Canberrans told me loud and clear they opposed the Abbott Government’s cuts to Newstart, following last year’s Budget.
Cuts that leave young job seekers with nothing to live on for six months.
And it wasn’t just in the ACT – people right across the country were shocked that a government wanted to do that to its young people, that it could propose such a punitive measure.
Following widespread outrage, the Abbott Government has now dropped this plan.
Instead, it now wants to leave job seekers under 25 with nothing to live on for one month.
But whether for one month or six, Labor will never support measures that abandon young people.
That’s why we opposed the legislation in the House of Representatives this week.
Australia is a nation that prides itself on social democracy and policies, principles and ideologies formed by the Enlightenment.
We are a nation that was at the vanguard of the social democratic movement throughout the world.
Australians do not want to live in a country that abandons young people who have fallen on hard times.
Yet the Government wants to cast these young job seekers aside, and cut them adrift.
At a time when youth unemployment is around double the national average and at a 10-year high, we should be supporting our youth, not abandoning them in their time of need.
And at a time when the gap between the richest and poorest in Australia is growing, we should be taking steps to address Australia's growing inequality.