Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has been tasked by the Abbott government to take a hatchet to the welfare system. Although it's early days, the review has recommended that only people with a permanent disability and zero capacity to work, will be eligible for the Disability Support Pension. And what the recipient spends his/her money on, will be monitored by the government.
For those with a disability who are deemed fit to work now, or in the future, they will go on the working age payment "to better reflect different work capacities."
Mr Andrews said at this stage, the government did not yet have a definition of what "permanent" disability would be.
The proposal wants to cut the welfare system from 75 payments and supplements down to just four categories.
- a tiered working age payment
- family payment
- disability payment
- aged pension
Australia's welfare bill for 2012/13 was $110 billion and Tony Abbott's government is taking no prisoners. Yes we know there are people who rort the system and something needed to be done but it's the same old story of a few bad apples spoiling it for the genuine cases. Vulnerable disabled people, unable to help themselves, will be really, really hurt if these measures go ahead.
How a country dishes out its welfare is an indication of how compassionate that country is, and these proposals speak volumes about Australia's new attitude to those finding it hard to cope with life.
Come on Kevin Andrews, you're a Catholic, show us what you're made of.