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Senator Hanson, please stop your damaging remarks towards kids with autism in schools

Senator Pauline Hanson doubling down on her comments that children with autism should be segregated in schools shows sheer stubbornness and an inability to comprehend the damage she is causing, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Senator Hanson needs to stop commenting on issues she hasn’t got a clue about. She has already done enough damage.

“She needs to apologise for her archaic and damaging remarks that stigmatise children with autism and undermines inclusiveness.

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Government is seeking exemptions from the Disability Discrimination Act so that they can drug test income support recipients

A social services bill introduced into the House of Representatives this morning includes a much broader exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act, meaning people accessing the social safety net with disability can be discriminated against by the Government.

“The damaging proposal to drug test income support recipients is included in the Bill so of course they need to broaden out the exemption which would allow them to do this. It was hinted in Senate estimates but has been confirmed today, and it is broader and more far-reaching than just drug testing.

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Senate committee recommends robo-debt be put on hold and drastically overhauled

A Senate Committee report into the Government’s Centrelink Online Compliance Intervention (robo-debt) program has called for it to be put on hold until of the procedural fairness flaws in the program are addressed. The Committee a says the Government should re-assess all debts determined through the use of income averaging and that a redesigned system should include a robust risk assessment process.

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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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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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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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