Interview - The Today Show

  • Minister for Employment
  • Minister for Women
  • Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
  • Senator for Western Australia


SUBJECT: Job seeker loopholes

JOURNALIST: Minister, please tell us what this loophole is and how it works.

MINISTER CASH: The Government’s position is that those who can work, should work, and we have identified a loophole currently in the system. That means if I was to go for a job interview and I refused the job because I just don’t want it or as we have seen this morning, the job conflicts with my golf appointment; we say, that is not good enough and we should be able to apply a financial penalty to them.

The problem with the system at the moment is, even if we apply the financial penalty, the person can apply for a waiver and is likely to get that waiver.

We are saying, enough is enough: remove the waiver, we will not tolerate excuses for those people who can work, that should be working but because they just don’t want to, they say no. That’s the loophole we are trying to close.  

JOURNALIST: Some of these excuses, you have already mentioned one, are completely outrageous, I would rather follow my dream of becoming an actor, I don’t work for less than 20 hours a day, it clashes with my golf day. Minister why hasn’t this waiver already been removed?

MINISTER CASH: It was introduced in 2009 by the former Labor Government. We have been in office for two and a half years.  We made some changes to the system last year. We have identified that further changes do need to be made, to ensure that if you can work, you do work because the best form of welfare is a job.

Tax payers work pretty damn hard for receipt of their income and I think they would expect that the Government would ensure that their taxes are spent wisely.  We have identified a further loop hole in the system and we are now seeking to close that.

Syliva, unfortunately the bill has come up for debate in the Senate and I am disappointed to say, Labor don’t support it, the Greens don’t support it and certain cross benchers don’t support it. Despite our best efforts, despite what I believe is the backing of the Australian people in relation to closing this loophole, it doesn’t look like it is going to get through the Senate.

JOURNALIST: In the meantime it is costing honest tax payers an awful lot of money, Minister Michaelia Cash we appreciate your time this morning, thank you for joining us.

MINISTER CASH: Pleasure to be with you.


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