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Stop Cuts to Sole Parent Payments!

ACOSS and NCSMC launch new campaign: Have a Heart

August 23, 2013 - ACOSS and National Council of Single Mothers and their Children today launched the Have a Heart: Say No to Child Poverty campaign.

The campaign was launched during the release of Read statement.

Download report: 'Back to basics: Simplifying Australia's family payments system to reduce poverty and support families'.

Single parent rallies to overturn devastating payment cuts!

April 15, 2013 - Single parents rallied across Australia on the weekend to bring attention to the cuts in payments of over 80,000 single parent families. The rallies were organised by the Single Parents Action Group and ACOSS national member the , who have been leading the fight against the devastating cuts. 

UN asks Australian Government to explain violation of single parents rights

March 4, 2013 - ACOSS today called on the Australian Government to detail its response to a United Nations request for it to explain the decision to cut the payments of over 80,000 single parent families.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice has written to the Australian Government about the slashing of about $100 a week from the payments of single parents, which took effect on 1 January.

The letter is in response to an urgent complaint that ACOSS and other welfare groups and human rights experts made last year to the UN Special Rapporteur, following the Federal Government's refusal to follow the recommendation of its own Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights to delay the cuts.

Read ACOSS Statement 

The UN Special Rapporteur's letter to the Australian Government dated 19 October 2013: 

Letter from ACOSS and other groups to the UN Special Rapporteur dated October 5, 2012

For a real new start, stop miring people in poverty

By Cassandra Goldie Published in the SMH on Saturday January 5, 2013

While many of us celebrate the festive season, spare a thought for the thousands of single-parent families who have been served a cruel blow at what is supposed to be a happy time of year.

The federal government's decision to move all single parents off parenting payments when their youngest child turns eight has meant about 84,000 of Australia's poorest families saw their benefits cut by as much as $110 a week from January 1. Read Opinion Article 

No happy New Year for people hit by benefit changes

January 1, 2013 - For many, 2013 will not be a happy New Year. A large number of people will be much worse off following changes to Centrelink benefits coming into effect today (January 1).

The Australian Council of Social Service and National Welfare Rights Network say changes to the Parenting Payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy and other benefits will have the greatest impact on people trying to survive on low-incomes.

"The changes impact more than 80,000 people," said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie. "This includes 60,000 single parent families receiving Parenting Payment. Read Media Release.

Single parents and their children suffer as Senate passes cuts

October 9, 2012 - Leading welfare voices came together in Canberra on Tuesday to protest against the Federal Government's decision to press ahead with damaging cuts to the payments of more than 100,000 single parents in defiance of two separate Committee recommendations.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, "This is not the right way to achieve a Budget surplus, on the back of sole parents and their children. It's cruel and unfair, especially for the children that will be severely affected!"

Regrettably the legislation passed in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon (October 9, 2012)

No Budget surplus on the back of single parents and their children!


In the May 2012 Budget, the Federal Government announced that it planned to save $700 million by forcing well over 100 000 more single parents (over 90% are women) off the Parenting Payment onto the Newstart Allowance, which is now so low it is unbearable to live on. 

There is a Parliamentary Inquiry right now investigating the adequacy of this payment, which hasn't been increased in real terms in almost 20 years.

The Bill to force more single parents onto the low Newstart payment has been dealt with by two parliamentary committees. Both these committees, with majority government members, expressed serious concern about their cut in income, which could be up to $60 per week, or even more than $100, depending on your circumstances.

Both committees recommended that the Bill be delayed until the completion of the Newstart Inquiry towards the end of this year. But now the government has decided to bring the legislation forward in the Senate next week.

This is simply unacceptable and we continue to urge a Government rethink on this damaging policy.

What can you do? 

Write to and/or ring the Prime Minister's office here >> 


This petition is organised by the National Council for Single Mothers and their Childrenhttp://www.gopetition.com/petitions/parenting-payment-for-families-not-the-dole.html

NCMSC wants to hear from single mothers who will be impacted by the recent legislation (fair work incentive) which will force them onto Newstart when their youngest child turns 8 from Jan 2013. Tell your story to our national hotline about how your family will be affected by the changes and NCSMC will make sure your voice is heard.

