia. It took nearly 7 years for Renae’s story to be heard in the NSW Coroners Court to try to find the truth. Despite being granted legal immunity, Camila refused to accept any responsibility. She continued to lie and denied any involvement, all to protect herself. The Deputy Coroner concluded that Renae took her own life, openly declaring Camila's story to be “a pack of lies”. Despite this damning assessment, Camila still lives freely. She goes shopping and frequents the same areas as our family despite totally destroying Renae’s life, and ours. It’s a total slap in the face. Camila’s despicable actions didn’t rip only our world apart. Her behaviour has permanently impacted the lives of other people she used to perpetuate her ruse. She systematically ingratiated herself with us and others as long as we were useful to her. Every step of the way, Camila had choices about whether to continue the deception or to stop. She chose not to, and even drove around with us while we frantically searched for Renae.  Our laws are here to hold people accountable and enforce consequences. We made a promise to our daughter that we will do everything we can to have catfishing criminalised to try to protect others from falling victim to the same fate as Renae. In this digital age, the internet has unfortunately simultaneously opened the doors to online fraud, deception and cyber bullying. These scams usually entail extorting money and obtaining personal information from individuals for financial gain. In Renae’s case, it resulted in the loss of an innocent life. There is currently no legislation that specifically prohibits the use of intentional catfishing to cause sustained pain and suffering. Renae had a beautiful heart that radiated love to anyone who knew her. Ultimately, her amazing personal qualities left her vulnerable to someone with malicious intent. You would never suspect that your own best friend would catfish you into suicide. Renae was lured into a trap set by someone who knew her best, and she’s not alone. With social media dominating people’s lives today, we find many others in similar situations as Renae.  We will not let Renae leave us in vain. Help us make a change in our community to stop others suffering the loss of their loved-ones like our family has. Innocent people need to know they are protected by the law from the cruelty of catfishers. Please join our fight; make a difference and sign this petition. Help to share Renae’s story. We never want another family to suffer the same torment that our young daughter endured and the pain we feel every day. With one click, you can be the change. Nae home video -

Teresa Marsden
9,574 supporters
Petitioning Health Minister, marie stopes CEO, Tim Crankanthorp MP, Nuatali Nelmes Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Sonia Hornery MP, Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, Marise Payne, Greg Hunt, Anne...

Stop the closure of Marie Stopes Newcastle Clinic

Marie Stopes Australia is the only national, independently accredited safe abortion, vasectomy and contraception provider helping women and men take full control of their reproductive lives. Having cared for more than 600,000 Australians in the almost 20 years, they have led national sexual and reproductive health provision in this country. Thus filling the public funding shortfall in preventative family planning services and education. In June 2021 it was announced in a statement, that it was forced to close the clinics due to the "impacts of COVID-19 and regional operating costs". After elaboration, it has essentially come down to the cost of rent at the Broadmeadow location, which could be rectified quite simply with a postcode change to a cheaper suburb. Echoing the sounds of a lazy excuse to close down essential services to women.  The impacts of this closure to the Local and surrounding areas is of detrimental proportions with many individuals now facing uncertainty around their options of family planning and termination services.  Women should not be put into a position where they may have to make rushed decisions or will find themselves unable to travel, with later gestations or having to negotiate their circumstances around other carer responsibilities.  Telehealth is not a viable option for such sensitive situations and could be forcing women that may be in a DV relationship to be put in further danger.  My aim is for the Health Minister, Marie Stopes CEO and our local Members to come together and strongly discuss the true viability of the Newcastle Clinic and whether it would actually be more appropriate to find a cheaper space to rent rather than closing down a VERY busy Newcastle Clinic.  It is one thing to work towards decriminalising abortion in Australia, but how effective is that if there are no safe places for abortion to be accessed?

Larissa Scully
8,258 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
7,775 supporters