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Incompetence spins out of control as Kevin Andrews makes it up as he goes.

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Media Release

Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance

13 September, 2005



Minister Andrews today demonstrated his complete failure to understand the impact of his welfare changes, making the ridiculous claim that people with a disability will be working for $25 an hour.

Minister Andrews was responding to a question from Deputy Labor Leader, Jenny Macklin, on the damning report by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM).

Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong responded:

"Minister Andrews has failed Introductory Economics with the ridiculous claim that people will be earning $25 an hour. He is counting their welfare payments as wages. Applying this ridiculous logic, the Minister would assert that a person working just one hour a week would be earning over $200 an hour.

"He simply plucks figures out of the air."

Senator Wong said that Australians would know better than to accept the Minister's ridiculous spin against the NATSEM's findings, which included:

A person with disabilities working 15 hours a week for the minimum wage will earn $191 a week under the new system, but will take home only $80 of this. The government will retain the other $111, via clawback of Newstart allowance and income tax.

The take-home income of this person working 15 hours a week will be $288 a week under the new system. This is only $34 a week higher than the $254 that a person with disabilities who does not undertake any paid work receives under the current rules.

"The Howard Government can't hide from the results of research by NATSEM, an institute which the Prime Minister himself has described as independent and respected.

"The Minister is so out of touch he doesn’t understand his changes mean that people will gain far less reward for work than they currently do.

"Labor does not dispute the value of welfare reform. The tragedy is that after nine long years, the Howard Government has still failed to offer a sensible plan to move the hundreds of thousands of Australians who are trapped on welfare into work."

For further information: John Olenich - 02 6277 5789 / 0408 841 850