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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 2871


Senator CHISHOLM (Queensland) (12:07): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator CHISHOLM: Newstart is too low. Labor knows this, but, unlike the Greens, we want to bring about change, not pull stunts. That's why Bill Shorten has committed to a root-and-branch review of Newstart. The truth is that if you want to see an increase to Newstart you've got to change the government.

How do you think the last major increase to social security came about? The Labor government commissioned the Harmer review into the adequacy of the pension. This was a proper policy process that was undertaken. Consultations with key stakeholders were held and it was paid for in the budget. As a result, pensions were increased by $30 a week, the biggest increase in history. One million Australians were lifted out of poverty. It didn't happen because of a stunt in the Senate from a minor party like the Greens; it happened because there was a Labor government in office.

We fully understand that Newstart hasn't seen an increase in real terms for more than 20 years. That's why we've worked so hard in the last two years to protect the energy supplement for vulnerable Australians on Newstart.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion as moved by Senator Siewert be agreed to. Those of that opinion, say aye—

Senator Di Natale: Madam Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Di Natale, I've already started the vote. It's too late now. I'll put the question again—

Senator Di Natale: Can I seek leave once the vote has been conducted?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Well, you can seek the call after the question, Senator Di Natale. The question is that the motion, as moved by Senate Siewert, be agreed to.