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Government and ALP vote down senate motion calling on cashless welfare card extension to be abandoned

The Government, ALP and crossbench have voted down an Australian Greens senate motion calling for the cashless welfare card expansion to be abandoned. 

“Before completing the evaluation of the current cashless welfare card trial, the Government has proposed extending and expanding the measure”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“Why are they expanding a trial that has not been evaluated for its success in full? This shows that the concept of ‘trialing’ the measure was always farcical, the Government always planned to extend the roll out. 

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Labor sides with Government as motion to abandon drug testing income support recipients voted down

A senate motion calling on the Government to abandon drug testing income support recipients has been voted down by the Coalition with the help of Labor.

“Labor has today made it clear what they think of drug testing people accessing the social safety net.

“They have been vague around this measure since it was announced but have taken sides with the Government today.

“This motion also gave members of the Government the chance to see sense and abandon this flawed approach.

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Greens respond to Christian Group lobbying for freedom to discriminate against people with mental illness

“It is unbelievable to think that anyone would want more opportunity to discriminate against people with mental ill health, but that’s apparently exactly the case for FamilyVoice.

“I am gobsmacked that this organisation thinks that upsetting a church service is a reason to unbolt protections for people who are struggling. People with mental ill health should not be discriminated against, they need increased supports and understanding.

“This is cruel and further entrenches stereotypes when so many people are working to do the opposite”.  

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Australian Greens welcome further calls for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability

The Australian Greens welcome the call from 163 community groups for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse  and neglect of people with disability in institutional settings.

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who initiated and chaired the senate committee inquiry into the issue, said:

“More and more momentum is building for a Royal Commission into widespread abuses in institutional and residential settings of people with disability. This is not an issue the Government can ignore.

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Greens welcome open letter from Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities on Uluru Statement

The Australian Greens welcome the open letter from the Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities urging all political parties to take heed of the Uluru Statement and to implement real change.

“I urge the community to get behind the Uluru Statement and let all sides of politics know that they don't want it to collect dust on a Parliament House shelf.

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Centrelink busy signals balloon out to 42 million from start of the financial year to April 30

The number of calls to Centrelink that hit a busy signal has ballooned out to 42 million from start of financial year to April 30, up from 29 million for 2015-16.

“42 million busy signals. This is an astronomical number representing Australians trying to access supports, adjust their payments, seek information or update their earnings. That is a lot of frustrated people who may be exasperated and struggling.

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Estimates reveals that under demerit point system for job seekers you could lose more than one point or all seven in one go

Estimates has revealed that job seekers accessing income support could lose more than one demerit point at a time depending on their perceived level of compliance. 

“The Government tried to make out that the demerit point system gave people more chances, but you can lose more than one demerit point at a time or all seven points in one go depending on what a staff member decides.  

“This punitive job-at-any-cost approach could hurt people struggling to get by and struggling with many barriers to employment.

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Renewed push to dump energy supplement another cut for struggling Australians: Greens

The renewed push to remove the energy supplement for income support recipients is another assault on people who will be struggling to get by on extremely low income support payments, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The Government is unrelenting in its attempts to erode and weaken the social safety net as a way to balance the books. People accessing the social safety net can’t afford to lose any more money.

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