Scott Morrison will revive the government’s twice-rejected plan to drug test welfare recipients, hoping a more conservative Senate crossbench will pass the controversial plan, The Australian reports.
Then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull first introduced the policy of drug-testing people who receive Newstart and other payments in 2017, which would see recipients moved onto a cashless welfare card if they failed tests.
It was blasted at the time by the Australian Medical Association and welfare groups, who said it amounted to punishing people on the dole and claimed there was not enough evidence to show it gets them off drugs.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Friday said the drug-tests — which would start with a series of trials in target communities — was a commonsense approach and expected the Senate to pass it.
“I’d be surprised if the independents don’t support it. We know people unemployed are three times more likely to be using methamphetamine, for example,” he told the Nine Network.
“It’s a barrier to getting a job. It results in constant drug use or people who are addicted to illicit drugs have relationship problems, and we want to help those people get the help they need.
“It’s not about a punishment, it’s about making sure that money is spent on them, on their kids if that’s the case, but not on drugs and illicit substances.”
The government has made some changes to the policy to stop it from being rejected by parliament for a third time.