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Labor sides with Government as motion to abandon drug testing income support recipients voted down

A senate motion calling on the Government to abandon drug testing income support recipients has been voted down by the Coalition with the help of Labor.

“Labor has today made it clear what they think of drug testing people accessing the social safety net.

“They have been vague around this measure since it was announced but have taken sides with the Government today.

“This motion also gave members of the Government the chance to see sense and abandon this flawed approach.

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Australian Greens welcome further calls for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability

The Australian Greens welcome the call from 163 community groups for a Royal Commission into violence, abuse  and neglect of people with disability in institutional settings.

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who initiated and chaired the senate committee inquiry into the issue, said:

“More and more momentum is building for a Royal Commission into widespread abuses in institutional and residential settings of people with disability. This is not an issue the Government can ignore.

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Centrelink busy signals balloon out to 42 million from start of the financial year to April 30

The number of calls to Centrelink that hit a busy signal has ballooned out to 42 million from start of financial year to April 30, up from 29 million for 2015-16.

“42 million busy signals. This is an astronomical number representing Australians trying to access supports, adjust their payments, seek information or update their earnings. That is a lot of frustrated people who may be exasperated and struggling.

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Estimates reveals that under demerit point system for job seekers you could lose more than one point or all seven in one go

Estimates has revealed that job seekers accessing income support could lose more than one demerit point at a time depending on their perceived level of compliance. 

“The Government tried to make out that the demerit point system gave people more chances, but you can lose more than one demerit point at a time or all seven points in one go depending on what a staff member decides.  

“This punitive job-at-any-cost approach could hurt people struggling to get by and struggling with many barriers to employment.

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Renewed push to dump energy supplement another cut for struggling Australians: Greens

The renewed push to remove the energy supplement for income support recipients is another assault on people who will be struggling to get by on extremely low income support payments, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The Government is unrelenting in its attempts to erode and weaken the social safety net as a way to balance the books. People accessing the social safety net can’t afford to lose any more money.

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Research shows drug testing income support recipients in the US has been costly and ineffective

Information obtained by the Australian Greens has shown that drug testing in the United States has been costly whilst returning a miniscule number of positive test results.

“In America the results that came back positive for drugs was farcical. From 2011 to 2014, just TWO people out of 108,408 came back as positive in Arizona. Over in Missouri, just 0.1% came back positive from 2013 to 2014. What a monumental waste of time and public funds.

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Estimates raises human rights concern and lack of consultation on drug testing income support recipients

Questioning in estimates has revealed that the Disability Discrimination Commissioner has some concerns for the potential for human rights in relation to drug testing of income support applicants, and that the Government did not seek any advice from the Australian Human Rights Commission on the matter. 

“A lot of people in the community share the concerns of the Commissioner”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. 

“He has taken on notice the question about more details of his concerns. I have deep concerns that this measure is discriminatory.

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Greens support calls for a Royal Commission into the abuse, violence and neglect of people with disability

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed reports that an open letter has been signed by 100 academics urging the Federal Government to establish a Royal Commission into the violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability.

“There was a large body of evidence to our senate inquiry on the level of violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability in institutional and residential care.

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