"Figures released today by the Australian Council of Social Services show a staggering 84% of Australians think the gap between rich and poor is widening. This should serve as a clear indication that all is not well in our country," said Australian Greens spokesperson on Family & Community Affairs, Senator Rachel Siewert.
"The Rudd Government was elected on a mandate for social change, and polls are showing that people want fairer workplaces and a fairer society. The community has moved on from the individualism of the Howard era, to a more inclusive and compassionate society and it is time for the Government to follow suit."
"The community is clearly saying it is time to move ahead on these issues. If we cannot look after the most disadvantaged groups in our society during the economic good-times, then when will we ever give people a fair go?" she asked.
"The way we treat the poor is a weather-vane for our society. The Rudd Government's commitment to social inclusion could be the opportunity we need to address these important issues, but it must be backed up with adequate funding in the correct areas."
"With pressure coming in the form of housing availability, interest rate rises, spiralling food costs, petrol price rises and insufficient government support services, working families in Australia are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat," she said.
"With 84% of Australians believing there is a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor, now is the time for Mr Rudd to put his money where his mouth is, and ensure proper funding is allocated to vital services," she concluded.