Senate debates

Wednesday, 2 August 2023


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Safety Net) Bill 2023; In Committee

11:32 am

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

I indicate that the Greens will be supporting this amendment. It's very similar—exactly the same, in fact—as an amendment that we also were pursuing. I also want to thank Senator David Pocock for his passion for and commitment to raising the wellbeing of people who are living on income support.

Of course, it's extremely disappointing that both the Labor and the Liberal parties teamed up to vote against increasing income support to above the poverty line, as per the amendment I moved previously. It is interesting to see that we have here an amendment that is based on the recommendations that the government's own Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, their own hand-picked committee, made. It was chaired by former minister Jenny Macklin. It had the people that they picked. They had the people that they wanted to advise the government on income support on this committee. The committee reviewed the evidence of the academics who have decades of expertise in this area and talked to people with lived experience, and they said that we needed to raise income support to at least 90 per cent of the age pension, which was the level they picked.

I would have thought, given the whole issue of what level income support should be, that, at the very least, the government would have listened to the recommendations of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee. So I do want to ask the minister: was the evidence of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee part of the evidence base for this bill?


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