Misogyny & racism: the toxic forces behind shameful poverty rates in the worlds wealthiest country

The Guardian: Misogyny, violence, racism, classism: the toxic forces behind our shameful poverty rates.

Misogyny and violence are not the only forces that keep certain people in poverty. Racism, classism and discrimination play their dangerous parts too.

Australia’s history of racism and violence carries a shameful ongoing legacy. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise 3% of the population, they represent 10.5% of those receiving Newstart allowance and youth allowance. These income support payments are well below the poverty line and have not been increased in real terms in 25 years. When you’re struggling to eat and find a safe place to sleep, it is difficult to get paid work, especially in the face of employment discrimination.


We also see racism in Australia today reflected in migrant poverty. The Acoss and UNSW Poverty in Australia report last year found that 17% of migrants born in a non-English speaking country lived in poverty. Comparatively for migrants born in a major-English speaking country, the poverty rate was 10%. The report notes that in December 2015, of all new migrants from north-west Europe, 82% were employed five to 10 years after arrival, compared with 38% of those migrating from North Africa or the Middle East.

Life is already hard for immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds, especially those who have fled persecution, but the Coalition government has made it worse. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre recently released a distressing report into the impact of cuts to income support for families living in the community while seeking asylum. The result has been an influx of adults and children with absolutely nothing – no income, no housing, no paid work – reaching out for emergency housing and food banks


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