Can You Help?

This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


Become a Patron!


Treasurer Scott Morrison Delivers 2017 Federal Budget

The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, has delivered the Turnbull government’s second Budget, forecasting a return to surplus in four years, abandoning stalled budget cuts, guaranteeing Medicare and the PBS, incresing the Medicare levy and imposing a new levy on the commercial banks.

The Budget also includes provisions for first home buyers to salary sacrifice into their superannuation. It includes a crackdown on welfare recipients.

The Budget marks a break with the Abbott years. It abandons the “zombie” cuts stalled in the Senate whilst increasing spending in traditional Labor areas. Morrison said it was a “reset”.

  • Listen to Scott Morrison deliver the Budget (32m)
  • Watch Morrison (32m)

Budget Documents – PDF downloads

17-05-09_budget-speech


McClure Social Welfare Reform Report Calls For Simplified Payments System

The Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has released a review of the social welfare system which calls for simplified system of four basic payment types.

The report, by Patrick McClure, calls for: a tiered Working Age Payment; a Disability Support Pension; an Age Pension; and a Child Payment.

Statement from the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews.

Interim Report Proposes a Simplified Welfare System

Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews says an interim review of Australia’s welfare system has put forward a simplified payments structure with four basic payment types, among other potential reforms. [Read more…]


Treasurer Joe Hockey Responds To ACOSS Concerns About Federal Budget

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has appeared at a forum held by the Australian Council of Social Service and taken questions about the impact of the Budget on welfare recipients.

The forum was hosted by ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie. It was one of a series of appearances by the Treasurer in the aftermath of last week’s Budget.

Hockey

Hockey repeated his remarks from a 2012 speech about The End of the Age of Entitlement that an expansion of the welfare system has resulted in extending welfare “higher and higher up the pay scale”. [Read more…]


Kevin Andrews: The Days Of Easy Welfare For Young Australians Are Over

Declaring that “the days of easy welfare for younger Australians are over”, the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has announced that the Abbott government will promote a system of “earn or learn” for people under 30 and put in place a review of the Disability Support Pension.

AndrewsSpeaking at a press conference in Melbourne, Andrews said new recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) over the past 5 or 6 years would be expected to seek work if they were judged sufficiently able.

Andrews said: “The message is this: we expect people who are capable of working to do so.”

Around 800,000 people receive the DSP. Andrews said statistics indicated there was no point in reassessing most recipients after they have been on the payment for six years.

Andrews said the government would promote a system of “earn or learn” for people under the age of 30. Young people would be expected to participate in training programs or have a job search program. “We’re no longer going to support easy welfare for people who want to sit around on the couch at home,” Andrews said. [Read more…]


Kevin Andrews: Civil Society, Social Welfare And The Economy

The Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has set out a philosophical framework for the Abbott government’s policies on social welfare and the economy.

Andrews delivered the speech to an Aon Breakfast Forum. Aon is one of the world’s largest insurance brokers.

Transcript of speech by Kevin Andrews, Minister for Social Services, to the Aon Breakfast Forum.

AndrewsI’ll begin by expressing my gratitude to Aon Australia, Deloitte Consulting and Macquarie for organising this event under the auspices of your Not-for-Profit Forum.

Thanks to Bill Marynissen of Macquarie for MC’ing this morning’s event.

And a thank you also to the NFP Forum members.

Your dedication to Australia’s not-for-profit sector is both noteworthy and praiseworthy. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott And Women Of Calibre: What Did He Actually Say?

In the increasingly bizarre world online, there was a minor flurry yesterday over comments by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on paid parental leave.

I came to it late in the day, some hours after the comments were made. My initial impression was that Abbott must have said something highly offensive.

For example, the News Limited website, news.com.au, told me Abbott defended his paid parental leave policy as a means of encouraging women of “calibre” to have children.

Farr

On Twitter, the article’s author, political writer Malcolm Farr, said the policy was all about getting women of calibre to “breed”:


Also on Twitter, the Finance Minister, Senator Penny Wong, was taking aim at Abbott:

Elsewhere, there was talk of Abbott’s new policy of eugenics.

Clearly, this was a major foot-in-mouth blunder by Abbott.

So I listened to what Abbott said. Here’s the full media conference and the specific question where Abbott made the “calibre” comment:

Abbott

  • Tony Abbott’s media conference – May 7, 2013 (22m)
  • The ‘calibre’ question (3m)

I’m the first to admit that my command of English is pretty basic. But surely Abbott’s remark is innocuous?

There is a legitimate debate to be had over the merits of Abbott’s policy. Or do we prefer the warm inner glow of manufactured outrage?



Jenny Macklin Apologises For Comment About The Dole

The Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin, has apologised for her New Year’s Day comment that she would be able to live on the daily Newstart allowance.

Macklin

Appearing at today’s press conference called by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to announce the details of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, Macklin was asked about her comments. [Read more…]


Jenny Macklin: I Could Live On The Dole

This is a video clip showing Families Minister Jenny Macklin saying that she could live on the $35 a day Newstart allowance.

Macklin’s office released a transcript of her media conference which depicted the question and answer as inaudible. [Read more…]


Hockey Speech: The End Of The Age Of Entitlement

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has used a speech in London to call for an end to “the age of entitlement”.

Joe HockeyAddressing the Institute of Economic Affairs, Hockey said “entitlement is a concept that corrodes the very heart of the process of free enterprise that drives our economies”.

He said: “The entitlements bestowed on tens of millions of people by successive governments, fuelled by short-term electoral cycles and the politics of outbidding your opponents is, in essence, undermining our ability to ensure democracy, fair representation and economic sustainability for future generations.”

Hockey said economic problems in Europe were attributable in part to an entitlement culture: “The sovereign debt problems we are seeing in Europe and the US today are the outcome of countries wanting a lifestyle they cannot afford but are quite happy to borrow from others to pay for.”

In a wide-ranging speech, Hockey gave contrasting examples from China and the United States. He said the only solution in the long term “is for countries to live within their means”.

“We must rebuild fiscal discipline. Budget surpluses must be restored, ideally until the debt is repaid.”

“THE END OF THE AGE OF ENTITLEMENT”

SPEECH NOTES FOR AN ADDRESS TO THE INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS

Introduction

I wish to thank my friends at the Institute of Economic Affairs for the opportunity to discuss an issue that has been the source of much debate in this forum for sometime….that is, the end of an era of popular universal entitlement. [Read more…]


Down And Out In Centrelink And NewStart

The first welfare rort I ever perpetrated took place inside a Job Network provider’s office.

CentrelinkLike all cheating, it started with a small lie, so small that it seemed churlish to resist. I acquiesced as my “case worker” entered three hours on the claim form, even though I’d only been there around an hour. My scrawled initials of consent didn’t seem as serious as a proper signature.

The justification was simple enough. It helped speed the process. There was mutual benefit in claiming the maximum time allowed for the process of putting in place a job agreement. After all, I wasn’t worth much to the provider. They didn’t get paid much for dealing with me. It would be better for both of us if I had some kind of disability or could be classified as long term unemployed.

I was something of an oddity at this establishment. “We don’t get people like you,” I was told. Professional people don’t use the Job Network. I went to work in a collar and tie. I had a stable employment history. I knew what to put in a curriculum vitae. I didn’t need training in how to write a job application. I had my own internet connection and computer at home so I didn’t need to use the facilities they provided. I was already familiar with the list of employment websites they gave me. [Read more…]