'Inaudible': Minister's dole comment vanishes

Families Minister Jenny Macklin has said she could live on the dole of just $35 a day, but her answer has been omitted from the transcript of a press conference issued by her office.

Asked this morning whether she could live on the Newstart allowance of $246 a week, Ms Macklin told reporters ‘‘I could.’’

But when Ms Macklin’s office later issued a transcript of the press conference, held at a hospital in the Minister’s Melbourne electorate, both the question and answer were recorded ‘‘inaudible.’’

A spokeswoman for Ms Macklin said the comments were not omitted from the transcript intentionally, but the transcript had been produced from an iphone recording of an outdoor press conference.

"The Minister's comments are a matter of public record. We provide the best quality transcripts available to us to help inform the media,'' the spokeswoman said.

"Of course the media also attend and record on high quality professional devices."

The government has been heavily attacked for changes which took effect today which shift thousands of single parents from the parenting payment to the Newstart allowance when their youngest child turns eight.

While parents who started receiving the payment after July 2006 already face these conditions, until now those who were receiving the parenting payment before July 2006 were able to keep it until their youngest turned 16.

The government is also under pressure to raise the rate of Newstart allowance from welfare and business groups who say the payment is so low it is acting as a barrier for the unemployed to find work.

Ms Macklin said the parenting payment changes were about ensuring all parenting payment recipients were treated the same.

What's important for people who are unemployed is that we do everything possible... to help people get into work and that’s what we’ll be doing with these single parents as well,’’ she said.

Ms Macklin was visiting the hospital to promote the government’s Dad and Partner Pay scheme, which provides two weeks leave at the minimum wage to partners in couples who have or adopt a child from today.

smh.com.au

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