Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Pensions and Benefits
That the Senate:
(a) notes that the Government intends to charge interest on income support debts;
(b) recognises that income support recipients often accrue debts through no fault of their own;
(c) considers this is a sledge-hammer approach and will disproportionately hurt Australians who have made a mistake or do not owe a debt at all; and
(d) urges the Federal Government to abandon this punitive approach and instead focus on measures that will decrease inequality and poverty. (general business notice of motion no. 801)
Labor has always been very clear that there is nothing wrong with requiring income support debts to be repaid, as long as those debts are genuine. Let's be very clear: this is a stunt by the Greens political party. It's nothing but symbolic. Nothing in the motion being debated today will address the huge issues the government has created through its lazy robodebt scam. If the Greens political party really wanted to do something to address unfair Centrelink debts then this is what they would be focusing on. This is our focus, so we will oppose the motion today and continue to concentrate on proper policy developments to address inequality in Australia.