Newly elected Federal Member for Tangney Ben Morton has social welfare reform in his sights following his maiden speech in Parliament last week.
Mr Morton told colleagues he wanted to help build an Australia that rewarded individual and community effort.
“I am here to create an Australia where young people, regardless of their financial and social situation, can work hard and reach their full potential—whatever that might be,” he said.
“Sadly in many parts of our country the most significant limitation on an individual’s success is their ability to aspire and to believe that they can create their own future and I am determined to change this.”
He said few policy areas were more complex than social welfare and people were using it as a ‘hammock’.
“There are currently some 20 different types of welfare payments and more than 50 supplements to those payments,” he said.
“The legislation dealing with our welfare system covers five different acts filling over 5000 pages.
“I am a compassionate conservative and I am proud that Australia has a safety net to support those in need but sadly our welfare system fails many.
“In too many cases taxpayer funded programs trap people who are otherwise able and willing to work.
“In too many cases the safety net becomes a hammock.
“Taxpayer funded social security is not a right, it is a privilege.
“It is a privilege that is afforded to those in genuine need by others who work hard and pay their taxes.
“Success should be measured by the reduction of welfare dependency in our community.”
Mr Morton also praised the cashless welfare card trial being used in WA’s north and said it could be rolled out more extensively.
“I am pleased that the Federal Government passed legislation last year to trial a cashless healthy welfare card,” he said.
“The card cannot be used to purchase drugs and alcohol.
“Trials in the East Kimberley and in Ceduna are proving successful.
“These communities realise that the lazy application of cash can reduce quality of life not improve it.
“I see no reason why the card cannot be rolled out more extensively in our community to make lives better.
“By listening to experts and to those who have firsthand experience and by using data we can have pragmatic programs which help people wanting to improve their lot in life.”