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Christine Milne

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An Australian Senator and leader of the parliamentary caucus of the Australian Greens.
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Senate inquiry shows Centrelink recipients feel bullied and threatened by the Government
The last two days of evidence to the senate inquiry into Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system has raised a myriad of issues and suggests recipients feel bullied by the Government who are pursuing a debt that people may not owe. “Many people are being affected including pensioners, single parents, students, carers and jobseekers. Lots of these people are effectively putting their lives on hold to prove their innocence”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. “It is clear from evidence provided that some people expect the Government to get things right, so start to pay their debt, which in fact they may not owe. “At this stage we don't know how many people have paid or started to pay a debt they either do not owe or an incorrect debt. “The Department of Human Services in the main continue to defend the automated debt recovery process despite the problems being exposed.“Legal aid and community legal centre lawyers have today seriously questioned the leg

Greens: Coalition’s plan for housing is no plan at all
The Greens say the Coalition’s plan for housing affordability, announced today by Treasurer Scott Morrison, is no plan at all.   Greens spokesperson for housing Senator Lee Rhiannon said, “We still don’t know what the Turnbull government’s plan to fix housing affordability actually is.    “The Coalition’s housing strategy is an ongoing exercise in blame-shifting and excuses.   “Since the Liberal-Nationals came into government they have stood by as house prices climbed 58% in Sydney, and they have watched on as thousands of young people gave up hope of ever owning a home.    “Today the Turnbull government confirmed it will continue to allow tax concessions to supercharge the housing market, and called it a plan.   “We need to phase out negative gearing and the CGT discount, invest billions in public and community housing and swap stamp duty for a broad-based land tax,” Senator Rhiannon said.  Media ReleaseHousing

Ombudsman report shows huge flaws remain with automated debt recovery system
The report released today by the Commonwealth Ombudsman shows that the automated debt recovery system is still severely flawed and is hurting people accessing the social safety net. “Although carefully worded, the Ombudsman report released today into the system shows that there are still a lot of flaws in the automated debt recovery system despite the Government tinkering around the edges to make things better”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. “The Centrelink automated debt recovery system is continuing to use income details from the ATO and average it out across a period regardless of if a recipient has an intermittent and fluctuating income. This is despite evidence to the senate inquiry and Commonwealth Ombudsman showing that this is hugely problematic and resulting in incorrect debt notices. “Averaging out incomes across a certain period is fundamentally flawed and has resulted in thousands of incorrect debt notices that recipients have to navigate. Why

Backbench fighting to keep Work for the Dole shows politicians not thinking of outcomes for the unemployed: Greens
News today that Coalition backbenchers are lobbying to keep Work for the Dole in the upcoming budget because it is ‘red meat for the base’ shows that Liberal politicians are more worried about their own jobs than helping jobseekers find meaningful employment, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today. “Work for the dole is a largely failed measure that forces struggling job seekers to complete often meaningless tasks as part of mutual obligations requirements just to receive support. People struggling to get into work have to complete mundane tasks that overwhelmingly do not move them into long term meaningful employment. “Fighting to keep Work for the Dole purely to appease the conservative base when it is a failed measure shows a worrying pattern where Liberal backbenchers are not considering the real needs of their constituents.  “In the lead up to the budget, coalition backbenchers should lobby for the best results for their communities and those doing it tough

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