Senate debates

Tuesday, 22 November 2022


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Workforce Incentive) Bill 2022; In Committee

6:49 pm

Photo of Janet RiceJanet Rice (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I now move Greens amendment (4) on sheet 1698:

(4) Page 38 (after line 27), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 5 — Increase rate of income support payments

Social Security Act 1991

1 Subsection 1061JU(1)

Omit "half".

2 Point 1064-B1

Repeal the table, substitute:

3 Point 1065-B1

Repeal the table, substitute:

4 Point 1066A-B1

Repeal the table, substitute:

5 Point 1066B-B1

Repeal the table, substitute:

6 Point 1067G-B2

Repeal the table, substitute:

7 Point 1067G-B3

Repeal the table, substitute:

8 Point 1067G-B4

Repeal the table, substitute:

9 Subpoint 1067L-B2(1)

Repeal the table, substitute:

10 Point 1067L-B3

Repeal the table, substitute:

11 Point 1068-B1

Repeal the table, substitute:

12 Point 1068A-B1

Omit "$21,470.80 per year ($825.80 per fortnight)", substitute "$32,032.00 per year ($1,232.00 per fortnight)".

13 Point 1068B-C2

Repeal the table, substitute:

14 After section 1198B


1198BA Adjustment of ABSTUDY payment amount


(a) a person is receiving a payment under the scheme known as the ABSTUDY scheme that includes an amount identified as a living allowance; and

(b) the amount of that living allowance equates to less than $88 per day;

then the amount of that living allowance is to be increased by an amount equal to the shortfall.

15 Application of amendments

The amendments made by this Schedule apply in relation to a payment period that commences on or after the commencement of this item.

This amendment would raise the rate of income support to all income support recipients to $88 a day—to above the poverty line. I know the government is going to say, 'You're just making a political point.' This is not a political point. This is an attempt to improve the lives of millions of Australians who are living in poverty, who are starving, who are suffering from malnutrition, who are suffering from scurvy, who cannot afford to live in a home at the same time as putting food on the table or at the same time as paying their medical bills. We can afford this, and this parliament—this government—should be doing this. While they are not doing this, they are saying, 'We're going to go ahead with the stage 3 tax cuts and give the richest people in our country—the billionaires, the wealthy—$250 billion over the next 10 years.' That's the choice that's being made.

Poverty is a political choice, and the Greens have decided that we will not stand for it any longer. We are going to take every opportunity we can to be advocating, to be pushing and to be working so hard for the people who are mired in poverty at the moment. We need to raise the rate of income support. We need to raise it above the poverty line. We need to raise it above $88 a day. And we need to do it now.


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