Family tax benefits cuts pass the Senate

THE Abbott Government has secured almost $3 billion in savings through cuts to welfare payments backed by Labor and the Palmer United Party.

A bill, which re-arranged some of the government's full social services budget agenda in October, passed the Senate on Monday.

It will cut family tax benefits and review all disability support pensions given to people under 35 years old, among other changes.

But despite statements from PUP leader Clive Palmer, two PUP senators, Dio Wang and Glenn Lazarus, voted to pass the bill in the Senate, with Labor giving the government the required numbers.

However, outspoken Senator Jacqui Lambie, not wearing her usual PUP-yellow scarf to parliament, voted against the bill.

In a lengthy speech on the bill and her position against an effective pay cut offered to Defence staff by the remuneration tribunal, she rejected the changes.

While Sen Lambie said she would not have supported the changes anyway, it was the first bill she has voted against, as part of a promise to vote down any government legislation until concerns about defence pay cuts are resolved.

She also appealed to other "non-government senators" to support her and also vote down every piece of the government's agenda, despite garnering no actual support for her calls on Monday.

The bill is the first of several social services bills before parliament aiming to achieve the government's savings from the May budget, but was the only bill to get wide enough support to date to pass.

- APN NEWSDESK



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