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Transcript of Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility: Parliament House, Canberra: 9 November 2005: Introduction of legislation on welfare changes.

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

Wednesday 9 November 2005




Subject: Introduction of legislation on welfare changes

WONG: Today is a bad day for vulnerable Australian families. Today, vulnerable Australians face the most extreme cuts to their income supports in our lifetime. Employment Minister Kevin Andrews will introduce a Bill into the House… (tape break). Judi Moylan, amongst other Coalition MPs, has expressed real concern about the harshness of the Government’s measures. We understand Judi Moylan has indicated she is considering crossing the floor and I would urge other Coalition members to think about this. I have urged them also to consider crossing the floor against these extreme changes to welfare because after nine long years this Howard Government has not come up with a sensible plan to move people from welfare to work.

JOURNALIST: Barnaby Joyce (inaudible) the Nationals again have asked for these concessions on this. Do you think those concessions (inaudible) go far enough?

WONG: Well, I would urge Senator Joyce, if he is concerned about the interests of people with a disability and sole parents, to consider carefully exactly what he has won. These are a hotchpotch of concessions. They are simply a paint job on these extreme changes. You cannot fix faulty foundations with a new paint job and the fact is the core of these changes remain - cuts to the household budgets of many vulnerable Australians. The vast majority of sole parents and many people with a disability in the future will still be dumped onto the dole under these extreme welfare changes despite the supposed concessions that the Nationals have obtained.

JOURNALIST: There is an extra two years for single parents, will that help?

WONG: Well the question for the Government is “Why two years?” Why put people onto the dole at all? If putting people putting people onto the dole is bad thing, therefore you have to defer it for two years, the question remains why do you need to dump welfare recipients onto the dole in order to help them get a job?