The Campaign will be ongoing. Hotline 1800 760 237 or email us ncsmc@ncsmc.org.au Name is confidential.

3. Spread the word! Please send this out through your networks and social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.). 

Welfare groups and human rights lawyers appeal to UN

October 5, 2012 - Leading Australian community welfare groups and human rights experts sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights to prevent the Commonwealth Government from pressing ahead with damaging cuts to the parenting payments of over 100, 000 single parents and their children.

See Media Release 

See letter to United Nations Special Rapporteur Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmon 

Parliamentary Inquiries ignored!

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights found that:

• If Newstart combined with other benefits is not sufficient to provide an adequate standard of living for affected individuals, the measures risk being a violation of human rights under article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.

• The Committee was not yet convinced that the affected single parents would be able to maintain access to appropriate levels of social security support if placed onto Newstart.

• As a result, it would be premature for the government to introduce these measures prior to the completion of the Newstart Inquiry.

• It recommended that the Bill be delayed.

This is an historic finding in Australia, which recognises the human right to social security and an adequate standard of living. It was also the Human Rights Committee's first ever recommendation.

Yet, as soon as the Human Rights Committee tabled its report, the Prime Minister rejected its recommendations. The Bill to cut these payments has now passed the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Senate Inquiry tables report into cuts to single parent payments

An earlier Inquiry by the Senate Standing Committees on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - Social Security Legislation Amendment (Fair Incentives to Work) Bill 2012 also recommended a delay in the plan until the end of the Inquiry into the adequacy of income support payments is complete in late November 2012.

See ACOSS Submission: Sole parents won’t be helped to find employment by cutting their payments 

Find out more about the Inquiry, including submissions, and final report here >>

If you have any questions or suggestions please contact fernando@acoss.org.au or call 02 9310 6209. 


Letter to Joint Committee on Human Rights >> 

New ACOSS Factsheet: Impacts on single parent families >> 

See ACOSS joint letter to Federal Parliamentarians >> 

Media Releases >> 

National Council of Single Mothers and their Children 

Single Mum Australia 



January 2013

Labor MPs push for increase in dole payments - Australian Financial Review, Jan 2013 

Dole boost gaining traction in Government ranks (radio) - Alexandra Kirk, ABC Radio National AM, Jan 9, 2013

Katter call to increase welfare for mothers - Patricia Karvelas, Pia Akerman, The Australian, Jan 7, 2013

Could PM do it? That's the $35-a-day question - David Barbeler, Patrick Caruana, National Times, Jan 6, 2013

For a real new start, stop miring people in poverty - Cassandra Goldie, National Times, Jan 5, 2013

PM hasn't spoken to Macklin about Newstart - AAP, The Daily Telegraph, Jan 5, 2013

Coalition puts increase in Newstart allowance on the table - Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, Jan 5, 2013

Greens claim $2b will fix Newstart poverty - Bianca Hall, Border-Mail, Jan 5, 2013

Top MPs dodge flak on benefits - Bianca Hall, National Times,  Jan 4, 2013

How the poor are shunted into deeper poverty just for political capital - John Passant, National Times, Jan 4, 2013

Plan to boost singles' dole payments by $50 a week under consideration by Gillard Government - Sue Dunleavy, Daily Telegraph, Jan 4, 2013

Newstart far from a temporary payment - Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, Jan 4, 2013

Charities prepare for surge in those seeking help - ABC News, Jan 4, 2013

Labor MPs agree it's tough to live on dole but dodge claims made by Jenny Macklin - AAP, Perth Now, Jan 3, 2013

Swan rejects call to raise single parent payment - ABC News, Jan 3, 2013

Dole anger (video) - A Current Affair, Channel Nine, Jan 2, 2013

Not easy living on Newstart: Plibersek - Milanda Rout and Patricia Karvelas, Jan 3, 2013

Families Minister Jenny Macklin 'wants reform of dole' - Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, Jan 3, 2013

Macklin challenged to live on dole for a week - ABC News, Jan 3, 2013

A fine line: 'Living on the dole is no easy ride' - Vince Chadwick, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 3, 2013

