10 July 2019

Responding to Scott Morrison’s claim that Newstart is “one of the best safety nets, if not the best, of anywhere in the world”, Peter Whiteford crunches the numbers. Unsurprisingly, he reaches a very different conclusion: “What these figures show is that we need action rather than a review of Newstart. Using the same measures of adequacy used by the Pension Review Taskforce a decade ago, the case is overwhelming. … Newstart recipients are falling into deepening poverty. The gap between Newstart and pensions, between Newstart and wages, and between Newstart and the costs of maintaining a minimum standard of living are continuing to widen. And the picture is even worse once we take account of housing benefits. For many unemployed people, Australia not only doesn’t have one of the best safety nets in the world, it has one of the worst.”