The Australian Greens said today that new reports on income support and inequality are highlighting the deeply flawed logic that underpins the Government's cruel budget.
"Today's Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey puts paid to Treasurer Joe Hockey's claims that there is a 'welfare mentality' in Australia and that the Government needs to cut the social security budget," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.
"The number of Australians who rely on welfare payments has fallen over the past decade, this undermines the Government's spin about a so-called crisis in our income support system.
"Inequality in Australia is increasing and we still have a significant number of people living in poverty. The Government's ideologically driven budget threatens to undo any gains that have been made in addressing these problems. Joe Hockey's attack on social security will take us backwards.
"Oxfam's report Still the Lucky Country?, released today, shows that 79% of Australians think the gap our richest and poorest has grown over the last decade. Budget measures that pick on young people, single parents, people with disabilities and aged pensioners will increase disadvantage and inequality.
"This week, the Greens will be moving for an inquiry into inequality and the impact of the cruel budget measures. It is essential that we look at this now, so we don't look back in 20 years and realise we got it wrong. This inquiry will shine a light on these budget measures and their cruelty.
"The budget needs to be subject to transparency and accountability, but to date this hasn't happened. Our inquiry will help ensure that Australians are fully aware of the impact the measures will have on poverty and disadvantage.
"Inequality entrenches disadvantage, it affects peoples' health and well-being, and has intergenerational impacts. The Government need to rethink these cuts, " Senator Siewert concluded.