LETTER: Changes hurt parents

MEMBER for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon defends moving single parents to the lower Newstart allowance by saying some are bludging on the system, while others are working hard. 

He says single parents should not all be treated equally (‘‘Senior MPs row over increasing Newstart’’, Herald, 11/1). What Joel doesn’t say is that a single parent of an eight-year-old who is already working hard will be penalised by losing an extra $82 per week from this move. How is this an incentive to work harder?

Also, Joel doesn’t say that a single parent on Newstart receives the princely additional sum of $20 per week per child.  So now single parents are treated less equally than single people on the dole, pushed deeper into poverty. Is this Labor’s vision of a fairer Australia with rewards for hard-working families?

The government has stopped pretending a single parent could live on Newstart and retreated to the line that getting a job is the best outcome. But as job vacancies drop, it’s harder for anyone to find a job now, and single parents face extra challenges. What extra help is being offered? Will the government publish the job outcomes for single parents?

Julia Gillard presents herself as a champion of women, but attacks the most defenceless women, many of them in this position as a result of domestic violence. Unless they reverse this decision, the federal cabinet is just out of touch, wealthy middle-class people masquerading as a Labor government. 

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