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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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Senate Inquiry demonstrates Jobactive not fit for purpose – Greens call on Government to abolish TCF and Work for the Dole

The Australian Greens have provided additional comments to the inquiry into jobactive as while we are supportive of the Majority Report recommendations we believe that they do not go far enough in addressing the serious issues raised during the inquiry process. 

The Greens are calling for Work for the Dole and the Targeted Compliance Framework (TCF) to be abolished.

“This inquiry has overwhelmingly demonstrated that the jobactive system is not fit for purpose and is failing unemployed workers", Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Greens: Mr Morrison’s Closing the Gap address patronising and paternalistic

Mr Morrison’s closing the gap address was paternalistic and patronising and a clear indication that he doesn’t get it.

“Mr Morrison lectured the Parliament about co-design and collaboration but he does not practice what he preaches”, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“The Coalition was dragged kicking and screaming to a co-design approach and the Government’s failure to listen when the process started was in fact the reason we are so delayed with the Close the Gap refresh.

“You would think that he was the first person to think of collaboration and co-design!

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Senate votes down call for Government to reallocate $48.7million James Cook “commemoration” fund to Closing the Gap targets

The major parties have today combined to vote down the part of a Greens motion calling on the Government to reallocate their James Cook “commemoration” fund. 

“Tomorrow the Prime Minster will present his Closing the Gap address and I will be paying close attention to what he has to say”, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“There is a list as long as my arm on what we could better spend this money on – for example culturally appropriate suicide prevention services, justice reinvestment and truth telling.

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