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Tuesday, 18 May 1993
Page: 785

Senator LEES (Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats) (11.25 p.m.) —I move:

  2.After clause 12, page 6, insert the following clause:

  Abolition of reduced employment prospects rule

  "12A. Sections 518, 550, 597 and 634 of the Principal Act are repealed.".

Our first amendment is the same as the one that was just passed and which stood in the name of Senator Patterson. This amendment deals directly with the abolition of the reduced employment prospects rule. As I said in an earlier speech, this is one of the major problems with the Social Security Act as it now stands. The Minister for Health (Senator Richardson), who represents the Minister for Social Security (Mr Baldwin), says that people are somehow going to reduce their chances of employment by moving. I suggest that he look at the boards at the CES in Adelaide and he will realise that people have virtually a zero chance in many occupations as it is, particularly men in their 40s and 50s.

  One thing the unemployed can at least do is go to rural areas in Australia, look for casual employment and take opportunities that arise for cheaper housing. But if they take those options and move their families, they face a 12-week wait for social security benefits. I believe that, as the Minister said, it is a measure which the Government is looking at. But the Government needs to do far more than just look at it. Therefore, tonight we are again bringing this issue to the attention of the Senate.

  Amendment negatived.

  Bill, as amended, agreed to.


  The Bill.