The Greens Are Calling For Free Uni & Guaranteed Jobs & Oh My God, Wouldn’t That Be Nice

The Australian Greens have outlined the party’s plan to steer the country out of the coronavirus crisis and economic chaos, calling for a new income guarantee, free undergraduate education, and government-backed jobs for anyone under 30.

The Invest To Recover plan, released this morning, calls for immense government support to power Australia’s transition out of lockdowns – and, if we’re being honest, a wholesale restructuring of the economy.

“This isn’t about just getting back to normal,” Greens leader Adam Bandt said.

“This is about building a better normal.”

In response to the mass job losses and underemployment faced by young Australians, the party proposes installing a new income guarantee tied to the current JobSeeker base payment.

That’s $1115 a fortnight for folks over 22. It’s worth keeping in mind that the Coalition Government has branded as that payment as a temporary measure to see hard-hit Australians through the crisis, so keeping that going in perpetuity is… ambitious, to say the least.

The Greens’ plan also envisions government-backed university spots and traineeships for young guns looking to sharpen their skills.

For those looking to crack on with work, the party says job hunters will be tasked with tooling up Australia’s renewable energy sector, building up to 500,000 new social housing units, or rejuvenating the nation’s struggling arts sector.

All up, the Greens reckon their plan could create 870,000 jobs.

It’s all very aspirational gear, but it’s in keeping with Bandt’s messaging that Australia needs to mirror America’s response to the Great Depression to successfully power out of the crisis.

Whether that drive will translate to real-world results is unclear. Speaking about the payments in a budget update last week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said, “Australians know there is no money tree,” adding that, “What we borrow today, we must repay in the future.”

Hours after the Greens’ announcement today, Labor leader Anthony Albanese today said he doesn’t believe JobSeeker should stay where it is indefinitely. 

With that said, you can get your eyes around the Greens’ full plan here.