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Government must fast-track non-specific option on DHS forms so that non-binary students can continue to receive youth allowance: Greens

The Government’s failure to promptly roll out an unspecified gender option for government-issued forms has had a tangible effect on non-binary university students, who are having their youth allowance payments cut off, Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Including a non-specific option in internal Government systems like Centrelink is not just symbolic, transgender and non-binary people need this option to receive income support payments.

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Coalition and Labor push on with cashless welfare card

The Coalition and the Labor party have voted down a Greens disallowance motion that would have stopped the cashless welfare card trial extensions.   

“When the yearlong trials of the cashless welfare card were passed into legislation with the help of Labor, we feared that this would lead to an extended rollout. Unfortunately this has happened. 

“I am disappointed that the Labor party have continuously backed the Government on the cashless welfare card trials. They claim to care for vulnerable people but actions speak louder than words.

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Abuse of people with disability is not going to stop, we need a Royal Commission

Following the Four Corners report that showed more harrowing footage of people with disability living in group care, both the Coalition and the Labor Party have voted against a Greens senate motion calling on the Government to reconsider its decision and commit to a Royal Commission.

“It is really disappointing that both the old parties voted against the Government instigating a Royal Commission”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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The Government should not have Accenture ‘transforming’ Centrelink, recipients have been through enough

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has expressed concern that the company behind the bungled Tax Office overhaul has been selected to ‘transform’ the Centrelink system, saying that Centrelink recipients have been through enough.

“Centrelink recipients, some of which have just had their payments cut by legislation passed yesterday, should not be subject to anymore poorly operating systems.

“They have a track record of taking a system and making it worse for many users, this was demonstrated by the bungled Tax Office rollout.

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The Government is still cutting payments from vulnerable people to pay for childcare and it should not be supported: Greens

The legislation announced by the Government today will take money out of the pockets of average Australians who rely on a decent social safety net, said Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale.

“This grubby little deal between the Government, One Nation and Nick Xenophon’s senators will strip nearly $2 billion from the people who need it the most.

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More cuts to social safety net not the solution for budget repair: Greens

The Business Council’s claims that we would require a $50 billion cut to the social safety net to plug up the budget if savings don’t pass the senate is farcical fear mongering, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Time and time again I have said that there is no senate gridlock, there is bad legislation. Put forward better legislation that doesn't take money off some of the most vulnerable members of our community and it will have a better chance of passing the senate.

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Government using commission only private debt collectors for automated debt recovery program

The Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery process has revealed that the Government is paying private debt collectors commission only to rake back potentially incorrect automated debts from former Centrelink recipients.

“I have to ask why is the Government paying private debt collectors commission only to retrieve Centrelink debts? Do they think it will result in more money being raked back? This might go a long way to explain the accounts we’ve heard of overzealous private debt collectors in pursuing potentially incorrect debts.

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Government turns its back on people with disability and refuses to hold a Royal Commission into disability abuse, violence and neglect

The Government has officially announced it will not hold a Royal Commission into abuse, violence and neglect of people with disability in institutional settings, despite it being recommended in a senate committee report tabled nearly a year and half ago.

“A range of recommendations compiled with extensive consultation to address systemic abuse, violence and neglect of people with disability across the country has been effectively dismissed by the Government, or as they like to put it, ‘noted’.

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DHS trawling social media to find Centrelink complaints only to intimidate recipients is huge concern: Greens

“It is deeply concerning that DHS staff have been trawling through social media to find people complaining about Centrelink to provide to the Minister”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.  

“They’re then taking these complaints and rather than seeking to remedy them, and might release your personal details to ‘correct the record’ to protect the ‘public confidence’ and ‘integrity’ of the social security system.

"The department confirmed they keep an eye on traditional media but to trawl social media is a new development that raises strong concerns.

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