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Greens join call for Royal Commission into robodebt

The Greens are calling for a Royal Commission into robodebt and the income compliance program saying it has caused enormous harm and trauma to a huge number of Australians and that it would help bring justice to the victims of this illegal scheme and ensure that a program like this never sees the light of day again.

“I can see no other way forward than through a Royal Commission ensuring a full, independent review of this program and a forensic audit of this mess”, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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Mutual Obligations start in a week - system not fit for purpose & not enough jobs 

The Government's approach to mutual obligations has been haphazard, without proper information given to people on income support”, Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“Mutual obligations should have been suspended for six months from the get-go in line with the Jobseeker and Jobkeeper programs which recognise this crisis will go for at least six months.

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Refund of Robodebts is great win for all people traumatised by this unfair program 

The Australian Greens said today that this is a great day for people who have been subjected to this unfair, appalling and illegal program. People's opposition to this program has been vindicated.

“This is a historic day. I am overwhelmed thinking of the untold suffering that this illegal scheme has caused” said Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Community Services.

"It will be almost impossible to account for the social and economic costs of the Government's illegal Robodebt scheme.

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UNSW/ACOSS report shows poverty levels will continue to rise if we don’t keep income support levels above poverty line

The ACOSS/UNSW Poverty in Australia (Part 2 – Who is affected) released today shows that it is urgent that we learn the hard lessons from the policy mistakes of the past that sought to make savings out of the social safety net and condemned millions to poverty. That includes committing to keeping all income support rates above the poverty line the Greens say. 
 

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Governments must account for process that allowed for destruction of sacred Pilbara site

Greens Spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said:

“I am appalled and deeply upset for the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people who have been treated with such blatant disregard and disrespect by the State Government and Rio Tinto.

“The State Government must account for the processes that allowed this to happen.

“I cannot imagine a European artefact of such cultural significance being destroyed like this."

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$60 billion should be spent on keeping  people above the poverty line

The revised Jobkeeper figures released today mean that the Government has no excuse to return the Jobseeker payment to $40 a day at the end of September. 

Further, the Government can top up the DSP and Carer Payments so that disabled people and carers can meet the additional costs they are facing because of the pandemic.

No one in a country as wealthy as Australia should be living in poverty and cutting income support payments to those who need it most is a choice, not an inevitability.
 

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Greens call Cashless Debit Card exemption process a debacle 

1000 applications to exit the Cashless Debit Card have now been received with less than 100 applications processed, the latest figures on the Cashless Debit Card show.

“This process is a debacle. The Department recently said in an answer to a question on notice that it is taking  an average of five months for an application to be processed, I note that this was estimated to the beginning of March which is now over 2 months ago so the average is now higher than that”, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services said. 

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Senate does not support Greens motion calling for disabled people to receive increase in support

For the second day in a row the Senate has not supported disabled people and carers, voting down a Greens motion calling for a top-up payment to Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment so that these payments are equal to the new rate of Jobseeker Payment, ” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
 
"I’m really disappointed that my colleagues are not seeing how big an issue this is for disabled people and carers. 
 

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Greens welcome suspension of mutual obligations to June 1 but say it is a temporary solution 

With almost half a million people losing their jobs in the last month and underemployment rising to 1.8 million people there are going to be a very large number of people engaging with job providers and having to deal with mutual obligations for the first time. This will put a lot of pressure on a system that is already not fit for purpose. 

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Disappointment that Senate didn’t show solidarity with disabled people and carers who are struggling with costs due to COVID-19 

“It’s deeply disappointing that the Senate didn’t demonstrate solidarity with disabled people and carers by supporting the Greens motion calling on the Government to provide the full $550 coronavirus supplement to Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment recipients,” Senator Rachel Siewert said.
 
“Disabled people and carers feel abandoned by this Government and today we had the opportunity to show them they have not been abandoned by the Senate. 
 
“The Government cannot deny that there are increased costs that come with living through a pandemic. 
 

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