Rights of a human being

There have been repeated attempts to weaken the functions of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission; to narrow the scope of the sex discrimination and remove specialist commissioners such as the Sex Discrimination Commission. Funds need to be increased to support faster resolution and broader education efforts to follow the action against this discrimination.

The increase in life-spans and the changes from pensions to superannuation has increased risks for older women facing poverty after retirement. A massive campaign is needed to ensure appropriate education so that they understand superannuation. An education system talking about superannuation, before a child leaves school, is important so that plans can be made on how to finance oneself after retirement.

We must retain a pension system for those who will not/ do not have adequate superannuation that provides for a decent income. This leads to the gender pay inequity. Also often when women return to the workforce, they take on part-time work, thereby, increasing the gap in their superannuation pension. Accesses to the services provided by government are not always readily accessible to those in need, and there appears to be little attention paid to educating and targeting them. This takes us back to the roots of education in our community. Unless people are educated as to where they may obtain help and be encouraged to do so, they will remain in the “poverty trap.” More must be done to educate people while still at school to develop life skills to seek employment that might not be a traditional job.

Best practice standards are needed for residential tenancy legislation and public housing policies; principles of universal housing designs and adaptable housing stocks, community consultation in policy development and implementations; education for tenants and landlords; and the promotion of housing as a basic right.

A mandatory government provision is needed for basic utilities and services to all households, including those in remote locations. Finally, appropriate studies need to be carried out to address the causes of homelessness by funding longitudinal studies of women and housing to produce housing policy and service provision; develop effective early intervention programmes; integrate provision of appropriate, and accessible housing with protection of other basic rights that are linked to housing.