Work not welfare, says Abbott 506



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Working people shouldn’t earn less than those on welfare says the Prime Minister, and it seems he is prepared to make sure that happens. 

Speculation about plans to review the welfare system arose yesterday when Treasurer Joe Hockey told the Sunday Herald Sun he felt the need to include comparisons of the disposable incomes, tax contributions and welfare bills between people on welfare and those working full-time.

He said the figures were included in the budget papers not to build resentment, but to help voters understand where their tax was going.

Mr Hockey told the ABC Insiders program, “I think this is normal accountability because ultimately, as the tax man, I’m taking money off people for their work and handing it to someone else. I should explain to those people where their taxes are going.”

The tables in the Budget showed that a single parent with two children under six and earning $30,000 received $38,838 in government assistance and paid $2,534 income tax, leaving them with a disposable income of $66,304.

Meanwhile, a single person earning $80,000 paid $19,147 income tax and received no welfare payments, therefore only had a disposable income of $60,853, which is almost $6000 less than the person above.

Mr Abbott said in the Australian Financial Review there need to be built-in incentives in the tax system to ensure people keep more of what they earn, rather than bing penalised for moving from welfare to work or for earning more.

“We want to see a system where if you earn an extra dollar you get to keep a reasonable percentage of your earnings,” he said in The Australian.

So with the ink on the Budget papers barely dry, it looks like the Coalition may be set to massively overhaul Australia’s welfare system. This amid criticism about tightening the asset test for the pension and preventing working mums from “double dipping” paid parental leave.

According to the The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) report, 18.6 per cent of Australians aged 18 to 64 receive weekly welfare payments, down from 23 per cent of people in 2001.

Associate Professor Roger Wilkins, the report’s editor said on the ABC, “For about two decades now the overall extent of welfare reliance has actually been declining, ever so slowly, but nonetheless the direction has been in the right direction.”

Do you welcome a review to the welfare system? Or do you think this is another case of Tony Abbott “going after the poor”?

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  1. Yes of course, thats why so many people are still on welfare and refusing to work,and before everyone jumps up and down and starts calling me names, many times on tv ,people have said its better to stay on welfare because its more than they can earn, and yes as an aged pensioner i know how little everyone gets, but according to yesterdays sunday mail ,for example a single mother on a single mothers pension ,is allowed to earn a certain amount, keep her whole pension, added together this is a decent income, but she then pays less tax than someone who works full time to earn the same amount and that makes the single mother on welfare better off, this is not fair. If you work your huts out ,then you shouldnt be worse off at the end of the day than someone on welfare that your taxes are supporting. Good for mr abott for understanding this.

    6 REPLY
    • Rubbish the single Mum I know does not get enough to rent a house! This government lies too much! If it were the case no one would work.

    • The single mother I know had her flat provided by her father and enough money to become an alcoholic. The child went to live with grandparents and uncle while the mother maintains the status of single mother for welfare purposes.

    • Yes, I agree. However, the analogy that they use of a single person earning $80,000 a year is highly inflated. I can tell you that there aren’t very many single people….women mostly, that are earning these sort of $$$s unless you work on the mines. I know young married men with 4 kids and a wife to support that don’t earn $80,000 a year…. THAT is where the help is required.
      I was on Jobsearch at 63.5 due to redundancy and couldn’t get a job anywhere. I was either too qualified or too old. I ended up retiring when I could at 65. I wish I could go back to work still, but there isn’t the work out there, and THAT also is where help is required.
      I think Mr Abbott has the right idea though.

  2. The problem with wages vs welfare, is a boss won’t pay you more because you have X number of kids. A person working should get more than someone on welfare but there are costs in going to work too that can make welfare more attractive financially. Clothing of better quality or type, fares, or parking and petrol, child care. I don’t believe however the Government should use this as an excuse to cut welfare. How about the tax system recognise the costs to workers of going to work. It is not just tradies or the self employed that incur costs to derive a living.

    4 REPLY
    • I’ve been say that same things for a number of decades now Barbara. Even if the every day employee was able to claim 50% of costs to go to work would help the very day family.

    • Yes I had a friend who started a job as a receptionist, the boss demanded she wear fashionable clothes styles that were expensive to purchase and although my friend would own one or two outfits maybe of this type prior to the job she had to acquire about five with accessories to make the five seem more, as these extra clothes were not a uniform there was no tax deduction. There has been pressure from the government for people to travel to areas of employment but no mention of how they meet the costs of doing so.

    • How about the cost to the business. Everything is blowing out of preportion here. Wages go up products go up commodities go up costs go up. Its stupid.

