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Parliament House, Queensland: transcript of doorstop interview: welfare fraud.



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TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, PARLIAMENT HOUSE QUEENSLAND, MONDAY 20 MAY 2002

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

SUBJECT: WELFARE FRAUD

SWAN: This isn’t a crackdown, at best it is an admission of failure. For six years they have been talking about cracking down on welfare fraud, for six years they have been boasting about the great job they have been doing. So if there are 100 000 people in our community that they are terming bludgers, whose responsibility is that? It is an admission of failure from the Howard Government that they are incapable of running a fair and compassionate welfare system, because I suspect that the figures in this report are not available.

Yesterday we had a report from the Government that we tabled which said that Australians support a fair social security system and that is the reason the Government has brought this forward at this time; to divert attention from their cuts to Disability Support Pension, divert attention from the cut of $52.00 a fortnight for Disability Support Pensioners which is going to cause genuine hardship to those people.

What this is about is diverting attention from the Government’s record and if there is a problem in our community, what has the Government been doing about it for six years? If these figures are true what it proves is that this Government is completely and totally incompetent. What this is, is a diversion from the fact that they intend to cut Disability Support Pensions by $52.00 a fortnight causing great hardship for people with disabilities.

So what the Government is out their doing is creating a diversion, a smoke screen from what they are really up to in the Budget. But, if there are 100 000 people out there who are bludging on the system as Minister Brough says, then what has the Government been doing about it?

For our part we won’t support rorting of the welfare system at all. People who rort the welfare system are scum and they need to be weeded out of the system. But this Government has been on the watch for the last six years, they have been out there every month beating the drum about how effective they are at cracking down on fraud and if the end result of that crackdown is still 100 000 people then Minister Brough and all of his colleagues are completely and utterly incompetent.

JOURNALIST: What should they do then?

Wayne Swan MP Manager of Opposition Business Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

SWAN: Well what they should do is immediately table the research and the figures that they are using today. We already have one report from the Government that shows there is strong support for people with disabilities who have been targeted in this Budget. Lets see the full report to see how genuine this is. Because if the Government does not table the full report what they have been engaged in is nothing more than a con. Going out there to vilify the unemployed so they can get out of a political problem with disability support pensioners.

JOURNALIST: They’re on a winner with the public aren’t they because the public always hates the thought of dole bludgers?

SWAN: The public hates the thought of anybody rorting the system and Governments ought to do everything they can to weed out the rorters. But Governments should not be out there doing what this Government is doing which is picking on Disability Support Pensioners, cutting their benefits by $52.00 fortnight and branding them abusers of the system. Governments should not be out there doing these sorts of things. This Government has not vision for the future of the welfare system, it simply has a plan for finding fault and scapegoating individuals and branding all individuals as rorters, because it cant sell its Government proposals.

ENDS Mon 20 May 02 Web: www.SwanMP.org

Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329 Michael Lye on 0407 012 088