Scott Morrison ‘stopped the boats’ for Tony Abbott’s government and next he is set to rein in spending as the newly appointed Minister for Social Services.
We know from his time working in immigration he’s ruthless in his efforts to fulfil government goals.
But what do social services stakeholders really want from him?
The New Daily spoke to four key figures to find out.
Tricia Malowney, Disability Rights Activist
Ms Malowney, who reviews disability policy and helps companies recruit those with disabilities, says she is tired of ‘meaningless token jobs’ for disabled people.
“The priority needs to be jobs for people with disabilities, and real jobs not just token jobs,” Ms Malowney says.
“This is not an issue that either side of government has succeeded in, it is a change in attitude that needs to be taken up by those in positions of leadership.
“We need to have a full implementation of the NDIS which will ensure that people will have the supports they need to get into employment.”
Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia
Ms Page says Paid Parental Leave neglects parents’ wishes and is not necessarily the best way to help parents get affordable childcare.
“If we are in a tight fiscal environment and we have to choose between very generous paid parental leave and more affordable early childhood education, our consultations with parents suggest to us that they want more affordable early childhood education,” Ms Page says.
“Early childhood education is a better long-term return on that investment.
“We really need to address the affordability of early childhood education and make sure all people have access.”
Ian Yates, CEO of Council of the Ageing
Mr Yates is critical of ‘regressive’ pension changes and says his Council is keen to speak to the government about reassessing income in retirement.
“We have been trying to get the government to sit down with us and talk about a comprehensive look at retirement incomes,” Mr Yates says.
These include “pensions, super, taxation and mature-aged employment opportunities because they’re all inter-related if you want to increase the pension age and taxation”.
“We think the pension changes are very regressive … they will struggle to go anywhere in the Senate,” Mr Yates argues.
“We hope the Minister has a nice Christmas, can get his feet under the desk and we hope to see him in January.”
Les Twentyman, Outreach Welfare Worker
Mr Twentyman says the government is being fooled by “welfare rorters”.
According to Mr Twentyman, the government’s fight to reduce welfare payments exacerbates the small problem of handout rorters.
“There are some ‘one percenters’ who ruin it for the 99 per cent,” he says.
“There are a lot of people who are battling – I am putting on a Christmas party for 400 people who can’t afford to get their kids toys or have a proper Christmas meal.”
He believes his advocacy for those in trouble is not being heard.
“I’ve gone to this department in the past and applied for outreach youth workers to be piloted in a number of schools around Australia for kids who are involved in families effected by drugs … they become the gang members and the drug pushers and that sort of stuff,” he says.
“A lot of problems with children being suspended from school and not attending class have to do with family violence and other problems like that.
“I put an application in for this around eight months ago and haven’t heard a word so that would be a good start.
“I’d like to have an hour with him and out some things on the table.”