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ParentsNext: a checklist from the 1950’s playbook of social policy double standards

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and reflect on what it means to be a woman in our community in 2019.

“It becomes more apparent, every year, that while we now condemn blatant discrimination against women in our society, many of the attitudes that allowed such discrimination persist in our social policy," Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“You only have to look at the number of single mothers living in poverty to see that the long history of social policies that denigrate women, particularly single mothers, is far from over.

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Minster’s claim that indexation is a "welfare boost" is beyond a joke

The announcement that the Government has delivered “another increase” to income support recipients is farcical in its attempt to spin indexation as an increase to income support payments. 

“Why is the Minister wasting everyone’s time by advising that payments are indexed? It happens twice a year!” Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Family and Community services said.

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Coalition’s targeting of single mothers through ParentsNext is part of culture of disrespect towards women

The overbearing, coercive and controlling ParentsNext program which invades the privacy of women is part of the very culture of disrespect the Prime Minister has alluded to in the announcement of his extra funding to domestic violence services today.  

“The ParentsNext program is part of the culture of disrespect towards women and anyone who doesn’t see that is kidding themselves, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Government must do more to get institutions signed up to redress scheme as soon as possible

The Greens are calling on the Government to urgently address the growing concern amongst survivors, advocates and the community that institutions named in the Royal Commission have not yet “opted in” to the redress scheme which is holding up assessment of claims and highly likely to be putting survivors off submitting a claim.

“Any institution that was named during the Royal Commission should have well and truly signed up by now", Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Overwhelmingly evidence presented at ParentsNext inquiry called for urgent change to protect mothers and children

The senate inquiry into ParentsNext today heard repeated and insistent calls to make the program voluntary and abandon the punitive demerit point system that is causing many mothers huge distress and anxiety.

“The committee also heard that the program is not compatible with Human Rights, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“In her opening statement, Professor Rosalind Croucher, President of the Human Rights Commission expressed grave concerns about the compulsory and punitive approach of ParentsNext saying the punitive compliance approach is unjustifiably harsh.

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New report shows punitive income support system directly impacting child poverty, Newstart increase more urgent than ever

The latest Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) report reveals the need for an urgent increase in Newstart.

"Our woefully low income support payment rates and punitive unemployment framework are having a direct impact on child poverty, Senator Rachel Siewert, spokesperson on Family and Community said today.

"The urgency of raising Newstart becomes more stark with report after report showing how inadequate Newstart is and the impact it is having on our community.

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Ex-pollies appointed to AAT to hear appeals related to income support doesn’t pass pub test

Liberal party mates such as former politicians and party affiliates appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal does not bode well for people appealing Centrelink decisions on income support.

“The way we have seen this Government go after people on income support is deeply disturbing, and as a result some people appeal to the AAT. Now the Government has appointed some of its Liberal mates to that very body” Senator Rachel Siewert said.  

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Cashless Debit Card: Poor quality, biased study presents opinions as evaluation

The Government has once again used poorly drawn, qualitative "research" to attempt to justify the cashless debit card roll out.

“It is incredibly frustrating that the Government has done the same thing as they did last time, using "perceptions" to evaluate these trials and presenting the "findings" as qualitative baseline data," Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“They have released a report of semi-structured qualitative interviews with only 64 of the 2995 people on the card in the Goldfields while 66 "stakeholders" were spoken with?

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First Nations peoples, homeless, disabled people, single parents most impacted by Government’s new Targeted Compliance Framework

Data tabled at estimates shows a stark increase in the number of people receiving financial penalties under the draconian targeted compliance framework introduced in July 2018 under the Government’s welfare reform measures.

“I asked for this updated data because I was deeply concerned about what this compliance framework would mean for people on income support. Unfortunately my fears for people on income support have been confirmed”, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Estimates reveals AAT had a 42% increase in appeals over social security

Evidence provided at Estimates today has revealed that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has seen a significant increase in appeals relating to Centrelink including a:

• 77% increase in appeals relating to the Disabilty Support Pension (DSP)

• 41% increase in appeals relating to Newstart

• 34% increase in appeals relating to Youth Allowance 

There was also a 75% increase in appeals relating to the NDIS

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