6B. Centring voices on the Australian poverty machine

Date: Monday 1 November

Time: 11.30AM–01.30PM

Chair: Kristin O’Connell, Antipoverty Centre      

Session overview

The Australian Social Security System once set up to stop people falling into poverty, now has integrated poverty as part of its design. The rate of social security is not enough to meet basic needs and the mutual obligations placed on people are often reported as stigmatising and actually work against people finding employment. Those receiving unemployment payments are often unable to work – because of a disability, chronic illness or having unpaid caring responsibilities. This panel will explore what we are calling the ‘poverty machine’, and the various racialised, gendered, settler colonial and ableist aspects of the social security system and employment policy that excludes, maims and stigmatises people caught in it. What is unique and important about this panel is that many of the contributions will come from people with actual lived experience of the poverty machine, which will illuminate the contours of the dehumanisation experienced, as well as the cracks where meaningful action should be focused.   


The poverty machine: waged labour, coercive labour programs and poverty  
Jeremy Poxon & Tabitha Lean  

The Disability Support Pension        
Kristin O’Connell & Jay Coonan, Antipoverty Centre 

Depression by design  
Sylvie Ellsmore, University of Sydney & Eve Geyer          

Social security and slow death        
Elise Klein, Australian National University                                                                                                                                                                           

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