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Wednesday, 29 June 1994
Page: 2267

Senator LEES (Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats) (12.16 p.m.) —I put the question again to the minister: will further moneys be made available to the charities to support people who find themselves unemployed and without any income support? I emphasise that the people who will be caught by these provisions will be the most vulnerable. They will not be people who are deliberately defrauding the system and who will still manage to work their way around these provisions. We should not seek to hit the bulk of the community because of a small percentage of people who are not doing the right thing.

  Previous examinations of the social security system have found that only one or two per cent of people in this category defraud the system. I would argue that the government, in its haste and determination to catch this small number of people, will also catch people with mental illness, drug and alcohol problems and people who for one reason or another manage to slip through the net and not meet the various requirements. I again ask the minister whether she intends to make more money available to charity organisations to support the families of these people who will be removed from benefits.