Single Australian women, who comprise 87 per cent of the country's poorest families, will lose $60 a week with plans by the federal government to move 100,000 single parents from Parenting Payments to Newstart in 2013.
Reports said that Prime Minister Julia Gillard ignored the advice of the Labor caucus which in August recommended a delay in the change until more information about the impact of the policy is known.
The bill, which has bipartisan support, will go before Parliament this week. Its target is to generate $728 million over four years for the federal government. In exchange, the government plans to provide training and education for the affected single parents.
The federal government explained the proposed amendment aims to help welfare-dependent parents get a job; however, critics of the new policy said it would also cause more families to move into poverty. To avoid that, some women may have to have another baby to remain on the Parenting Payment but they are the least group who should be having more children.
Single parents threatened to hold a protest on Tuesday outside the federal Parliament.
The new policy comes at a time that Australians are witnessing a debate on the pro-woman policies of Ms Gillard and Opposition leader Tony Abbott. The female members of Mr Abbott's family are on a media defensive move to boost the Coalition leader's political stock amid accusations that he has problems with powerful female figures.
However, with the new Gillard policy, observes said that the prime minister would likely have problem with women voters if she insists on moving the single parents to the Newstart group.
Latest poll said Margie Abbott's recent public appearances to defend her husband from misogyny accusations appear to have an impact on the primary vote support of the leading political figures. According to the latest Newspoll survey, the Coalition's primary vote support went up by 4 per cent to 45 per cent while that for Labor declined by 3 per cent to 33 per cent.
Mr Abbott has threatened that Australians would continue to see and hear more from his wife if Labor continues to insist he has a problem with women.
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