Senate debates

Thursday, 7 December 2017


Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017; Second Reading

6:40 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you. I'd like to now turn to the government's amendments. The Greens will be supporting the government's amendments. They don't go as far as our amendments, so we'll still be moving our amendments. They do make a couple of things slightly better; they don't go as far as we would like.

I'm particularly pleased to see the schedule 12 drug-testing trial process removed from this bill. As you know, we did not support that. We are disappointed—in fact, we had amendments and the ALP had amendments to remove schedule 12 as well, so I'm pleased to see it's happened. However, we wanted to go further because we don't support schedules 13 and 14 either. I do acknowledge you've made a slight amendment to schedule 13, and of course we'll be supporting that.

I also acknowledge that for schedule 9, the activity test, we don't support the amendment to reduce it to 12 months. We don’t support that schedule, and I'll still seek to remove it, but my understanding is that it will be 12 months and then somebody will not be subject to that schedule anymore. So of course that's a significant improvement in that area beyond what was currently in the bill.

It's the same with schedule 4—a slight improvement on bereavement allowance and an improvement on schedule 6 So, I'll indicate that the Greens will be supporting these amendments; however, we do have a large number of amendments ourselves.

The CHAIR: So the question is that amendments (1) to (3), (10) to (14) and (16) to (20) and requests (5) to (9) on sheet JC466 be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

The CHAIR: The question is that schedule 1 and schedule 12 stand as printed.

Question negatived.

I'm going to move our first lot of amendments. Sorry, I was expecting the LDP or the AC to move their amendments. One of them is amending something that's in conflict with the government, so I presume they're no longer going to be moving their amendments.

The CHAIR: I just advise the chamber that the LDP and the AC amendments can no longer be moved as schedule 12.

by leave—I move amendment (2) on sheet 8243:

(2) Schedule 3, item 25, page 75 (after line 23) , after subsection 654(5) , insert:

  (5A) The woman’s wife pension transition rate during the period from the day after the transition day to the day before the day on which the transition rate is ceased (the transition period) is worked out using Pension Rate Calculator A at the end of section 1064 (see Part 3.2).

The Greens also oppose schedule 3 in the following terms:

(3) Schedule 3, items 45 to 49, page 79 (line 20) to page 80 (line 4), to be opposed.

These amendments relate to the transition payments for wife pensioners. Amendment (2) provides for the transition rate for wife pensioners to be indexed. Amendment (3), which also relates to the transition rate of wife pension, seeks to oppose schedule 3, items 45 to 49 in the terms circulated.


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