There has been great consternation among Australians who actually care about their fellow man, about the parlous state of the dole, or as it is now called ‘Newstart’. Currently, for a single person with no children, that amounts to $545.80 per fortnight, which is $39 per day1. This has not been raised in real terms in over 20 years. However, the Energy Supplement was introduced in 2012 and provides an additional $4.40 a week (i.e. $0.63 per day). Therefore, since 1996, and taking the energy supplement into account, there has been a rise in Newstart of less than 0.1% in real terms (in 1996 it was $316.70 per week)2.
If this all was not appalling enough, now one of the members in the Federal Parliament, MP Julia Banks, who is under a dual citizenship cloud, has said that she could live on $40 per day. This is from a woman who is on $203,000 per annum, receives an allowance of $285 per day for each day she is in Canberra, owns 5 properties, including three investment homes3, which are presumably negatively geared. Funnily enough, she did not say where she would live in Melbourne on $550 per week, where rents for studio flats are mostly over $230 per week. If a single person shared a house, they could probably get away with spending something like $100-150 per week. That leaves about $150 per week for food, electricity, telephone, clothing, transport (personal or public) etc.
The head of the Business Council, Jennifer Westacott, has stated that it is impossible to live on such a small amount of money. Indeed, she has said this before, in 2011, when the allowance was $35 per day. After being hammered in the press, it must be dawning on Banks that she has made a fool of herself. This must be especially clear now that the Business Council, one of the biggest supporters of the Coalition government, has come out to tell her she is talking through her hat. It is also very clear that, like MP Craig Kelly, Julia Banks is halfwit.