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Thursday, 11 May 2006
Page: 94


Mr WAKELIN (4:09 PM) —I will take only a couple of minutes to conclude the statements I was making before question time. I welcome this legislation. The fundamental changes that have occurred over the last decade as a foundation to the Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Welfare to Work and Other Measures) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2006 are part of a very important structural change that Australia needs to have. I reiterate that the best form of family income comes from a job. We have 2.6 million people on welfare and 15 per cent of those people are required to actively search for work. Passive welfare payments throughout the world, not just in Australia, are an issue that we need to be acutely aware of, and we need to in a much more dynamic way challenge and bring into the daily lives of all Australians the concept that these things are fraught with difficulty.

At a time when the government’s economic policy sees us with around five per cent unemployment, a 29-year low, we need every person in Australia who is able and available to work to do the work that this nation needs done. These are important stepping stones to encourage all Australians in a compassionate and fair way to participate in our economic wellbeing.

Debate (on motion by Mr Nairn) adjourned.