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Ray Hadley unleashes on family receiving Centrelink over their lifestyle


Ray Hadley unleashes on family receiving Centrelink over their lifestyle

A top radio host has unleashed on a family living off welfare payments who have two cars after the father complained about not having the energy to work a fulltime job – as the broadcaster demands taxpayers get their money back.

Jennifer Searson and Mark Goodrick live in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast with their 15-year-old daughter.

The couple, who rely on Centrelink and Mr Goodrick’s casual salary from his job at a service station, featured on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Monday night where they discussed the need for income support payments to be increased.

But viewers of the program were quick to notice the family drove two cars, their daughter appeared to attend a private school, they spend about $350 a week on groceries and neither Mr Goodrick or Ms Searson were planning to secure full-time work.

‘So what do I do? Do I do the right thing to not be a supposed dole-bludger and work five days a week for $850, or do I work the hours I’m working and get that little bit of a top-up?’ Mr Goodrick told the program.

‘I don’t actually have the energy to say ”hey, I’m off to work for 60 hours a week”, so we had to make a decision, but that’s not supported, you’re seen as someone who’s bludging or taking advantage of the system.’

2GB’s morning host Ray Hadley unleashed on the couple on Wednesday morning and questioned why taxpayers were funding people who seemingly ‘didn’t want to work’.

‘Here they are claiming they live in poverty,’ he said on his 2GB radio program.

‘There’d be plenty of people listening to this program who do live in poverty, who would be living in their cars, not using two cars to drop their daughter to school then going home and sitting on their a***s all day.’

The radio broadcaster said he found it ‘offensive’ the couple were complaining about spending $350 a week on groceries, an amount families with more children wouldn’t even spend.

‘You don’t have the energy to work 60 hours a week, so instead, we pay for it. We pay for your laziness,’ he said.

‘If that’s the typical person on JobSeeker, I want my money back. I want some of my tax back.

‘If I’m supporting those people and you’re out there working your rings off, we need a reduction. We need our money back.

Jennifer Searson and Mark Goodrick live in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast with their 15-year-old daughter. They recently featured on the ABC’s 7.30 program to discuss living on Centrelink

‘I don’t want to help that couple.’

Ms Searson, a lab technician who is certified in education support and business administration, is on a carer’s payment for her daughter who has autism.

The maximum basic rate fortnightly for a carer’s payment is $971.50 according to Services Australia.

Mr Goodrick, a qualified chef, works casually at a service station and earns about $1,300 a fortnight.

On top of that he gets $250 from Centrelink, bringing his fortnightly pay to nearly $1,600.

Hadley claimed he looked at one jobs site and found more than 230 roles available on the Sunshine Coast for cooks and chefs. 

Neither Mr Goodrick nor his wife have worked full-time since moving from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast in 2018, which they did in search of a more affordable life.

‘We are poor and we are on low income,’ Mr Goodrick said. 

‘There has been a proliferation of calling people on income support payments, particularly JobSeeker, dole bludgers,’ Ms Searson said.

‘Anyone can end up in this situation.’

The family have been called out for having two cars, despite claiming they are struggling

The family have been called out for having two cars, despite claiming they are struggling

The family live in a modern apartment block with a balcony

The family live in a modern apartment block with a balcony

Mr Goodrick said he and his wife were both ‘hardworking’, but due to their age, many businesses aren’t looking to hire them.

Ms Searson said she has applied online to work a part-time role at Big W three times this year but hasn’t heard back.

Hadley suggested she instead go down to the store herself and ask to speak to the manager to tell them of her interest in working.

The segment was shared to the program’s Twitter account and was flooded with comments from many who questioned if the couple were an accurate portrayal of struggling Aussies.

‘These people are not doing it nearly as tough as many people I know. Sure, they’re battlers, but many single parent families exist, so in times of financial challenge such as this, the father could opt for the temporary sacrifice of full time work with a long commute,’ one person said.

‘I saw this and I thought this family seem to be doing ok actually. Is this what welfare looks like?’ another questioned.

‘$350 a week food for three people seems excessive!’ said another.

‘There are plenty of people on Jobseeker who are in terribly desperate situations, bordering on poverty, that you could have featured in this story… This family are not in that situation. Perplexing as to why you chose them,’ one tweet read.

‘This is not genuine need. This is two people of working age making a decision to limit how much they work and seeking taxpayer funds to supplement their lifestyle choices. You don’t get to refuse to work full time just because you get the difference from the public purse,’ another viewer wrote.

‘Two cars. Choosing not to work. An insult to people who are really struggling on JobSeeker,’ someone said.

It comes as the government increases a number of Centrelink payments as part of the budget announced last night.

The base rate of JobSeeker and Youth Allowance will rise by $40 a fortnight from September.

‘We understand that there will be people who are saying $40 a fortnight is not enough, there will be some who will be saying it is too much,’ Dr Chalmers said.

‘We think we’ve struck the right balance between what we can afford and taking into consideration the economic pressures in the economy.’

Eligibility for a higher rate of JobSeeker will also be lowered from 60 to 55, following a rise in the number of older Australians on the payment.

About 52,000 Australians aged between 55 and 59 will get an extra $92.10 per fortnight.

Almost $5 billion will be spent over the next five years to support more than 1.1 million people on income support.

Single parents will see a boost, with the threshold for the single parent payment increasing to when the youngest child turns 14, up from the previous limit of eight years old.

The maximum rate of Commonwealth rent assistance will also rise by 15 per cent for 1.1 million households.

With rising power prices being one of the biggest costs to households, energy bill relief has also been a key feature of the federal budget.

The government has set aside $3 billion in relief measures as part of partnerships with states and territories.

Energy bill relief of $500 will be handed out to five million households, while $650 payments will be sent to one million small businesses.

It’s forecast energy relief measures would lead to price increases for electricity being 25 percentage points less, while gas prices rises will be 16 percentage points lower.

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