Human rights examination of parenting and intervention laws is an important step

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The Australian Greens have welcomed the Joint Committee on Human Rights examination of the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Fair Incentives to Work) Bill 2012.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Families and Community Services said the referral is an important step, given the dramatic effect of the legislation.

“One of the effects of this legislation will be to force around 100,000 single parents from parenting payments to Newstart Allowance,” Senator Siewert said today.

“We know that Newstart is too low. Living more than $130 per week below the poverty line makes it harder to find work, pay for childcare and raise a family.

“Any legislation which has the capacity to push parents and children into poverty and cycles of debt or welfare dependence is of great concern,” said Senator Siewert.

Senator Siewert has also welcomed news that the joint committee has asked Minister Jenny Macklin to advise them on the compatibility of the Stronger Futures legislation with Australia’s human rights obligations.

“Widespread concerns have been raised about the Intervention and the consultation processes that have been undertaken as part of Stronger Futures.

“This is especially true in regards to programs such as income management and SEAM, which could have discriminatory impacts on Aboriginal people.

“The Attorney General has the capacity to ask the Joint Committee on Human Rights to examine the Stronger Futures package and the Greens have written to Ms Roxon asking for this to occur, a process we regard as essential,” Senator Siewert concluded.