House debates

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014, Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014; Consideration in Detail

9:43 pm

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

These bills, collectively, really expose the cruelty this government is subjecting the Australian people to tonight. These bills put on full display a long list of broken promises that were pitched at the Australian people. This is not budget the Australian people were expecting and it is certainly not the budget the people of Newcastle were expecting to see.

I really want to spend this time highlighting the impacts, for young people in particular, of these measures that are before us. These measures are cutting young job seekers off from Newstart for a period of six months. It is an incredible attack on a generation of young people who are looking for work and who are being pushed into hardship and, indeed, poverty.

These measures are amongst the harshest that are contained within these bills. They will see young people left without income support for a period of six months, possibly longer, at a time when they are incredibly vulnerable and in fact need assistance in order to be actively job seeking. What this government is effectively saying is, 'When you have found yourself unemployed we are cutting you off for six months and you are out there on your own.' I would like to share with the House some lived reality for a constituent of mine, Julie, who contacted me on this very issue. She wrote:

Hi Sharon

I am a 20-year-old who is currently completing a certificate III in cultural and information services at Hunter TAFE. My course finishes late next month and instead of being excited about the future I am utterly terrified thanks to the Abbott government's budget, and for the first time it has made me question if I have a future in Australia.

The Treasurer keeps going on about the best kind of welfare being a job for an unemployed person on Newstart. He would be right if there were actually any jobs being created, and I was not hearing 'We aren't employing anyone at the moment' ringing in my ears every time I go to hand a business my resume, or being told that I do not have enough experience to do the job despite all the work I have put in to ensure that I have the skills they are asking for even when I got to the interview stage.

Please inform Mr Hockey I do not use my Newstart allowance the cigarettes and alcohol, I use it to get myself to job interviews, to help my retired dad to keep a roof over my head, buying interview clothes in the hope that I might actually get an interview and paying for internet access so I can search for jobs online so I can be rejected on the web and have whatever confidence I have left crushed, not just when I meet an employer face-to-face.

Maybe Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey should spend a week actually trying to live on Newstart allowance and looking for work in the current climate because they have no idea what it is like and at the moment I have no belief that I have a bright future ahead of me despite all the courses I have done. Their budget is cruel, inhumane, heartbreaking and scary. Thanks for reading this.

That is the reality of one job seeker in Newcastle. The notion that this government provides no hope for a younger generation of Australians is truly horrifying. These young men and women feel that they have been left abandoned. They have seen cuts into the education system, they are seeing attacks on their employment prospects and now they are seeing that this is a government that has no capacity to lend them the support and assistance they are going to require in order to be active participants and productive members of society, helping them when they need some support to go job seeking.

Those attacks on young people at this time when people feel their jobs are particularly insecure and finding it difficult is perhaps amongst the most vicious aspects of these particular bills before us. It is estimated that there are some 500,000 new claims for emergency assistance that are going to be expected as a result of this particular measure. My question to the minister is how does he intend to provide for those half a million— (Time expired)


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