When a government introduces a measure that will be expensive and which the evidence indicates will not work in the way that the government says it will, it is reasonable to ask is there another agenda.

In the previous attempt to introduce the Welfare Reform Bill Minister Porter said, “The community has a right to expect that taxpayer-funded welfare payments are not being used to fund drug and alcohol addiction.”

A similar sentiment has been expressed by Minister Ruston who said, “Taxpayers expect the government to ensure their money is being spent responsibly and that welfare recipients are using it to put food on the table, send the kids to school and pay the bills rather than on drugs.”

These views imply that all those on income support are illicit drug users and not making responsible decisions. In fact, an increase in Newstart will alleviate many from poverty, particularly single parents.

This Government has consistently and repeatedly tried to cut and restrict income support payments. The St Vincent de Paul Society, along with other welfare and health peak organisations have consistently opposed those cuts. This so-called trial is simply another attempt to restrict payments, whilst harassing the people who need them.

It also appears to be part of a wider agenda to blame people receiving income support for not being able to find work. This puts the blame for unemployment on those who are the victims of a system that is not currently producing enough paid jobs for everyone. Rather than blaming unemployed people, governments need to be working with the community and the unemployed to create more paid work and more real pathways to employment.