The Victorian independent Member of the federal Parliament Cathy McGowan has introduced a private member’s Bill to establish a social security commission.
The main task of the new commission would be to conduct a minimum of one review of the adequacy of each social security payment every four years.
This commission would guide the Parliament on the rates of income support payments, helping to ensure that payments are adequate and that indexation settings are right.
The proposed commission would make recommendations to the Australian Government and the Government would be required to respond, but it would not be bound to accept and implement the commission’s recommendations.
CPSA supports the establishment of a commission, but would like this commission to operate along the lines of the Fair Work Commission. For example, the Fair Work Commission recently announced a 3.5 per cent increase to minimum wages. Employers must pay this increase.
The reason the Government will never have a commission setting social security payments like the Fair Work Commission sets the minimum wage is obvious. When the Fair Work Commission increases the minimum wage, it’s employers who foot the bill, not the Government.
A social security commission setting social security payments would bind the Australian Government to pay whatever the commission came up with.
The value of Ms McGowan’s proposed model is that a social security commission would have the expertise to calculate what social security payments should be. It could shame the Australian Government into action.
THE VOICE will keep its readers posited about how the Social Security Commission Bill 2018 progresses.