A Gympie single mother says Canberra has deliberately misled Australians on its pension changes, targeting the already disadvantaged in new austerity measures.
A Gympie single mother says Canberra has deliberately misled Australians on its pension changes, targeting the already disadvantaged in new austerity measures. Craig Warhurst

Truth is 'at a big disadvantage': Gympie victim

TRUTH has been the first casualty in Canberra's new war on single parent pensions, according to one Gympie victim.

The single mother, who asked not to be named, said the new federal policies mean single parents will now be much worse off than the government admits.

Meanwhile the Australian Council of Social Service has taken the issue to the United Nations, after federal parliament's own human rights committee reportedly urged the government to delay the changes.

The Gympie woman says government attempts to minimise public perceptions of impacts from the change have been knowingly misleading, even in communication with the pensioners themselves.

Her pre-Christmas present from Centrelink was a phone call from a Centrelink employee saying her benefit would be "changing names".

Pressed on whether this would mean less money, the Centrelink employee said there would be a reduction, which was described as a "difference" of "about $100 a fortnight."

In reality, our informant claimed, a single mother with a basic 30-hours a fortnight job paying $700 a fortnight, will now lose $300 from her benefit.

This makes it a disincentive for single parents wanting to work, not an incentive as the government claims.

"The story is much bigger than what is filtering down to everyday readers," she said.

"Another point is that 46% of single parent benefit recipients are already working."

The Gympie mother said even high income bracket people sometimes were entitled to some forms of Centrelink payment, but the Prime Minister was intent on taking from the already disadvantaged.

"Julie Gillard has found a way to take $700 million away from the very people that she keeps telling the Australian public she wants to help and protect - and most Australians have not noticed."

Gympie Times


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