Welfare recipients who miss an appointment with a job provider could have benefits cut unless they have a good excuse.
Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash said the government believed in mutual obligation – if you get something from the government, the government expects something in return.
She said it was incumbent on those receiving benefits to attend interviews with job providers.
“It is only in extreme circumstances, that if you don’t turn up, you should be let off,” she told Sky News.
Senator Cash said the legislation implementing this change would be brought before parliament later this year.
Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor said Labor supported the principle of mutual obligation.
However, the government was tearing up those principles, depriving every job-seeker under 30 of any benefits for six months, no matter how hard they were looking for work.
“We believe that this will lead to self-harm, anti-social behaviour, crime – and it will not help the job-seeker find work,” he told Sky.
Mr O’Connor said the government was now proposing adding to business red tape and giving employers of job providers the power to decide whether job-seekers should be paid their benefits.
He said he was concerned this was more about a newspaper headline than actual policy.
“That is a very complicated and unprecedented approach by the government and I’d like to hear the detail from ministers (Eric) Abetz and (Luke) Hartsuyker about how they would actually implement that,” he said.