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Drug testing in Canterbury-Bankstown will demonise and isolate people struggling with addiction

Drug testing members of the community in Canterbury-Bankstown who are trying to access income support demonises and isolates the people they target and could further entrench poverty, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Drug testing people trying to access income support recipients is designed more to appeal to the Turnbull Government’s conservative base than actually address the issue of drug addiction.

“Overseas experience shows that it is a very costly and ineffective measure that does not reduce addiction.

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Crimes have significantly increased in Kununurra since the cashless welfare card was introduced: Australian Greens

Crimes statistics indicate a significant increase in robbery and threatening behaviour in Kununurra since the cashless welfare card trial was introduced in the community, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.   

“In figures provided by the WA police we have seen a marked increase in non-aggravated robbery offences, theft, and threatening behaviour in the period that the card was introduced.

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Catholic Church would rather cling to freedom of religion than protect children; recommendations of the Royal Commission report must be heeded

Senior members of the Catholic Church signalling they would oppose priests being forced to reveal cases of child sexual abuse admitted during confession shows an astounding disregard for child safety and for the rights of survivors of abuse.

“How disgusting to prioritise a ‘fundamental part of freedom of religion’ over ensuring the safety of children”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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Coalition and ALP vote against increase to woefully low income support payments

The Senate has today voted against an increase to the woefully low Newstart and Youth Allowance payments by $110 a fortnight.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the Senate did not support my Bill to increase Newstart by $110 a fortnight. It is well recognised that the payment is too low”, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“I’m also very frustrated that the Labor party today sided with the Government to vote against an increase of the woefully low and stagnated Newstart and Youth Allowance payments by $110 fortnight.   

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Trying to scare people into supporting the cashless card a worrying ramp up of Andrew Forrest’s campaign: Greens

Andrew Forrest is trying to use similar shock tactics to those of the previous Howard Government to scare people into supporting the cashless welfare card, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“We are seeing a worrying ramp up of Andrew Forrest’s cashless welfare card campaign that uses children, violence and fear just like the Howard Government did in 2007 over the NT Intervention.

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Australian Greens introduce bill to urgently tackle inequality with an increase to income support payments

The Australian Greens have introduced a bill in the Senate that would increase woefully low Newstart and Youth Allowance payments by $110 a fortnight.

“It is well known that income support payments have failed to increase overtime to reflect modern day cost-of-living. Now anyone accessing Newstart is receiving a grossly low payment that keeps them struggling below the poverty line.

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Centrelink continues to intimidate vulnerable Australians with threatening texts

The Government continues its agenda of intimidation of Centrelink recipients with threatening text messages to people following the letters recently sent from Centrelink with the Australian Federal Police’s logo. 

“The Government is deliberately targeting vulnerable people and trying to intimidate them, even though they have done nothing wrong.” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“To follow up the threatening AFP letters that were sent out last week, Centrelink is now sending out text messages which are frightening and intimidating people. 

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Greens welcome union for remote and regional Australians forced onto CDP

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed the ACTU establishing the First Nations Workers Alliance, a new union to protect people struggling to find work who are forced into the Community Development Programme (CDP) in regional and remote Australia.

“The CDP imposes unreasonable mutual obligations that are not imposed on job seekers in the metropolitan area. I have long said it is discriminatory to Aboriginal people out bush and has done more harm than good.

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UN joins growing calls for a Royal Commission into the abuse, violence and neglect of people with disability

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Committee calling for a Royal Commission into the abuse, violence and neglect of people with disability.

Senator Rachel Siewert initiated and chaired the senate inquiry that recommended a Royal Commission, and said:

“The United Nations has joined the growing chorus for a Royal Commission into this issue that continues to happen around this country. 

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Retail jobs deal for young people opens up questions about churn and exploitation: Greens

 The Australian Greens have reservations about job internships being negotiated between the Government and the Australian Retailers Association for young people struggling to find meaningful employment. 

“Although I’m sure the Australian Retailers Association was well-intentioned in brokering this deal with the Government, I do have questions about why these young people can’t just be offered work under the usual conditions rather than internships where they can be potentially exploited”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

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