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WA offered Federal funding for CNS but says current arrangements are ‘sufficient’

Estimates has revealed that the Federal Government is offering states & territories funding to help roll out mandatory custody notification services, but the WA Government have said WA's current services are ‘sufficient’.

“Custody notification services in New South Wales have been immensely successful. There have been no Aboriginal deaths in custody since 2000, apart from when sadly the service was not used in July this year because of a loophole in the legislation, and Aboriginal woman Ms Rebecca Maher died.

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Nearly 3500 people with disability off the DSP onto Newstart or Youth Allowance in one year

Estimates has revealed that from June 2015 to June 2016 nearly 3500 people with disability were moved off the Disability Support Pension (DSP) onto Newstart or Youth Allowance. The Department of Social Services could not reveal how many people had sought temporary incapacity or partial capacity exemption from mutual obligations because due to their disability they are unable to complete these obligations.

“Thousands of people with disability across the country are now on the lower Newstart payment or Youth Allowance”, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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DSS unable to provide data on cashless card repeatedly cited by Minister Tudge to media outlets

The Department of Social Services have said in estimates that they have not produced a report with evidence of the cashless welfare card working so far, despite the Minister Tudge repeatedly citing figures to media about the card’s alleged success.

“Repeatedly over the last few months we have seen the Minister drip feed mostly anecdotal data to media as a means of promoting the cashless welfare card trials.  We have also seen media that mentions a ‘confidential report’.

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Government's backdown on doctors' Border Force gag

The Greens have welcomed the removal of the Border Force Act gag on doctors, but have called for it to be removed from all other detention centre workers and contractors.

"This is a humiliating backdown by the Government and an admission that all departmental workers and contractors were in fact gagged by Section 42 of the Border Force Act," Australian Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale said.

"This gives the lie to the government's claim that workers and contractors are protected as whistle-blowers."

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People thrown off DSP onto Newstart struggling to meet harsh requirements

Estimates has revealed the number of people temporarily suspended for medical reason from having to meet requirements as a job seeker under JobActive has jumped from 20% to 25%.

In addition the number of people receiving suspension from mutual obligations has also increased, so the number of people with medical suspension has increased significantly.

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Amnesty International's report demands a response

Amnesty International's Island of Despair report should force members of the government and Labor Party to publicly renounce Australia's deliberately cruel offshore detention regime.

Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said the report was an indictment on successive governments. 

“This is a policy that systematically tears families apart, robs kids of any hope and deprives them of a future," Senator Di Natale said.

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Planned move would gut Pesticides Agency of organisational knowledge

With nearly three-quarters of scientists at the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) saying they are not willing to move from Canberra to Barnaby Joyce’s electorate of New England, the Greens have called on the government to ditch the plan.

“The Agriculture Minister’s proposal has been a prime example of a failure of consultation with staff, stakeholders and the community in general,” said the Australian Greens Agriculture spokesperson Senator Janet Rice.

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Leyonhjelm’s horse trading on ABCC reveals his craven opportunism

Greens spokesperson for gun control Senator Lee Rhiannon has commented on reports that Senator Leyonhjelm is seeking to pressure the Turnbull government into relaxing national gun laws, in exchange for his support of the ABCC. 
‘There should not be horse trading on these bills. It is so important that we do not let our stringent gun laws slip away by bartering over bills like this.
‘The ABCC is a piece of anti-worker legislation. It has nothing to do with cracking down on corruption, it is about union busting. 
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Highest level of complaints to Human Rights Commission is on disability discrimination

The Australian Human Rights Commission has confirmed in Senate Estimates that disability discrimination continues to be the highest level of complaints received across the board to the Commission.

“Almost two thirds of complaints received to the commission are either related to employment or goods and services. This percentage is reflected in the disability space, but the numbers are much higher than other cohorts, with no signs of decreasing. This must be urgently addressed”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

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