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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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10 years today since the NT intervention started, the Government must concede it has not worked

It has been a decade today since the Howard Government started the Northern Territory Intervention, the Government should finally concede is it a failure and discontinue funding, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“A decade of policy that has not delivered outcomes, yet the Government is funding it for another two years. 

“Public funds on a measure that has been evidenced in its evaluations to fail in its objectives. This money could have been spent on wrap-around services and measures that are evidenced to work.

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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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Greens respond to Christian Group lobbying for freedom to discriminate against people with mental illness

“It is unbelievable to think that anyone would want more opportunity to discriminate against people with mental ill health, but that’s apparently exactly the case for FamilyVoice.

“I am gobsmacked that this organisation thinks that upsetting a church service is a reason to unbolt protections for people who are struggling. People with mental ill health should not be discriminated against, they need increased supports and understanding.

“This is cruel and further entrenches stereotypes when so many people are working to do the opposite”.  

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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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Greens welcome open letter from Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities on Uluru Statement

The Australian Greens welcome the open letter from the Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities urging all political parties to take heed of the Uluru Statement and to implement real change.

“I urge the community to get behind the Uluru Statement and let all sides of politics know that they don't want it to collect dust on a Parliament House shelf.

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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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