Join me on the dole - Minister Bandt

Greens Acting Leader and MP for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, will try to live on the dole for a week in February and has invited Minister Jenny Macklin to join him.

"In a shocking start to the New Year, Labor has kicked almost 100,000 single parents off their benefits and onto the dole," said Mr Bandt.

"To add insult to injury, Minister Jenny Macklin believes Newstart's $35 a day is enough to live on."

"Living on the dole isn't living, it's surviving. Newstart is below the poverty line and is a barrier to people finding work."

"To show how hard it is for many people to make ends meet, I will try living on Newstart for a week in February and I invite the Minister to join me."

"On $35 a day, I don't expect there will be much left over after paying for food, rent and bills."

"Of course, as a politician who gets to go back to a well-paid job with generous entitlements, I won't fully experience what it's like to struggle from week to week on Newstart, but I want to highlight what people are going through."

"It's disgraceful that Labor kicks single parents off their benefits to raise some revenue, yet leaves millionaires' incomes untouched."

"Labor should put a 50% tax rate on millionaires and should fix the mining tax so that Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer actually pay it instead of hurting single parents."

"Government should be about looking after people and the environment, and that means standing up to big business and the wealthy to raise the revenue we need. Otherwise we're going to see more cuts like this."

"If we are serious about getting unemployed people into work, we should raise Newstart by $50/week so that people can get themselves job ready."

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert lived on Newstart for a week last year, she says: "It's obvious living on the dole means you end up living in poverty because you just can't make ends meet from week to week. The experience clearly highlighted the need to increase the payment."

Mr Bandt will attempt to live on the equivalent of Newstart from 27 January - 2 February.

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02 January 2013

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