Liberal MP Tim Wilson appeared on Q&A last night and when asked about the government’s Newstart allowance program said it was totally fine.
The Australian government’s welfare program has drawn much scrutiny in the lead-up to Tuesday’s federal Budget announcement.
The Labor Party has promised a review of the system should it win the next election – an announcement that came after prominent economist Chris Richardson called the system “embarrassingly inadequate”.
And while Richardson may believe Newstart’s $40-a-day payments to be a shambles, Wilson said the program, while difficult to live on, serves its purpose.
“It is very, very, difficult,” Wilson said on Monday evening.
“People who are on it are always going to want more.”
Wilson said the government’s welfare system was a social safety net more aligned with a “trampoline” than a “hammock” and that any further funds given to the program would require funds to be taken “from other people”.
His response prompted GetUp! co-founder Jeremy Heimans, who was also on the Q&A panel, to declare Wilson was right – money does have to come from cuts elsewhere – and that maybe “the $65 billion of proposed business tax cuts” would be the place to find the cash.
People were quick to criticise Victoria’s member for Goldstein, with many bringing up his time as Freedom Commissioner when he racked up $77,000 in expenses.
Last week, Liberal backbencher Julia Banks sparked outrage when she claimed she could live on $40 a day.
“All I can say is the dignity of having a job and finding work is what our policy is about,” she said.