I am the proud mum of boisterous and loving eight year old twin boys. I am their safe place, their love and their only parent. One of my little ones requires a lot of me: together we’re meeting the challenges of Aspergers. To build a bright and secure future for both my boys, I was studying law and doing contract work whenever I could - it’s a really hard slog, but it was worth it for them. That all came to a crashing halt when we were hit with Newstart.
On Newstart, you struggle: I lost $158 per week. I was forced to give up study, and the boys had to quit the National Boys Choir. Now, we have to rely on the help of others so they can play footy, go on school camps and have second-hand school uniforms to wear. They hide excursion forms from me because they know how much it stresses me to try and make ends meet. No child should be robbed of their education. I’m asking our political leaders to fix this, urgently.
The boys' father lives overseas and in a country where he doesn’t have to pay child support - it's all up to me. I cycle in and out of contract work - trying to get as much work as I can - but there’s no sick pay and no leave and when work is slow we do it really tough. My current contract ends in September. I’ve survived two eviction notices in the last eight months but I’m terrified that this time we might not.
I am a fighter and I’ve joined the Single Parents' Action Group but I still feel beaten down by these changes. It makes me feel really inadequate, adding to the heavy stress of being a single parent. Being a parent is the most important job in the world, but it simply can’t be done on Newstart. It needs fixing.
There are more than half a million Australian children who are harmed by the severe impact of poverty -- and that number is growing. Many proud parents are struggling everyday to protect their kids from the harsh impacts of poverty. This election, I’m asking Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd to fix Newstart and end child poverty in Australia. Our children, and their future, are much too valuable to ignore.