Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews
Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews

Unpopular welfare legislation broken up into smaller bills

AFTER securing Labor's support for $2.7 billion in savings from some of its welfare reforms, the Abbott government faces an uphill battle to get its most controversial changes through the Senate.

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews today pulled the government's original omnibus welfare reform legislation from the agenda, replacing it with four bills in an effort to get the budget measures through parliament.

While Labor has backed one of the four bills in the lower house, on changes to Family Tax Benefit part b, the Opposition, The Greens and Palmer United Party remain opposed to the majority of changes in the other three bills.

Mr Andrews said the new bills were essentially the same as the previous welfare reforms, but he had split the bills to help negotiations with the Senate.

But he would not discuss the status of negotiations with the Senate crossbenchers or Labor over the remaining measures, including the controversial six-month wait for income support for young Australians.