    • Yes Dianne I don’t think realistically wages can go higher, the fix needs to come from the tax system. Welfare payments maybe should be taxed if they are not the only income as in the example given and ALL workers expenses need to be considered for deductibility

  3. I agree with this – but wish he’d deal with the top end of the pile, a lot more rorts going on there – and a lot more cash not being taxed

    2 REPLY
    • Absolutely true Lee,stop pointing the finger at all “single Mothers”, in may cases this is not their choice, many are struggling, even if they find work it has to be a certain number of hours per week, if not you must find an additional job, even if you are only 2 hours short !!! two hours???? or study, or do charity work?Could someone tell me where you can find a job for 2 hours a week???

    • Exactly Lee. I agree with you. Everything seems to be aimed AT and not FOR the low to middle income WORKERS (yes in caps). These people are our ordinary people struggling to make ends meet and in most cases not. They earn low wages and because of raising a family, some of the women haven’t worked for a number of years…. now they can’t get into the workforce to help out (school hours) because they don’t have recent experience. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
      More should be aimed at the high income earners (collectively). They appear to get all the perks.
      I am an aged pensioner by the way…. and I worked and raised 3 kids, mostly as a single parent….. without any gov’t help.

  4. I would be very surprised if these figures turn out to be accurate, pensioners do not get that much an it not how I perceive it that will count, it is how these young women getting these benefits will. They all vote and yes I think it is just another attack on the poor, the children will be the ones who suffer. Where all all these jobs they want everyone, young and old to get? We have the highest unemployment for years. This is all class warfare

    2 REPLY
    • I’m not sure of the exact figures but I would think that those quoted are not far off the mark for a low income family with 3 or 4 children under 6. And it is clear that there are families who space their children to stretch out the eligibility period, which also creates a problem with workforce re entry… for many it’s a case of low basic education, little if any work experience prior to pregnancy, potentially 15…20 years of child rearing, then having to look for work. It’s very, very complicated.

    • I think the whole is very sad Wendy, these women got paid to have these babies it $6000 at one stage and now what are they going to say..tough tits they are your problem? I can remember Hockey saying have one for mum and one for dad and one for Australia and that was not so long ago

  5. it has been that way for a long as i can remember u get more to sit home than to go to work it used to make me so mad as i didnt earn much in the job i did the other thing that makes me mad are the people that are working but collect benifits some of them are on very high wages so go pick on them and leave the poor old aged pensioners alone lots have worked hard all their lives paid there taxes

    25 REPLY
    • Newstart for over 60 with no dependants is a joke you can’t even rent a decent house for that never mind eat use electricity buy medication. Etc. yes for sight when we’re young and self employed would have been great and we would have a great wad of super to fall back on.

    • Anne Ibson I am sorry you are not very knowledgeable but you can live and learn..the Unemployed must have the internet to lodge their forms and to look for jobs on line..they also must have a mobile phone, that is how these employment agencies contact them

    • Well Anne Ibbeson how dare they have the Internet!

      1 REPLY
      • Been down that road when I filled out their forms “I have no mobile or internet and e-mail” only to be told “how are we supposed to contact you”. It seems to me that every one has to have a mobile and internet to exist these days or you are uncontactable.

    • My partner has a job but they are cutting his shifts so I went to Centrelink to see if we can get some help. Granted he is bringing home about $650 but in two weeks time we will feel the pinch when he starts his 1-1/2 days p/wk as they cut him first from 5 days to 4 days now to 1-1/2 days. he has a second job for 1 day p/k but we cannot survive on 2-1/2 days as our rent alone is $370 p/wk. So Centrelink gave me a princely sum of $2.70 A FORTNIGHT. I am not sure if I should laugh or cry to be honest. More of an insult, this is the NEWSTART
      So I would love to know HOW they are earning more than workers and I will apply. I have worked hard ALL my life, paid my taxes as I used to work very long hours. But we moved out of Sydney & my super has nearly run out now so I have to find wrk, but nearly 62 they are not interested.

      1 REPLY
      • Yes Kay… I know how you feel. I was on NewStart from 63.5 due to redundacy…. I applied for so many jobs every day. I was either too old or too over qualified. If you’ve done Admin all your life, they apparently consider you over qualified to stack shelves or stand on the till at Coles or Woolies. IF you get an interview for an office job, the minute the HR 24yo sees you, you can see it on their face… too old. Sad when we are the ones that they need to teach the young ones. My savings went and some of my Super trying to exist in the 20 months before I could retire. Not much better now, but it IS better than Newstart!!

    • Many have children living and working overseas. I know some pensioners whose children actually pay for their internet so they can keep in touch!

    • True Margaret, it’s the only way many pensioners can get in touch. They simply can’t afford the internet.
      But I think Abbott is talking about dole bludgers, young people and families producing more kids every few years sitting at home and not bothering to look for work, any work, living of the fat of the hard working taxpayers and believe it’s their right.

