WATCH: Jacqui Lambie Chokes Up Describing Struggle As Single Mum On Welfare

Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie has delivered an impassioned speech in parliament, drawing on her own experience as a welfare recipient to criticise the government’s proposed alterations to the social services system. 

Speaking in the Senate last night, Lambie said the new Social Services Amendment Bill – which aims to cut costs by extending the waiting periods some youth allowance recipients have to endure and winding back a previous decision to increase Family Tax Benefit payment rates, among other things – is a kick in the guts to Australians in tough circumstances.

And Lambie, after her medical discharge from the Australian Defence Force, found her family in those circumstances. The Tasmanian pollie said “for me to survive as a single mum with two kids, I had no other choice but to go to Centrelink.”

Lambie recounted sacrifices she had to make while on her disability support pension, telling parliament how she cried over not being able to afford food, and drove for weeks without a licence due to renewal being too expensive.

Fighting back tears, the senator railed against the proposed cuts, saying that “this is what it is like. It is not a choice for many of us, to be on welfare. 

“It is shameful and it is embarrassing. And it is bloody tough, but we do it not because we want to, but because circumstances put us there.

“And for you to take more money off those people – you have no idea how bloody tough it is. Every little cent counts to those people.

“What you are doing is shameful. And if you really realise the damage that you are doing to this part of society, you would stop doing it. 

“So I’m just asking you. I know you haven’t been through that, but there are some of us in here that have.

“And it was difficult in our lives, and our kids paid the price for that, through no fault of our own.”
You can watch her entire speech here, from the timestamp of 21:36:50 onwards. 

Source and photo: Parliament Of Australia.