‘Insulting’ Project piece slammed
A Project segment in which a Newstart recipient was depicted spending his allowance on $16 avocado toast and a bottle of wine has divided viewers.
On Wednesday night's episode of The Project comedian Sam Taunton appeared in a humorous package in which he spent a day trying to live on $40 per day as a recipient of Newstart.
The five-minute segment showed Taunton buying a bag of chips from a service station for breakfast, spending $4.40 on a coffee in a cafe while searching for jobs on his laptop and buying a $16 avocado toast for brunch.
Taunton ended his day by purchasing a $9 bottle of wine with his remaining $10 and then realising he had been supposed to get toiletries and dinner with that money.
The comedian then ends up purchasing a $1 cup of noodles for dinner but then also remembers he hadn't factored in rent for the day.
This week leaders of both the Libs and Labor acknowledged that living on the Newstart allowance would be difficult. Labour are vowing to review the payment if elected. How difficult it is to live off just $40 dollars a day? We challenged comedian @samtaunton to find out! pic.twitter.com/Wh9gJap1Iw— The Project (@theprojecttv) May 15, 2019
\While the segment was intended to be a humorous way of highlighting the plight of those reliant on Newstart, viewers felt the segment missed the mark.
Get what you we’re trying to do #TheProjectTV but maybe comedy wasn’t the best approach.— Michael B (ACTOR) (@michaelbremer1) May 15, 2019
This whole segment about Newstart on #TheProjectTV is offensive and ridiculous. Making out like all young people on Newstart are irresponsible and can't afford things because they waste money on $16 avocado on toast and wine in place of dinner is not funny, and not helping.— apex20 (@apex201) May 15, 2019
I live on NewStart, but this segment is ridiculous. People on NewStart can’t even CONSIDER avocado on toast. We won’t buy junk food from a service station. This bloke makes out that we waste our money on takeaway! #TheProjectTV— KylieAndLuka (@KylieLuka) May 15, 2019
But others were just horrified at the fact that people on Newstart were expected to live on $40 a day.
I would be homeless if I lost my job. Centrelink would destroy me, my paltry savings would be gone in weeks. Maybe I could cash in some of my superannuation due to extreme povo circumstances.— A Succulent Chinese Meal (@Juluuxx) May 15, 2019
WHAT THE F #TheProjectTV
(ps Fantastic noodles cost more than $1 champ)
Raising the Newstart allowance has proved a hot-button issue for this election, with Labor leader Bill Shorten promising a review of the benefit if he gets elected.
"I think common sense says that a review is going to conclude that amount is too low," he told Q&A.
"I won't pre-empt it, but I'm not having a review to cut it."
In contrast the Coalition has stood by the current Newstart allowance, which comes to $550.70 per fortnight for singles with no children.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg argued earlier this month that an increase wasn't necessary as most people were either on Newstart for a short period of time or could claim other benefits at the same time.
"Ninety nine per cent of people on Newstart are actually on another type of benefit - it might be a parental allowance or another form of support," he said, according to the ABC.
"The other thing about Newstart is two-thirds of the people come off within 12 months and go into a job."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also stood by the current Newstart payment, which according to Australian Council of Social Service hasn't been lifted in 25 years, describing it as "one of the best safety nets" in the world.
The Project airs Sunday to Friday 6.30pm on Network 10