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Leave no-one behind as we work together to get to the other side

People living in single‑parent families, unemployed people, people with disability and First Nations people are most at risk of entrenched poverty and poorer health, in turn making them more vulnerable to this virus.  It was a huge relief to see the doubling of JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart) but that was off the back of literally years of campaigning that failed to persuade governments it was the right thing to do.   The historic legislation on wage subsidies also take us in the right direction.  The strong cooperation between unions, business and governments to achieve this new JobKeeper payment is also a great step forward.  Hopefully many of the 970,000 working Australians living in poverty before this dramatic pandemic struck will be among those to get help.  However there remain grave concerns about people excluded from any form of income support, wage subsidy or even Medicare.  Not all temporary visa holders can simply “go home” .  As the Refugee Council has said “This virus does not discriminate on the basis of citizenship or visa status.  Ignoring some in our community because they lack permanent visa status make no sense at all – and heightens the risk for everyone.”   Together we will get through this crisis if we listen to the science, use our creativity to solve problems, and be kind to each other.  We’ll need to keep doing that on the other side as well.  Let’s not also forget when we make policy that we listen to people who are living with poverty every day, some of our most resourceful and resilient Australians.