Family, Ageing, Community & Disability Services

We are committed to delivering a guaranteed adequate income to all Australians, so as to assure people have appropriate support. Accessible social services, community resources and income support are essential for ensuring everybody has access to quality health care, housing, employment, education and training. The Greens are committed to increasing Newstart Allowance and raising all income support payments to better reflect the cost of living.

The community and not-for-profit sector plays an important role in our society and Government needs to commit funding and support accordingly.

People who experience disability, and their families and carers deserve access to life-long support and services that meet their individual circumstances. They should have the opportunity to actively participate in planning and delivery of policies, services and supports in areas such as education, health, housing, mobility, employment and social engagement. The Greens are actively working to ensure all Australians have independence, self-determination and choice in their lives.

speeches-in-parliament

Living on the aged pension

22 Sep 2008

Once again we have the coalition introducing a bill to do something about something. They have suddenly found their conscience about an injustice that has been happening in Australia for quite a significant period of time. For the whole time that they were in government, certainly for the last few years, it has not been a secret that the pensioners of Australia have been doing it tough. That is why we had the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs inquiry into the cost of living for older Australians which produced a report titled A decent quality of life.

Once again we have the coalition introducing a bill to do something about something. They have suddenly found their conscience about an injustice that has been happening in Australia for quite a significant period of time. For the whole time that they were in government, certainly for the last few years, it has not been a secret that the pensioners of Australia have been doing it tough. That is why we had the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs inquiry into the cost of living for older Australians which produced a report titled A decent quality of life.

media-releases

Centrelink staff bear the brunt of punitive welfare policies

15 Sep 2008

The Australian Greens are concerned that Centrelink staff are having their personal safety put on the line because of the decision by the Rudd Government to push on with punitive welfare measures.

"Over the last year the rate of serious physical assault of Centrelink staff has grown dramatically," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The Rudd Government needs to do more to improve the safety and well-being of frontline staff."

The Australian Greens are concerned that Centrelink staff are having their personal safety put on the line because of the decision by the Rudd Government to push on with punitive welfare measures.

"Over the last year the rate of serious physical assault of Centrelink staff has grown dramatically," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The Rudd Government needs to do more to improve the safety and well-being of frontline staff."

media-releases

Pension CPI increase just the start

02 Sep 2008

The Australian Greens today renewed calls for an additional $30 per week increase to the single pension, after the scheduled CPI increase was announced today.

"Yesterday, the Senate passed my motion urging the Treasurer Wayne Swan to increase the aged pension to reflect that the cost of living for pensioners is in excess of the CPI," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Today's CPI increase, which amounts to an additional $15 per week on the existing pension, is a small step towards helping older Australians in need, but is still a long way from what is needed for Australia's 1.2 million pensioners," she said.

The Australian Greens today renewed calls for an additional $30 per week increase to the single pension, after the scheduled CPI increase was announced today.

"Yesterday, the Senate passed my motion urging the Treasurer Wayne Swan to increase the aged pension to reflect that the cost of living for pensioners is in excess of the CPI," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Today's CPI increase, which amounts to an additional $15 per week on the existing pension, is a small step towards helping older Australians in need, but is still a long way from what is needed for Australia's 1.2 million pensioners," she said.

media-releases

Coercive interventions without family support doomed to fail

01 Sep 2008

The Australian Greens today welcomed the launch of ‘Contexts of Child Development - Culture, Policy and Intervention' by the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

"This work clearly demonstrates why ungrounded coercive approaches like the Northern Territory Intervention and the upcoming welfare truancy trials are doomed to fail from the very start," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"This book also highlights the positive impact of community support programs which support and enhance the strength and resilience of families. This in turn increases the protection of children within our communities."

The Australian Greens today welcomed the launch of ‘Contexts of Child Development - Culture, Policy and Intervention' by the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

"This work clearly demonstrates why ungrounded coercive approaches like the Northern Territory Intervention and the upcoming welfare truancy trials are doomed to fail from the very start," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"This book also highlights the positive impact of community support programs which support and enhance the strength and resilience of families. This in turn increases the protection of children within our communities."

media-releases

Punishing families for truancy destined to fail

28 Aug 2008

"It is clear from Senate question time today that the Government has not thought through the impacts of their planned welfare quarantining trials for truancy," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"In the Senate today, the Government admitted that the trial was not limited to the suburb of Cannington, as originally stated. Instead, the trial extends across the Cannington Centrelink district, which includes the suburbs of South Guilford, Burswood, Victoria Park, South Perth, Queens Park, Belmont, Bentley, Rossmoyne, Welshpool and Canning Vale."

"I would hope that the Federal Government is aware of the past failed trials of such measures in Western Australia, such as the Halls Creek trial."

