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A strong social safety net is not ‘bad debt’, it is a duty of care and an investment

Treasurer Scott Morrison’s speech to economists today that refers to ‘bad debt’ as ‘racking up debts’ for welfare payments shows his lack of understanding of our social safety net and that he is still set on vilifying Australia’s most vulnerable rather than fixing burgeoning inequality, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Spending public money on a strong social safety net that supports people when they are out of work, sick or have a disability should not be framed as ‘bad debt’ by the Federal Government. It is duty of care and an investment in the future.

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Nation’s most disadvantaged can now barely get into the rental market, let’s address that in the Federal budget: Greens

Dismally low statistics that show the nation’s most poorest and disadvantaged are almost completely locked out of the rental market shows a widening gap between the well off and the poor in Australia that must urgently be addressed, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“In the survey by Anglicare only eight properties in the whole country were affordable for a single person over 18 on youth allowance. What a disastrous figure.

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Unknown community leaders consulted on cashless welfare card trials shows lack of transparency

It is concerning that the those consulted for the extension of the cashless welfare card trials are unknown ‘leaders’ that the Government have kept anonymous, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“For the Government to claim there are community leaders who support the cashless welfare card  trial then refuse to provide names is simply not good enough.

“This means there are unknown supporters for a card that recipients in the trial site have been forced on to. There needs to be better transparency, accountability and better processes.

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Senate inquiry shows Centrelink recipients feel bullied and threatened by the Government

The last two days of evidence to the senate inquiry into Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system has raised a myriad of issues and suggests recipients feel bullied by the Government who are pursuing a debt that people may not owe.

“Many people are being affected including pensioners, single parents, students, carers and jobseekers. Lots of these people are effectively putting their lives on hold to prove their innocence”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Backbench fighting to keep Work for the Dole shows politicians not thinking of outcomes for the unemployed: Greens

News today that Coalition backbenchers are lobbying to keep Work for the Dole in the upcoming budget because it is ‘red meat for the base’ shows that Liberal politicians are more worried about their own jobs than helping jobseekers find meaningful employment, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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Government must fast-track non-specific option on DHS forms so that non-binary students can continue to receive youth allowance: Greens

The Government’s failure to promptly roll out an unspecified gender option for government-issued forms has had a tangible effect on non-binary university students, who are having their youth allowance payments cut off, Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Including a non-specific option in internal Government systems like Centrelink is not just symbolic, transgender and non-binary people need this option to receive income support payments.

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Coalition and Labor push on with cashless welfare card

The Coalition and the Labor party have voted down a Greens disallowance motion that would have stopped the cashless welfare card trial extensions.   

“When the yearlong trials of the cashless welfare card were passed into legislation with the help of Labor, we feared that this would lead to an extended rollout. Unfortunately this has happened. 

“I am disappointed that the Labor party have continuously backed the Government on the cashless welfare card trials. They claim to care for vulnerable people but actions speak louder than words.

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Abuse of people with disability is not going to stop, we need a Royal Commission

Following the Four Corners report that showed more harrowing footage of people with disability living in group care, both the Coalition and the Labor Party have voted against a Greens senate motion calling on the Government to reconsider its decision and commit to a Royal Commission.

“It is really disappointing that both the old parties voted against the Government instigating a Royal Commission”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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