Senator Jacqui Lambie rightfully sees the fruits of inequality in the growing homeless population in Tasmania.
But her decision-making this week may have conflicted with her ambition to solve this inequality, when she agreed to tax cuts that mostly benefit the rich in exchange for a vague commitment to wipe Tasmania's public housing debt.
The causes of homelessness are complex, and it's more than a matter of throwing money at the problem. Homelessness is a symptom of our society - clearing Tasmania's debt to the Commonwealth won't fix it when underlying intergenerational trauma and poverty are left unaddressed.
Governments have considered measures to ease poverty since before the turn of the last century (albeit, less so nowadays).
The 20th century saw many upheavals as Western liberal societies evolved, and one of those was the rapid growth in progressive taxation.
Progressive taxation means higher income earners pay a higher tax rate than lower income earners.
Former leader of the Australian Democrats Cheryl Kernot was less than impressed with Jacqui Lambie's negotiating:
It helped to prevent the astronomical levels of pre-WWI inequality. But progressive systems were wound back in the US and UK later in the century. Executive salaries rose sharply once again and inequality grew.
Australia is following this same path and last week's vote will accelerate it.
The $158 billion three-stage income tax plan, with an ultimate return to a more "flat tax" (the ideological opposite of a progressive tax), starts with a tax cut for low to middle income earners to stimulate the faltering economy. It ends by further dismantling Australia's progressive tax system in 2024, robbing the government of revenue for services that could benefit the poor.
There's no guarantee people on middle to high incomes will even spend their extra cash. And at the same time it provides nothing to those who need it most. The homeless obviously don't benefit from income tax cuts. Raising Newstart in real terms for the first time in 25 years would be an effective stimulus, but that's not even on the table.
Duncan Storrar describes the grim reality of watching the tax cuts debate while trying to survive below the poverty line:
Instead, the government has punitive measures in store for the poor: drug-testing, robodebt collection, cashless welfare and cheap labour masquerading as "internships", all measures that have failed to lift people out of poverty overseas.
Lambie was criticised for "horse trading" on seemingly unrelated issues: her vote in favour of the flat tax in exchange for a "handshake" deal to wipe the public housing debt.
But they aren't unrelated issues at all. They very much go hand in hand, just for the wrong reasons.