    • I don’t think he is talking about aged pensioners. I think he is going for welfare cheats and it’s about time the govt had the guts to this. While I am on my soapbox I am sick of people wingeing about how much the politicians get paid. You can winge all about that but nothing will change

      1 REPLY
      • Our politicians and their wages plus perks are untouchable, to say nothing of their double or triple dipping. Ie, away from home allowance, but they are living in a house they or a member of their family own.

    • Leanne if your husband earns more than $1600 a month you cannot get Newstart. I tried as I was made redundant from my job when I was 63 and 6 months. Ended up living on my super which is starting to run out and I don’t turn 65 until July

    • I’ve ended up on welfare as at nearly 60 years of age my marriage broke up and we were self employed.. I don’t want welfare but $250 pw is impossible to live on. I am doing the aged care course soon . Most people in my situation don’t want to be there!

    • What is wrong here, is the lack of empathy – most of us are a couple of pay packets away from being in financial strife. Just give it a bit of thought, people.

    • leaches and grubs the lot of you – always winging about not getting enough HANDOUTS – think yourselves lucky you dont live in Russia

    • THERE ARE BARELY ANY WELFARE CHEATS. HOW MUCH EVIDENCE NEEDS TO BE SHOVED DOWN YOUR THROATS BEFORE YOU REALISE THIS. Job search agencies rip off the government MORE than welfare recipients… politicians rip off the government MORE than welfare recipients… I see you all have the internet, EDUCATE YOURSELVES, your opinion means nothing otherwise: is a starting point.

    • Lester, we have paid our way all our lives. I worked to 70. What you need to understand is that we brought up our children with no handouts from government, nor did we expect them. We paid off our mortgage at 17.5 percent. Now we are trying to live off our super ( which did not start until much later in our working life than now) interest is as low as 2 percent. Don’t begrudge us & others in our situation a little help. We paid taxes for many years to assist the welfare bill in our time.

      1 REPLY
      • That’s not quite true Brian. When my children were young and I didn’t work, my husband could claim me and the kids as tax deductions. It’s just a different system now where they are handing you the money instead of allowing you to earn it and pay less tax.

    • And haha Brian Marshall – you never received family tax benefit a or b? Never got any sort of tax concessions? Highly doubtful unless you were very well paid.

      Nice, too, that you were able to break into the housing market that THE MAJORITY OF GEN Y IS LOCKED OUT OF because house prices IN RELATION TO WAGES are so high. Cost of living has risen dramatically and wages have not followed. Get some perspective into ya, instead whinging ME, ME, ME.

      It’s the GOVERNMENT who failed to control the housing market. It’s the GOVERNMENT who are leaners and squandered your prosperity on $3000 bottles of wine and $15 000 book shelves and BILLION DOLLAR SUBSIDIES to (now) profitable foreign owned mining companies. Stop attacking the already eroded safety net everyone has and start asking HOW and WHY we are no longer “the lucky country”.

    • yes we as Pensioners have live d off our super now it gone we are struggling going with out lots of basic need s just to pay the Electric & other Utilities etc so PM put some cash our way ta ???

    • Leigh W.thats what happened in the eighties when Labor was in, interest rates rose to slow building. There was a building boom then. It’s the same now . A stock market crash, as in 87 may happen soon. If it does house prices might drop as unemployment rises. But you’d have to be fast to get that property cheap. As there are ppl waiting for the crash. You may even get another GFC like 7 years ago. You’d still have to be ready. It’s all relative, buying a house twenty year ago was as hard then as now. Been there and done it!

    • Yes, going to work gave me an extra $50 but then you have to pay more for clothes and shoes especially in a position where it is neccessary to be smartly dressed. It did give me self-respect though.

  6. Sure is. We can’t afford to just give money away. If you need it you should get it. However if you enjoy a good standard of living then you can’t top up on welfare.

  7. I wonder if those single parents raising children would call it “disposable income”. Where are all these jobs? Just another attack on the poor

    1 REPLY
    • leanna my kids grew up in a so called poor family /they have never been out of work / if no work in the area they moved to where there was work

  8. So Abbott, don’t blame those on welfare, look at sorting out decent wages for the working, especially those with dependants (you know, something like family tax benefits, that you are cutting in your budget!!!).

    4 REPLY
    • I so agree. Look at the l I wer end wages it is disgusting what some are trying to live on whi l st working ful l time.

    • The minimum wage needs to be looked at and increased. Inflation has risen but wages have not kept up. Australia got it wrong many years ago and had a standard of living that was unsustainable and are now paying the price.

    • I can’t believe full time workers get under $300 a week, which is what those on welfare get.

  9. Remember a work colleague daughter doing an assignment on working mum x 2 children v mum on welfare x 2 Children back in 1990’s with the same result. About time the government did something about it. Plenty of work in aged care with training paid by the government.

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