Take contraception if you want to receive welfare 465



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Controversial former politician and writer Gary Johns proposed last year that Australians on welfare should not be encouraged to have children.  His stance caused much furore and this weekend, just days after our nation has delivered a challenging Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) he has tempted people to reconsider it.  Today we want to know what you think of the call to tie people who receive welfare as their primary income to the obligation to contraception.  Fair or unfair?

“If a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.”

According to Johns, data shows that people who have children on welfare are likelier to do so if they have come from a family on welfare.  His latest release on the 18th December says that as many as 60,000 children are born each year to women who are on a benefit.  Johns has written a book with the furore he created, launching it this year, called No Contraception No Dole.  

He says, “When someone chooses to take a benefit, it is reasonable for taxpayers to place conditions on the benefit. The condition lasts only so long as the person is on the benefit. If someone is on an unemployment benefit they should be searching for work, not starting a family. If someone is on a study benefit, they should be studying, not starting a family. If someone is on a parenting payment they should be bringing up their family, not adding to it.”

Seems reasonable, but his position on the subject stirred up a lot of debate 12 months ago with Christians arguing that the sanctity of life could be compromised.

Some on social media called him “repugnant”, and others questioned his motives.  But today we have to ask if the very concept of taxpayers footing the bill for welfare for some to support having more children is offensive?  I’m not sure there is a current standing politician on any continent that would risk their career by proposing it while in power, but Mr Johns has sure used his former-politician stance to make a loud and echoing noise on the subject.

In fact, his new book has actively sought out case studies of mothers who have given birth to children while on welfare and how it turns out for the children and for society.  His original piece was inspired by the horrific murder last year of seven children by their mother in Cairns.  It was later found to that the children had four different fathers among them.

The second story Mr John’s references in The Australian is that of a mother and two fathers were fighting a state government department in court over the long-term guardianship of four children. “The mother had six children to the two fathers. The mother is on a disability pension and is in supported accommodation. All six children are in care.”

Mr Johns concludes that Australians “need to intervene in a more deliberate and immediate way to place women on a benefit into the situation they would otherwise be in if they were in a relationship and had a job and were planning for a family”.


It is certainly a subject worth discussing.  Do you agree with Mr Johns… No contraception no dole?  Or do you have an opinion on the matter to share today?



Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Another politician sitting in somebody’s bedroom?

    1 REPLY
    • Utter nonsense.Do you want welfare recipients to breed like rabbits and add to the “welfare” burden??

      1 REPLY
      • I agree. I don’t want to pay for professional welfare recipients to breed more professional welfare recipients and continually raise society’s moron quotient. No work, no kids, no welfare!!!!

  2. I agree which what he said there are always exceptions but why should taxpayers always pay for people who keep having children and no income then cry poverty

  3. Half the population wouldn’t be here If you do that, leave the single mums alone they have been getting picked on since they bought in the single parent pension, pick on the other half of the problem for a change, most of them are on their own because the father won’t face his responsibilities

    9 REPLY
    • In that case the single mothers should be on some form of contraception. Half of them don’t want to work, and what better way than to get yourself pregnant and get welfare payments to boot.

    • Helen, how many single mums do you know? Or are your friends the exception to that ‘rule’?

    • I have a single mother next door to me, two children, doesn’t work and can’t even pull a weed out of her rental property. She is an able bodied woman who could work IF she wants to. She is of an ethnic background …… hey, Australia is a great place to bludge !!!

    • What a sexist but common statement. Many single mums are on their own out of choice. They prefer not to have the father in the picture and the fathers are treated as though they are bad people when many of them would love to be part of their childrens’ lives. Some of these women have a string of kids by different dads. It has become a great cottage industry.

    • I can see all the single mother bashers coming out of the wood work to knock them, hey guess what, it takes 2 to get pregnant, unfortunately it’s the female who carries the burden once the seed is sown, but no one knocks the male half of the equations

  4. How do they plan to ensure that men do not father children and then abandon them and their mothers?

    9 REPLY
    • I think there are old habits & expectations. The government will pay for their babies. But the sad thing is once the cheques stop coming after the kids turn a certain age, they ‘throw’ them on the streets. But I am not generalizing, it seems the mental ill, drug addictive & a certain people who know how to play the welfare payment ‘game’! How do you reach & teach these women & girls & males?

    • Yvonne Patterson thete are many ways to squirm . out of child support like under declaring income – much like tax avoidance, unfortunately

    • When on centrelink benefits child support is as little as $10.00 a month. Support a child on that if you can.

    • I agree with Ellie – have any of you ever had to support several small children with no income when your husband leaves with someone, pays minimal child support when he feels like it and it is impossible to find work which will still enable you to look after your very little kids. This happened to a family member and no help was coming from the father’s family at all. Welfare is embarrassing when you have never had to use it before and barely provides enough for food and rent. And let’s not forget that the aged pension is welfare. It saddens me the high road that some people take when they are not in that situation – where is the kindness?

      2 REPLY
      • That is true but they should not then go and have more children. As for the men, compulsory paternity testing and stopping the Dole for a period unless they can show that they are actively looking for work in order to support the child/ren.?

      • The proposal is about having more children once you are already on welfare. The case you are talking about is quite different, where the mother had the children already, before her husband left and led to her getting welfare. However, do you really think that mother is in a position to be planning to have more children now, when she is not in a relationship? Many women do this.

  5. they are stooping very low instead of raking in billions in taxes from the businesses who don’t pay. Gutless bastards just keep picking on the pensioners and aged pensioners.

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  6. Go read the church reading go forth and multiply start at THE beginning of all brilliant idea s big companies are ripping the system remember vesties pommy cattle station owner’s hmmmm but I agree that if you can’t support don’t have my marriage WAS based on TWO children we divorce as she wanted more I couldn’t support more end of story hmmmm

  7. People like Mr. johns disgust me, who is he to judge? 👎

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    • Couldn’t agree more, Denise. Especially as he’s probably on a taxpayer funded pension 10 times higher than the people he’s sneering at.

  8. I see a lot of merit in what he says. There are mothers out there, not married, who just keep having children so they can get benefits. They have no intention of looking for work.

    5 REPLY
    • This won’t be restricted to single mothers. It might include young couples who had a job until Abbott sacked the 16, 000 people

    • Since when does raising children not count as work. If there is only one parent, that is all the more reason that they should be supported to be at home.

      1 REPLY
      • So you would agree that a single mother on welfare should actively seek to have more children? Many do. I don’t agree with supporting more children under these circumstances at all. Yet I see quite a lot of it, working in a secondary school. Both among the mothers of the high school children, and also among many high school aged girls who see leaving school quite young, with no qualifications, to have several babies on single parent’s benefits as a lifestyle to aspire to.

    • Sue Todd on reflection, you could be quite right with what you have said. I think they would be pretty stupid to think about bringing a child into the world, though, if they cannot afford it. The only reason I had children was because we could afford it. If we had not been able to afford it, then I would have waited until things were better.

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