On Anti-Poverty Week

Two interesting articles in the papers this morning.

It’s Anti-Poverty Week, and in The Age, Anglican CEO Paul McDonald (also the co-chair of Anti-Poverty Week in Victoria) notes that “the aim is to get all of us talking about disadvantage and how to address it”. He identifies three lenses through which to view the issue through Australian eyes:

* In terms of global inequality, 10 percent of the world’s population control 90 percent of the world’s wealth;

* Our indigenous population still experiences severe disadvantage in social and health indexes including life expectancy, education and housing;

* In our own suburbs and streets, we are confronted (if we can force ourselves to look) at obvious indicators of poverty, with lack of affordable housing and inadequate social services – especially for the mentally ill – resulting in homelessness, and an increasing number of others simply struggling to make ends meet from week to week.

McDonald notes a peculiar bipolarity when it comes to our awareness of poverty. When disasters unfold here and abroad, we’re pretty quick to dip into our pockets. But we don’t give to local charities, presuming the tax system does that work for us. There is a kind of wilful blindness about very real local poverty, and beyond that, a resentment – that if you haven’t made it in the “Lucky Country” then you’re a bludger, when the sad reality is not everyone has the same access to opportunity that enables individuals to make their own luck.… Read more..

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