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Rudd should drop income management laws: Greens.



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Rachel Siewert  Australian Greens  Media Release 

Rudd should drop income management laws - Greens

Media Release | Spokesperson Rachel Siewert

Wednesday 9th June 2010, 9:26am

The Australian Greens have renewed calls for the Federal Government to abandon legislation

to extend punitive income management provisions, saying most Australians are unaware that

the measures have been introduced to Parliament.

"The Minister, Jenny Macklin continues to claim that the laws are no longer racially

discriminatory because they can apply to all people on certain welfare payments across

Australia," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Community Services

said in Perth today.

"At the same time she is now trying to reassure voters that these punitive measures will not

be applied outside of the Northern Territory for the foreseeable future. However, there is

nothing in the legislation to prevent the laws being rolled out across the nation at any time,"

Senator Siewert said.

“A change of Government, or a change of heart by this Government could see compulsory

income quarantining applied nationwide at anytime.

"This is the biggest change to our social security system since the Second World War - the

changes need full and rigorous debate,” said Senator Siewert.

Senator Siewert also accused the Government of shamefully trying to discredit a study into

nutrition in remote Aboriginal communities which provided compelling evidence that the

Northern Territory Intervention was not working.

The study, "Impact of income management on store sales in the Northern Territory" by the

Menzies School of Research was recently published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

"I'm deeply concerned about the attempts made in Senate Estimates to undermine and

discredit this study by a government that continues to claim a commitment to evidence-based

policy," Senator Siewert said.

"There is simply no comparison between the validity of an independent study published in

one of Australia's most prestigious peer-reviewed journals, and the approach the Government

has taken to evaluation of the NTER.

"I will be interested to hear what the scientific and medical research communities make of the

'analysis' supplied by FaHCSIA to Senate estimates late last week.

“The results clearly point to the fact that in the ten communities assessed income

management hasn't modified purchasing behaviour, which I believe highlights that this policy

has been both counterproductive and costly.

“It makes no sense for the Government to argue that the results in these communities should

be discounted or ignored because they already had good stores and ongoing nutrition

programs. If that was the case, then there was simply no need to introduce indiscriminate

income management laws into those communities to begin with.

"Quite simply - either income management hasn't worked in those communities or it simply

should not have been introduced in the first place.

"The Government should withdraw the legislation currently before the Senate and put in

place measures that genuinely help people to overcome disadvantage," concluded Senator

Siewert.

Media contact - Chris Redman 0418 401 180