Momentum Builds For Universal Basic Income
Anglicare Australia backing will shift the debate
The Green Institute has warmly welcomed Anglicare Australia’s announcement this week of support for Universal Basic Income, making it the first major Australian charity to back the policy shift, and marking an important turning point in the conversation about poverty, universalism, and the right to a decent standard of living.
ABC News covered this yesterday in their story: Universal basic income attracts 77pc support in Anglicare poll.
The Anglicare announcement comes alongside a poll showing a remarkable 77% support for UBI. This follows a first-of-its-kind Australian poll, conducted by YouGov for the Green Institute in October 2020, which showed that 58% of surveyed Australians supported the introduction of a UBI and only 18% opposed.
Anglicare Australia coming out in support of UBI, recognising its capacity to transform lives and lift people out of poverty, marks a very significant turning point in the national debate.
While Australian charities have long opposed the punitive, surveillance-based welfare system that does so much damage, until now they’ve resisted embracing the universalist approach of a UBI. The clear popularity of UBI in the context of Covid lockdowns, as well as Anglicare Australia’s leadership, will no doubt see others move to support it.
After years of Green Institute research and advocacy, the Australian Greens have announced that they will take a policy of a “jobs and income guarantee” to the next election – the clearest statement yet of political momentum towards UBI. And NSW Greens MLC, Abigail Boyd, has released a detailed policy for a Universal Wellbeing Payment.
At the beginning of the pandemic, “mutual obligations” for income support were suspended, giving people a taste of what life with unconditional income support is like. It made a massive difference, helping people stay afloat, financially and psychologically.
The Anglicare Australia poll shows that, after securing their fragile finances, most people would use a UBI to contribute constructively to society – volunteering, caring, getting more education, and reducing their paid work to enable all those things.
Imagine, for a minute, how much better life would be for all of us.
Momentum is building towards an approach that will change people’s lives – and our whole society – for the better.