"It is clear from Senate question time today that the Government has not thought through the impacts of their planned welfare quarantining trials for truancy," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"In the Senate today, the Government admitted that the trial was not limited to the suburb of Cannington, as originally stated. Instead, the trial extends across the Cannington Centrelink district, which includes the suburbs of South Guilford, Burswood, Victoria Park, South Perth, Queens Park, Belmont, Bentley, Rossmoyne, Welshpool and Canning Vale."

"I would hope that the Federal Government is aware of the past failed trials of such measures in Western Australia, such as the Halls Creek trial."

questions-without-notice

Welfare Suspension Truancy trial in Cannington

28 Aug 2008

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Evans. I note that Minister Macklin announced the welfare suspension truancy trial in the suburb of Cannington.

Can the minister confirm whether this trial site is in fact restricted to the suburb of Cannington or does it in fact extend across the Cannington Centrelink district, which includes the suburbs of South Guilford, Burswood, Victoria Park, South Perth, Queens Park, Belmont, Bentley, Rossmoyne, Welshpool and Canning Vale, to mention several of them?

What support services are in place for the families that have had their payments suspended, particularly for those that have more than one child-in other words, children other than the ones involved in the suspension of payments?

What is the expected increase in demand for charity and other services in this region when they are forced to cope with the families that have had their payments suspended?

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Evans. I note that Minister Macklin announced the welfare suspension truancy trial in the suburb of Cannington.

Can the minister confirm whether this trial site is in fact restricted to the suburb of Cannington or does it in fact extend across the Cannington Centrelink district, which includes the suburbs of South Guilford, Burswood, Victoria Park, South Perth, Queens Park, Belmont, Bentley, Rossmoyne, Welshpool and Canning Vale, to mention several of them?

What support services are in place for the families that have had their payments suspended, particularly for those that have more than one child-in other words, children other than the ones involved in the suspension of payments?

What is the expected increase in demand for charity and other services in this region when they are forced to cope with the families that have had their payments suspended?

speeches-in-parliament

Truancy & Welfare Quarantining

27 Aug 2008

I would like to speak about the legislation that was tabled in the House of Representatives today that deals with truancy. The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today tabled a bill in the House of Representatives that gives the government the power to cut off or even cancel welfare payments to parents whose children do not attend school. Julia Gillard is the Minister for Education and the Minister for Social Inclusion. This is the most exclusionary piece of legislation that I have seen in a long time and how the minister can juxtapose those two particular parts of her portfolio beats me.

It is telling that the very first piece of legislation put forward by the Rudd government to enact their promised so-called education revolution in our schools is a piece of populist and punitive legislation that demonises parents on welfare and is in fact likely to lead to worse outcomes for many disadvantaged students. It is also telling that this is a scheme for which there is no evidence base from a government that claims to have evidence based policy. It is a scheme which, I also note from the media, the government's own caucus is struggling to deal with.

I would like to speak about the legislation that was tabled in the House of Representatives today that deals with truancy. The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today tabled a bill in the House of Representatives that gives the government the power to cut off or even cancel welfare payments to parents whose children do not attend school. Julia Gillard is the Minister for Education and the Minister for Social Inclusion. This is the most exclusionary piece of legislation that I have seen in a long time and how the minister can juxtapose those two particular parts of her portfolio beats me.

It is telling that the very first piece of legislation put forward by the Rudd government to enact their promised so-called education revolution in our schools is a piece of populist and punitive legislation that demonises parents on welfare and is in fact likely to lead to worse outcomes for many disadvantaged students. It is also telling that this is a scheme for which there is no evidence base from a government that claims to have evidence based policy. It is a scheme which, I also note from the media, the government's own caucus is struggling to deal with.

media-releases

Greens will oppose Truancy Bill in Senate

27 Aug 2008

The Australian Greens today responded the Rudd Government's bill to allow welfare payments being cut, by vowing to oppose the passage of the legislation in the Senate.

"It is telling that the first piece of legislation Julia Gillard has introduced to enact the promised ‘education revolution' in our schools is a punitive and populist measure that targets the families of disadvantaged children - and is likely to make their lives all the harder," said Senator Siewert today.

The Australian Greens today responded the Rudd Government's bill to allow welfare payments being cut, by vowing to oppose the passage of the legislation in the Senate.

"It is telling that the first piece of legislation Julia Gillard has introduced to enact the promised ‘education revolution' in our schools is a punitive and populist measure that targets the families of disadvantaged children - and is likely to make their lives all the harder," said Senator Siewert today.

video

Truancy & Welfare Quarantining 1

27 Aug 2008

Senator Siewert delivers a speech in Parliament about the Government's proposed truancy welfare quarantining legislation.

Part 1 of 2

Senator Siewert delivers a speech in Parliament about the Government's proposed truancy welfare quarantining legislation.

Part 1 of 2

video

Truancy & Welfare Quarantining 2

27 Aug 2008

Senator Siewert delivers a speech in Parliament about the Government's proposed truancy welfare quarantining legislation.

Part 2 of 2

Senator Siewert delivers a speech in Parliament about the Government's proposed truancy welfare quarantining legislation.

Part 2 of 2

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