Activists to challenge academia's role in the poverty machine
Trans rights, abolition and antipoverty activists to appear at Australian Social Policy Conference
On Monday 1 November the Australian Social Policy Conference will host a panel led by people whose expertise is drawn from their experiences of surviving in the poverty machine.
A group of activists will challenge academics to accept their complicity in Australia’s brutal social policies and to dramatically reorient their approach to research.
The presenters will argue that poverty is a key design feature of government policy and that researchers, professional advocates and charities form part of the ecosystem that enables the poverty machine to function. They will call for those who bear the consequences of government choices to be at the forefront of policymaking and debate: not as ‘lived experience’ objects, but as leading experts.
The Antipoverty Centre and Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union will also host a sister event on 17 November to highlight problems in the media.
Panel chair Kristin O’Connell encouraged people not traditionally able to access academic conferences to participate:
At first I did not feel confident and was quite nervous about attending this conference, and that’s not okay. These spaces shouldn’t feel unwelcoming or intimidating to those of us who are the subject of discussion.
I hope that others who might have the same thoughts will feel comfortable attending our session, to hear from people who understand their experiences and contribute to the discussion themselves.
One thing we want to see is academic institutions becoming more cooperative and inclusive of people in the social security system, in prisons, in disability care.
This conference panel is a significant first step. Being online and free means anyone can attend. We thank the organisers for being open to including us.
When: 11:30am Monday 1 October
Who: abolition activist and ex-prisoner Tabitha Lean, insecurely employed trans rights advocate Eve Geyer, JobSeeker recipients and antipoverty advocates Jeremy Poxon and Jay Coonan, mental health researcher Sylvie Ellsmore and Dr Elise Klein from the ANU Crawford School. Disability Support Pension recipient Kristin O’Connell will chair the session.
11:30 Opening remarks
11:40 Disability policy as an engine of the poverty machine – Kristin O’Connell and Jay Coonan (Antipoverty Centre)
11:55 The role of coercive labour programs in punishing the underclass, creating a poverty trap and undermining wages – Tabitha Lean and Jeremy Poxon
12:10 The self-reinforcing relationship between poverty, the social security system and mental ill health – Sylvie Ellsmore (University of Sydney) and Eve Geyer
12:25 Slow death and academia’s role in enabling the poverty machine – Dr Elise Klein (Australian National University)
12:40 Facilitated discussion and audience questions with Jay Coonan, Tabitha Lean, Jeremy Poxon and Eve Geyer
1:15 Final reflections from panellists