The campaign to increase the base rate of Newstart Allowance has focused on the hand to mouth existence of those on the payment, who receive a minimum of $35 a day before other payments like Rent Assistance are added.
The welfare lobby want a $50 a week increase in the base rate of Newstart - an increase that will cost taxpayers anywhere between $8 billion and $15 billion over the forward estimates.
Even the Business Council of Australia (BCA) argues the payment ‘itself now presents a barrier to employment and risks entrenching poverty.’ While the payment certainly provides for a frugal existence, there has been little discussion about how a $50 a week increase in payments will help people move off welfare and into work.
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We were greeted with the news this week that Centrelink staff have been ordered to make phone calls to more than 80,000 single parents to apologise after advising them to destroy their pensioner concession cards.
This is the latest disaster in Labor’s approach to welfare reform. The government announced last year that it would be moving long term single parents from the parenting payment to the unemployment benefit when their youngest child turned 12.
A few weeks later, in an effort to balance the budget, Mr Swan cut the age to eight.
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Oh Jenny Macklin, it’s only the second day of the year and you’re in a deep mess, made messier by the clumsy efforts of your staff to clean up after you.
And now an argument over whether single mothers of children aged 8 and over should work has turned into an argument about the generosity, or not, of the dole. They are actually two different debates.
But now you’ve opened the door to Greens MP Adam Bandt to challenge you to join him in a week-long stunt that will not reveal anything of substance.
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