Inspired by my friend Peter Sutton I contacted the PM’s office. The following letter briefly outlines my lived experiences on Newstart and mentions Suicide. Please do not read it if it will cause you distress. I am here and I have survived all that had happened to me, the good and the bad and for that I am grateful.
Dear Prime Minister Albanese,
It is with great pride and much relief I am able to address you as such, congratulations on a great victory.
I am writing today to discuss income support and the need to raise Jobseeker as an urgent priority.
I am a person with disabilities and I do alot of advocacy in my communities.
I was on Newstart for approximately 11 years. At the time although i had a diagnosis of bipolar and was required to engage with Disability Employment Services that continued to place me under stress that resulted in my bipolar relapsing. I call these the lost years and am now glad I did not commit suicide.
In 2013 I was finally granted the Disability Support Pension that has made an emmence difference to my quality of life . In 2020 I was diagnosed as autistic.
For me living on Newstart as it was called at the time ment living with my parents to survive. They are good and generous people, but there was a financial burden of supporting an adult daughter who could not afford to contribute to household bills and expenses. I am privilaged to be in a position where I had family support, many people on Newstart/Jobseeker do not have that option.
For many living on Jobseeker means being malnutrished as food becomes a lesser priority then rent. It can also involve skipping medications in lue of other expenses. It can make looking professional more difficult as you search second hand charity stores for clothes that are interview suitable. All of these stressors can lead to mental health challenges that then become a barrier to leading a satisfactory life and getting employment.
Many jobseekers have preexisting disabilities and some are psychologically demaged by the issues relating to unemployment.
I believe most people want to work.If there is a small amount of people who lack the motivation to look for work I still believe they deserve a safe home and food as a basic human right in a lucky country like ours.
Please raise jobseeker urgently