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September 17, 2021

Three in four support welfare drug tests

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Three in four voters back the Turnbull government’s plan to drug test unemployed welfare recipients.

A Newspoll published in The Australian shows 73 per cent support the two-year trials targeting 5000 new jobseekers across three different locations, with 19 per cent against.
Labor and the Greens remain flatly opposed, arguing the scheme will demonise jobless Australians, but a clear majority of voters for both parties are in favour of the proposal.

The government wants to roll out the drug testing pilot across three trial sites – Mandurah in Western Australia, Logan in Queensland and Canterbury-Bankstown in NSW – from January.

Anyone who tests positive would be shunted onto cashless welfare cards, while those who fail more than once would be referred to medical professionals for treatment.

Coalition voters were most in favour, at 89 per cent, followed by One Nation supporters (80 per cent), Labor voters (67 per cent) and Greens backers (50 per cent).

However, the federal government faces an uphill battle as the Senate prepares to debate its controversial plans.

The proposal, part of a broad package of reforms to the welfare system, cleared parliament’s lower house in September.

With Labor and the Greens against the drug tests, the government must court support from the Senate crossbench.

Former senator Nick Xenophon, whose bloc of three votes in the upper house will be crucial, has given conditional support to the bill.
The poll of 1623 voters was conducted on October 26-29.

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