Wednesday, 08 May 2019

Voting for an economy where all can flourish

This election much debate has focused on which party will deliver the best economic results and who will pass on the biggest tax cuts for Australians.

With just over a week before the election, we encourage Uniting Church members to think beyond ourselves to what policies and actions will provide a society where all can flourish.

In our election resource, Our Vision for a Just Australia, we consider what it would mean to have an Economy for Life where our government’s economic decisions lift people out of poverty, where our wealth and resources are shared fairly and our investments and spending are good for creation.

Our vision is that everyone has a roof over their head and food on the table and no child lives in poverty.

We hope for a fair tax system that delivers the things we all care about - health, education, transport and other essential services.

In articulating this vision, we have reflected on witness from the Bible.

Israel’s Covenant law enshrines principles that ensure all can benefit from the economy (for example Deuteronomy 24: 14 – 15, 17), while Jesus taught us that we have an obligation to care for those in need (as in Matthew 25: 31 – 46 and Luke 12: 33 – 34; 14: 12 – 14).

The vision statement also draws upon statements made by the UCA. In its inaugural Statement to the Nation in 1977, the UCA said:

“We will challenge values which emphasise acquisitiveness and greed in disregard of the needs of others and which encourage a higher standard of living for the privileged in the face of the daily widening gap between the rich and poor.”

The 2009 statement An Economy of Life noted:

“Individualism, competition and greed deny human flourishing because the fullness of our humanity is not found in wealth but in relationship with each other and the world around us.”

Currently in Australia, just over three million people live below the poverty line, many in deep poverty – surviving on $135 below the poverty line each week.

Newstart payments have not increased in real terms for 24 years and the payment is now worth $278 a week.

Many features of our tax system favour people who are already wealthy adding to growing inequality.

Key actions needed include:

  • Better support for long-term unemployed, especially vulnerable groups with compounding pressures
  • Raising the single rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments.
  • Universal access to quality early learning to all children aged three and four
  • A fairer tax and superannuation system including the introduction of laws which target tax evasion and avoidance.
  • Greater transparency on corporate tax

LEARN MORE and TAKE ACTION

To research further or join others, check out these campaigns

Tax justice for developing countries:

Increasing Newstart payments:

Addressing Homelessness:

Read the full vision statement.

For anyone attending or hosting a community forum for candidates in the next week, or for future elections, a new resource has been produced by the Synod of VIC/TAS Justice and International Mission with lots of helpful tips. Download A Guide to Organising an Election Forum.