ACOSS calls on Macklin to 'please do your job' - Bianca Hall, National Times, Jan 3, 2013

Weekly struggle to survive on payments - Leesha McKenny, Sydney Morning Herald,  Jan 3, 2013

Bandt issues Newstart challenge (video) - The Project, Jan 2, 2013

Macklin's dole declaration (video) - Clare Brady, Today Tonight, Jan 2, 2013

Welfare to work (video) - ABC 7.30 Report, Jan 2, 2013

Live off Newstart, Greens tell Macklin - Sky News, Jan 2, 2013

Mums angered by Macklin dole comments - Rashida Yosufzai and Genevieve Gannon, AAP, The Age, Jan 2, 2013

Changes to Newstart allowance (radio) - ABC Radio Breakfast, Jan 2, 2013

Macklin, make the most of your moolah with some hints from the margins - Brigid Delaney, National Times, Jan 2

I could live on the dole, Macklin declares - Milanda Rout and Pia Akerman, The Australian, Jan 2, 2013

Minister riles welfare groups - Dan Harrison, The Age, Jan 2, 2013

The great vanishing act: Macklin's dole comment disappears - Dan Harrison, National Times, Jan 2, 2013

Macklin dole gaffe edit 'a mistake' - Sue Dunlevy, News Ltd, Jan 2, 2013

I could live on the dole, says Families Minister Jenny Macklin - AAP, adelaidenow, Jan 1, 2013

Find a job, Jenny Macklin tells single parents whose benefits are being slashed - Pia Akerman and Milanda Rout, The Australian, Jan 1, 2013

Single mums (video) - A Current Affair, Jan 1, 2013

Welfare, industrial changes start in Jan - Paul Osbourne, AAP, The Age, Jan 1, 2013

Single parents fear payment cuts will force evictions - Annika Smethurst, Sunday Herald Sun, Jan 1, 2013 


(November/December clips have not been updated)


October 2012

What life looks like for 2.2 million Australians below the poverty line - Chris Paine news.com.au Herald Sun October 18, 2012

One in six Australian childen 'living in poverty' - Bangkok Post October 17, 2012

Advancing human rights in Australia - Frank Brennan Eureka Street October 16, 2012

Think the dole is generous? I did, until I tried living on it - Rebekah Devlin The Punch October 18, 2012
Thousands go hungry - Radio National Drive October 16, 2012 LISTEN>>

1 in 6 Australian kids live in poverty: report - AFP, The China Post October 16, 2012

Parents missing meals to feed their children - Patricia Karvelas The Australian October 16, 2012

Anglicare says thousands going hungry - Miriam Hall The World Today abc.net.au October 16, 2012 WATCH >>

Aussie school children left hungry: report - AAP World News October 16, 2012

Income divide widens for rich and poor - Patricia Karvelas The Australian October 17, 2012

One in six Australian childen 'living in poverty' - AFP Google News October 16, 2012

Growing number of children hungry due to poverty - AAP Daily Telegraph October 16, 2012

Sole Parents Deserve Better - Eva Cox New Matilda October 11, 2012

A blow to single parents, on the eve of Anti-Poverty Week - Ged Kearney The Punch October 15, 2012

One in eight living in poverty - ABC Radio National Breakfast October 15, 2012 LISTEN>>

One in six children living in poverty - Jared Owens The Australian October 15, 2012

14 per cent of Tasmanians live in poverty - Dinah Arndt Launceston Examiner October 14, 2012

No special deals for single mums - Patricia Karvelas The Australian October 13, 2012

Julia Gillard fights off welfare revolt - Patricia Karvelas The Australian October 10, 2012

Parent welfare cuts pass parliament - Lisa Martin and Andrea Hayward AAP The Herald Sun October 9, 2012

Parents show unity for a single cause - The Australian Financial Review October 10, 2012

How some children miss out from the start: will telling their stories help make a difference? Melissa Sweet Croakey October 9, 2012

Welfare cuts worry Labor backbenchers - Lisa Martin AAP Adelaidenow October 8, 2012

UN appeal for sole parents - Northern Star October 8, 2012

MPs up in arms over wheat and welfare - Philip Coorey SMH October 9, 2012

Parties to come out (in)fighting as Parliament resumes - Ross Peake Canberra Times October 9, 2012

