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"Softer" welfare changes still far too harsh.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Family & Community Services

Dated: 07 November 2005 Press Release Number: zferoueo Portfolio: Family & Community Services

"Softer" Welfare Changes Still Far Too Harsh

Democrats Deputy Leader, Andrew Bartlett, says the reported changes to the governments welfare package will still see many sole parents and people with disabilities on reduced incomes.

Every improvement from the harsh and punitive proposals that were originally announced in the Budget is welcome, but the Democrats will not support any package which leaves people worse off, Senator Bartlett said.

It is like announcing you will break someones legs and arms, and then expect to be praised as a good guy when you decide just to break their arms.

Government backbenchers who have been negotiating in secret for a softening of these harsh measures should not expect praise if they are still prepared to support anything which will harm people. The simple fact is that these harsh and harmful measures would have no chance of passing the Senate if the Democrats still held the balance of power.

You dont help people out of poverty by drastically cutting their income, and that is what the federal government is still planing to do. The Democrats support extra assistance to help long-term welfare recipients into the workforce as we always have. However, we will not support cuts to peoples incomes or entitlements.

This is the price the electorate is paying for giving the Coalition control of the Senate - harsh and nasty measures targeting the less well off are now becoming law, concluded Senator Bartlett.