Julian Hill MP is the Federal Member for the Bruce electorate in Victoria and a man who, in his own words, is “passionate about a fairer Australia.”
After growing up in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs, Julian graduated from Monash University with degrees in Science and Law.
With a proven track record in local government, Julian was elected to Port Phillip Council at the age of 25, and subsequently became the youngest ever Mayor of the city.
Julian lived as a single parent for many years. His daughter, Elanor, is now an independent young woman.
A Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Victoria, Julian has held several positions within the Victorian Public Service, including Director level positions working in economic development, employment, community development, urban planning, local government, migration, and international education.
An Australian Labor Party member for over 25 years, Julian has shown a lifelong commitment to progressive politics, community action, and public policy reform.
Greek City Times caught up with Julian Hill MP just ahead of the federal election, and here’s what he had to say.
You were the co-chair of Labor’s Protecting Pensioners Taskforce. Can you tell Greek City Times a bit more about why the task force was set up?
Anthony Albanese established the task force to listen to pensioners across the country to ensure that their voice is being heard.
The taskforce considered the impact of the government's proposed and prospective cuts to the pension, and the government's war on retirement.
The taskforce also examined the impact of the government's future plans for pensioners including concerns about the cashless debit card.
Pensioners have worked hard and contributed all of their lives. They deserve dignity and respect.
What were the findings of Labor's Protecting Pensioner's task force?
A number of key findings came to light as a result of the taskforce.
The top few issues that were identified nationally were:
- the crisis of neglect in aged care;
- Scott Morrison’s cuts to Medicare making it harder for hospital treatment and;
- almost a decade of attacks on aged pension in almost every budget the Liberals have tried to cut.
The Labor party are claiming that Liberals want to expand the cashless debit card to include pensioners. What is the Cashless Debit Card?
The Cashless Debit Card is privatised social security which the Labor party opposes. The Cashless Debit Card looks and operates like a regular bank card. It cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, some gift cards or to withdraw cash – effectively limiting where and on what the holder can spend their money.
If re-elected the Liberal party will apply the Cashless Debit Card more broadly. This will mean that people will have 80% of social security locked up on the card whereby the government and a private company control when, why and how individuals spend their money.
In 2018, a report delivered by Auditor General Grant Hehir criticised the Cashless Debit Card, finding that there was ‘evidence lacking’ that the card offers any benefits.
Labor opposes forced income management. Labor is focused on strengthening the Medicare card, while Librerals are focused on forcing the Cashless Debit Card.
If elected, the Labor party will scrap the Cashless Debit Card, stop all persons being forced onto the card.
What does this mean for the yiayias and pappous of Australia?
The Cashless Debit Card Only allows you to shop at approved shops by government, you can’t pay cash for goods and services. However, many people prefer to shop with cash as they find this way easier to budget and to save money or spend less.
The Cashless Debit Card for pensioners could mean that our elderly and those on welfare are forced to shop at expensive supermarkets, or no longer able to buy a cheap meal at the RSL or a local club or other places where alcohol is sold for example.
What is Labor doing to protect our older Greek community?
The current crisis of neglect in aged care is a national disgrace. Older Greek migrants in particular have worked hard to build this country, to buy their houses, pay for their children’s education. They deserve respect and care.
The Labor party will fix the broken aged care system by putting nurses back into nursing homes 24/ 7 and creating culturally appropriate nursing home environments where the staff speak to residents in their own native language and the food tastes like home. The Labor government is partnering with the Maggie Beer Foundation in order to achieve this.
Labor will also focus on the nation’s Health Care System. The Labor party created Medicare and intends to strengthen and build the Medicare system, with plans to build 50 urgent Medicare clinics that are open 7 days and offer bulk billing in order to take pressure off private hospitals.
Last election Liberals said Labor wanted to introduce death (or inheritance) taxes? Is that true?
This is a blatant lie. Completely made up. Shows how desperate ScoMo (Australia’s current Prime Minister) is.
We notice on your Twitter page a pinned tweet about your take on ‘Robodebt’. How could an error of this magnitude be possible? Would you say it was a deliberate scam or a computer error?
As found by the Federal Court, Robodebt was an illegal scam and a shameful chapter in Australian history. The Robodebt scheme, started by ScoMo as Social Services Minister, was an unlawful method of automated debt assessment and recovery employed by Services Australia as part of its Centrelink payment compliance programme.
Under the programme, the government sent 470,000 fake and incorrectly calculated debt notices. As a result the government had to pay $1.8 billion in repayments and compensation.
In the Netherlands, where a similar scheme occurred, the entire government resigned. However, with Scott Morrison as the head of the government, nobody responsible for the scheme in Australia resigned.
Labor will establish a royal commission to get to the bottom of this catastrophe, to find out exactly when the government was advised it was illegal and to make sure it never happens again.
Julian, you lived as a single parent for many years and your daughter, Elanor, is now an independent young woman. You were elected to Port Phillip Council at the age of 25, and subsequently became the youngest ever Mayor of the city. These are amazing achievements on top of the responsibilities that come with being a single parent. Do you think this is why you are so passionate about community action? Have your experiences helped you to relate more directly to the struggles and issues of families in our community?
I, myself, was raised by a single mum, dad died when I was 4 years old. I consider myself to have had a lucky childhood – we didn’t have a lot but had everything we needed.
Life gives all of us lessons. We want people in parliament with diverse life experiences and my experiences have culminated into a lifelong commitment to the community.
The cost of living is sky rocketing, yet wages under the liberal government have gone backwards in real terms. I am proud to say that the Labor government has practical plans to cut the cost of living without putting upward pressure on inflation – more affordable childcare, cutting power bills, well-paid, good secure jobs and fairer workplaces.
Julian Hill MP is the federal member for Bruce.