Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today that Labor Members of Parliament are trying to make amends for cuts to single parents by speaking out after the damage has been done.
“Single parents and their families are suffering because of the cuts their Government has made,”
“The people now commenting are part of a Government that has continued the Howard Government’s welfare to work regime, condemning thousands of families to poverty and causing them to rely on emergency relief in order to survive.
“This Government has left behind the legacy of ‘the right to a fair go from Government’ referred to by former Human Services Minister Kim Carr today.
“It is a pity Senator Carr didn’t join this important public debate earlier and help stop the cuts to single parents.
“The concepts of fairness and equality, so commonly espoused by some members of the ALP, have played no part in the Government’s decision making process when it comes to single parent cuts and their steadfast refusal to increase Newstart.
“We have a flawed mining tax that has only raised $126 million this year, while $207.8 million has been taken away from single parents.
“The Greens have costed, evidence based legislation before Parliament to help single parents. While this Government is condemning vulnerable families and people to further poverty, Tony Abbott’s approach will be even more extreme and punitive.
“Our legislation, costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office, addresses the widespread concerns raised by Labor MPs, the Senate Inquiry into Newstart, the concerns of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the United Nations alike. We urge all members of parliament concerned about single parents to support our legislation.
“Throughout this process, single parents have been concerned and confused about the support they will be receiving – support they rely on. Senator Carr’s comments about the lack of time the Department of Human Services had to implement and communicate this change serves to reinforce what we already knew.
“This rushed policy, created out of the desperation to deliver a surplus, has led to parents having to drop back their working hours or stop their studies. It has also led to cancelled concession cards and confusion about important assistance like the Pensioner Education Supplement.
“More MPs – including those currently inside the Cabinet- should engage with the large number of stakeholders and individuals across many sectors who are echoing our call for action,” Senator Siewert concluded.