The Abbott government’s fight to make young people wait for the dole is not over – but it may have to change its battle strategy.
Australia’s peak welfare body says it’s time for the government to give up and move on.
The unpopular plan to impose a one-month wait for welfare for under-25s was defeated in the Senate on Wednesday.
The measure was a backdown on the original plan to strip welfare from young people for six months, which languished in the Senate after it faced opposition from Labor, Greens and the cross bench.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to reintroduce the legislation and argue his case again.
“Absolutely,” he said on Thursday.
“This will be coming back because we believe in it.”
However, the legislation could come back in a different form.
Asked if further changes would be made the third time around, the minister said he was always willing to listen to crossbench senators.
Mr Morrison said the savings – originally more than $1 billion – were no longer the point.
It was about showing young people that welfare wasn’t a career option.
The frustrated minister blamed Labor and the Greens for the bill’s failure, saying no matter how many concessions were made they would still block it.
But it was the crossbenchers who sealed the bill’s fate – something for which the Australian Council of Social Services was thankful.
“Denying people income support is not the Australian way,” acting CEO Peter Davidson said in a statement, urging the coalition to now focus on its job creation programs.
Labor said it was clear the government didn’t understand community opposition to the measures, vowing to keep blocking legislation.
“Scott Morrison just doesn’t get it,” opposition families and payments spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said.