Could cutting sole parent payments cost Australia UN votes? - Eva Cox Crikey October 8, 2012

Backbenchers bid to halt 'crazy' welfare reforms - ABC Lateline October 8, 2012 WATCH>>

Call to rethink cuts to single parent payments - ABC PM October 8, 2012 LISTEN>>

Single mums to rally over payment cuts - AAP Oct 5, 2012

Claymore residents defend their suburb following Four Corners report - Dennis Clough Macarthur Chronicle October 2, 2012

See original Four Corners program here>>

Alleviating homelessness - Dr Cassandra Goldie St James Ethics Centre October 1, 2012


September 2012

Growing Up Poor - Sarah Ferguson ABC 4 Corners Program Monday Sept 24, 2012

Single-mother cuts to hit hardest in PM's seat - Patricia Karvelas The Australian September 22, 2012

Parent welfare delay urged - Dan Harrison The Age September 20, 2012

Budget hole looms as MPs want dole for single mums delayed - Patricia Karvelas The Australian Sept 21, 2012

Welfare agencies urge parliament to delay or reconsider plan for sole parent payments - AM, ABC Radio Sept 21, 2012


August 2012

Push to delay cut in parent payment - Dan Harrison SMH August 24, 2012 

Bill Shorten holds the line on parenting payments - Patricia Karvelas The Australian August 24, 2012

Hold off on parent pay cuts: committee - AAP The Courier Mail August 23, 2012

Labor MPs urge delay of Gillard's single parent pension bill - Patricia Karvelas The Australian August 23, 2012


July 2012

Child support formula baffles 90% of parents - study - Adele Horin SMH July 23, 2012

Single parents dole policy to hurt children, ACOSS warns - Patricia Karvelas The Australian July 20, 2012

Single parents deserve support, not scapegoating - Emma Davidson The Drum July 16, 2012 - Equality Rights Alliance is managed by YWCA Australia 

Cash to help kids see other parent - Patricia Karvelas The Australian July 4, 2012

Greens call for rethink on Newstart - Patricia Karvelas The Australian July 03, 2012 

Sole parents marooned on dole - Patricia Karvelas The Australian July 3, 2012 


June 2012

Cuts to single mums breaches human rights - Julia Holamn, Hack Triple J, June 21, 2012

Watchdog to test cuts to single pensions - Patricia Karvelas The Australian June 21, 2012

Parenting payment cuts to be investigated - AAP June 20, 2012

Gillard asked to let inquiry assess bill's legality - Patricia Karvelas The Australian June 16, 2012 

PM to parents: I feel your pain - Patricia Karvelas The Australian June 08, 2012 

Labor MPs take up cause of single parents - Patricia Karvelas The Australian June 07, 2012  

Labor MPs fume over budget's penalising of working single mums - Patricia Karvelas The Australian June 05, 2012 

Budget crackdown will penalise single working mums - Patricia Karvelas The Australian June 02, 201


May 2012

Groups say no to single mum welfare cut - Lisa Martin AAP Daily Telegraph May 31 2012 

ACOSS leads call to MPs and senators to stop pension cut - Patricia Karvelas The Australian May 31, 2012 

Greens call for welfare inquiry - Lisa Martin AAP SMH May 31, 2012 

MPs protest over payments - Fleur Anderson AFR May 30, 2012 

Sole parents 'demonised' in jobs plan - Dan Harrison The Age May 30, 2012 

‘New start needed for broken welfare system' - Patricia Karvelas The Australian May 24, 2012 

Jobless need help and motivation - Alan Mitchell AFR May 23, 2012 

Report finds hungry kids as parents struggle - Laetitia Lemke ABC TV News May 10, 2012 

Parents to go 'from welfare to poverty' - Patricia Karvelas The Australian May 11, 2012 

Council tries to stop cuts to 100,000 sole parents -Peter Martin SMH The Age May 7, 2012 

ACOSS wants PM to increase payments - AAP Ninemsn Mon May 7 2012 

Welfare bodies hit bite on benefits - Dan Harrison The Age May 5, 2012