Women are being left out and left behind by the Morrison Government

08 October 2020


$1 trillion in debt and nothing for women and people over the age of 35.

Women are being left out and left behind. Day after day we see new evidence of the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having on Australian women, but in response the Morrison Government has failed.

Women have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, taking on two-thirds of the unpaid care work at home.

Even before the pandemic hit, a significant number of JobSeeker recipients were middle-aged women.

In August, there were 754,100 women receiving JobSeeker. Of those, 61 per cent of women were over 35.

The same research revealed a huge increase in the number of women in their 40s, 50s and 60s who relied on unemployment benefits for years. A third of women aged at least 55 have been on unemployment support for at least five years.

460,000 women who are aged over 35 years, are without work, and face a future of living on $40 a day.

They have been excluded from the Morrison Government’s ‘hiring credit’ scheme and will need compete against younger subsidised job seekers.

So, if you're a woman in her 40s who's been on JobKeeper during this recession, had your hours reduced ... working in one of the industries such as hospitality or retail, and come March or April you lose your job, what is in the budget for you? Nothing.

The Morrison Government excluded many women from JobKeeper. The Morrison Government only provided JobKeeper for two-thirds of early educators, and then ripped JobKeeper from the sector before any other profession. 96 per cent of early educators are women. Women working on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis.

And what about First Nations women?

Let’s have a look at their story.

There’s not additional education funding for young First Nations women

The Clontarf Foundation funding supports the education of young First Nations men only.

No additional health or legal/justice services for First Nations women.

No new money for further frontline domestic violence services, including no additional emergency and social housing to meet increased demand due to COVID-19.

No COVID-19 recovery support for unemployed Indigenous women over 35 years of age to regain employment.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that of the 64,644 First Nations people who sought specialist help for homelessness in 2016-17, 61 per cent were women.

First Nations women comprise 34 per cent of all female prisoners compared to 2 per cent of the overall Australian population. Although the majority of people in prison are male (97 per cent), First Nations women are the most rapidly growing population of prisoners, with rates increasing by 150 per cent since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, twice the rate of other females and double the rate of First Nations males from 2000 to 2016.

These women have often experienced poverty, grief and loss, domestic violence, racism and poor mental health.

Senator Ruston has noted the women's economic security statement  contained $240 million specific initiatives for women.

$1.1 trillion dollars of debt, and the Prime Minister’s “women’s economic statement” contains just $240 million - for 51% of the population.

That is a pittance compared to multi-billion dollar commitments directed to various male-dominated industries.

The 2020 Budget contains nothing to address significant job losses in industries dominated by women. Yet women have represented more than 50 per cent of job losses during the coronavirus-led economic downturn.

There’s no new funding for frontline domestic and family violence service providers that support women and their children escaping violence.

Nothing new to address the gender pay gap.

Nothing on superannuation and women’s economic security in retirement.

Nothing on childcare.

Nothing, nothing on social housing.

Nothing. No plan for women in Australia.