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Greens stand up for vulnerable people as the old parties keep quiet

The Australian Greens said today that the old parties are ignoring poverty in Australia and cannot continue to ignore the people in Australia who are struggling to make ends meet.

"The election campaign is now in its third week and neither Mr Abbott or Mr Rudd have the courage to commit to the strong and compassionate policies needed to reduce poverty and help jobseekers and single parents," Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"The old parties are not talking about poverty because they don't have anything to say.

"Single parents affected by January's payment cuts and the Howard Government's welfare to work regime are stuck on Newstart, a totally inadequate payment that leaves them skipping meals and going without other essentials in order to make ends meet and provide for their kids. Labor originally opposed welfare to work, but changed their tune in pursuit of a budget surplus. Tony Abbott has already signalled his intention to take a so called harder-line when it comes to important income support payments.

"More than ever, the Greens are the only ones standing up for vulnerable people.

"Our fully costed policies to help people on Newstart and single parents have been public for months. We are committed to delivering the $50 per week increase to Newstart that has been called for across the community sector.

"We are also committed to helping people into secure work, including older Australians. Our initiative offers better job services, to help people find suitable work and also provides single parents and carers with an enforceable right to ask for flexible working conditions.

"We will also provide extra support for single parents through an additional $40 per week supplement and a higher income free that allows parents on Newstart to earn the same amount as they could on parenting payment single before their income support starts to reduce.

"The old parties cannot continue ignore the people in Australia who are doing it the toughest. Only the Greens are offering the strong policies needed to stand up to help vulnerable families," Senator Siewert concluded.

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