Friday, April 20, 2012

Right place at the wrong time

Bugger. The kids had dental appointments this morning so by the time I got to parliament it was 11am. The 'Closed to the Public ' sign was out and there were people milling about outside the room. I waited, thinking it was a repeat of yesterday when the room was cleared of the public for around 40 minutes. After about 15 minutes the doors were opened and those outside invited in. I trailed in after  seven or eight other bods and sat down in the back row. The chair starts to speak saying that all the oral submissions had been heard, and the committee would be moving on....Typically I stopped listening, thinking about the implications of the oral submissions being finished. Perhaps they were going to look at written submissions, I don't know. But it quickly became evident that they were onto committee business and it became uncomfortably obvious that I was persona non gratis, a member of the public. Oooops. I was hurriedly ushered out. So no report from me today. I mentioned to the person firmly guiding me out that the parliamentary website details had indicated the hearings were open to the public from 10 - 4 on both days, and that I hadn't been there before 11, so didn't know the submissions had finished. She said they had changed the website details. When I check now there are no details at all.

But here's the thing. They scheduled two days and only needed one and a bit. So the rapidity of the process opposition member and submitters were vociferously complaining about had an effect.  Apparently the Green MP moved that the submission period should be re-opened and extended but was outvoted by one vote.

Here's a report regarding the  submitters I missed:

Proposed new welfare laws run the risk of discrimination, a parliamentary committee has been told. The Human Rights Commission says there's insufficient evidence to justify imposing compulsory budget management on young beneficiaries.

Under the Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Bill benefit payments can be made through cards that can only be used for accommodation and food, with a small cash-in-hand allowance.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford told the social services select committee on Friday "the evil of discrimination" had to be avoided unless it could be justified and he didn't think in this case that it was.

Deputy Children's Commissioner Jo Cribb said in her submission there must be monitoring to assess the impact of the proposed new welfare regime on young mothers and children.
The bill delivers payments for childcare while it imposes new work obligations on sole parents.

Ms Cribb said it was essential for childcare to be high quality and accessible - particularly for young mothers in remote areas.

  Seems to me that laws discriminate against young people canstantly. I don't have to list the ways. As regards young mothers in "remote areas", the Jobs Op policy Labour ran which made unemployed people ineligible for the dole if they moved to areas where there were no jobs should apply to anyone being work-tested.

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