Anti-Poverty Week 13-19 October is an opportunity to raise awareness and look at what each of us can do to overcome it. The aim of the week is to help the Australian community increase its understanding of poverty and to take action collectively to end it. To help reduce poverty and hardship, everyone is encouraged to organise an activity during the week, or take part in one.
The ACOSS/UNSW Poverty in Australia 2018 report says there are more than three million people living below the poverty line in Australia including 739,000 children – that’s one in eight adults and more than one in six children. Many of those affected are living in deep poverty – on average $135 a week below the poverty line.
Productivity Commission research published in 2018 as Rising Inequality? stated that despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the proportion of Australians living on very low incomes (nine per cent to 10 per cent) has not changed. The report says forms of poverty for children in particular have actually risen over the past 20 years. See Poverty in Australia Fast Facts.
What you can do
1. Contact your local parish to ask if it will be sharing quotes on billboards for anti-poverty week. Look out for quotes on church billboards around Newcastle during that week, and share photos on social media.
2. Share quotes on social media. Here are some suggestions:
“Poverty is a national waste as well as individual waste.” Whitlam 1969
“No child shall live in poverty.” Hawke 1987
“People should be able to obtain these benefits as a matter of right.” Menzies 1944
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.” Mandela
“It is a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” Mandela
“Poverty is the absence of all human rights.” Muhammad Yunus
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Roosevelt 1937
3. Talk to your friends and family about poverty in Australia and overseas.
4.Be creative in raising money for charities that tackle this issue every day.
5. Check out the Anti-Poverty Week website for other ideas.
It doesn’t matter if what you decide to do is big or small. It is important that it brings people together to reflect on how poverty affects us all and that there are ways that all Australians can help.