“The Australian Greens have deep concerns for new migrants granted certain permanent visas after the Promoting Sustainable Welfare Bill (formerly Encouraging Self-sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants Bill 2018) was rushed through the House.
“Once again we have legislation by stealth – here we have one bill, Encouraging Self-Sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants – magically turned into the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Promoting Sustainable Welfare) Bill 2018 with significant amendments dumped on the cross-bench at the very last minute.
“Labor can tell us all they like about the concessions and the pragmatic approach they’ve taken but it won’t fly. They have made a deal with the Government that will mean some migrants will have to wait four years until they can access Newstart and other working age payments.
“If Labor had held firm and voted down the Self-Sufficiency Bill, Carer Allowance and FTB Part A would have continued to have no waiting period – some migrants will now have to wait one year under their dirty deal.
“Labor claims to have substantially helped people who can access FTB, Carer Allowance and PPL but these payments are not what get people through the tough times when they lose a job or can't find work. This is what Newstart, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment are for.
“The House was dumped with 11 pages of amendments and no Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum and were given no briefing.
“This is a Government and Opposition who avoid scrutiny and it is not a democratic process.
“At the moment, the numbers in the House are a moving feast – we could have worked together, with the cross-bench to knock this off.
“The ALP have condemned new migrants granted certain permanent visas who can’t find work to poverty and it’s an outrageous attack on our multicultural community.
"Greens Co-Deputy Leader and Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt MP, who opposed and moved for a vote on the bill, said that this vote was what he hoped was the first of many examples of the crossbench using their power to hold the government and the opposition to account. Mr Bandt noted that for the first time in a while, because 5 members of the House—all from the crossbench—opposed the bill, the power of the newly expanded crossbench forced a formal count of the vote.
“The crossbench is growing and so is our power,” said Mr Bandt.
“Normally it’s easier for the government and the opposition to rush through a dirty deal on a piece of legislation, in this case one that attacks migrants and multicultural Australia, but this time the members in Labor and Liberal that voted for this disgraceful legislation will have their names recorded in Hansard forever.
“Today’s vote was a sign of things to come. Labor should be aware that they can no longer shirk and squirm away from scrutiny when they do dirty deals with the Liberals. The crossbench can work together to hold the old parties to account.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180
Gideon Reisner: 0429 109 054