One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson has blasted Barnaby Joyce’s ‘ridiculous’ claim he’s struggling to make ends meet on a politician’s $200k a year wage as she backs calls to lift dole payments for jobseekers. Picture: AAP
One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson has blasted Barnaby Joyce’s ‘ridiculous’ claim he’s struggling to make ends meet on a politician’s $200k a year wage as she backs calls to lift dole payments for jobseekers. Picture: AAP

Hanson blasts ‘skint’ Barnaby for crying poor

PAULINE Hanson has blasted Barnaby Joyce for crying poor after he revealed he was struggling to make ends meet on $211,250 a year.

The One Nation leader has backed Mr Joyce's new calls to raise dole payments for jobseekers but said the way the former Deputy Prime Minister explained his change of heart about Newstart was "ridiculous".

Mr Joyce opened up about his financial difficulties to News Corp in supporting two families today to explain why he was backing calls for the Newstart payment to be raised against the government's official position.

"He feels skint? Where's the tissues, my God," Senator Hanson said today.

It comes as a new survey of Newstart recipients found people on the dole are being forced to skip meals, go without heating during winter, and reduce showering to just once a week to save money.

Speaking on the Nine Network's Today Show, Senator Hanson said: "A lot of Australians out there would be saying 'Gee, I wish I had $211,000 a year to help me put on the heater in my house."

"What a ridiculous, stupid way to explain himself."

Barnaby Joyce at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith
Barnaby Joyce at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith


Politicians were on a good wage but people on low incomes trying to survive on a few dollars a day needed a helping hand, Senator Hanson said.

"They do need an increase in the Newstart allowance," she said.

"It shouldn't be a way of life but people cannot get those jobs, they can't get the extra employment they need.

"They need to pay rent and they need to be able to put food on the table. Let's be realistic about this and try to help those people on Newstart allowance."

Mr Joyce revealed to News Corp Australia he had been buying the cheapest groceries, killing his own meat, turning off the heater to save money even when it was -10C and considered a cup of coffee a treat now to afford to support two families.

"I'm not crying in my beer because there are thousands, thousands doing it much tougher than me,'' Mr Joyce repeatedly stressed.

"It's not that I'm not getting money it's just that it's spread so thin.

"I'm just saying these circumstances have made me more vastly attuned … it's just a great exercise in humility going from deputy prime minister to watching every dollar you get.

"A politician (renting a duplex without a dishwasher) for 415 bucks a week, he's not living high on the hogg, is he?

"There is a reason for that and that's basically what I can afford. You do become a lot more mindful."

Senator Pauline Hanson has blasted Mr Joyce’s claim he is struggling to make ends meet on $211,000 a year. Picture: AAP
Senator Pauline Hanson has blasted Mr Joyce’s claim he is struggling to make ends meet on $211,000 a year. Picture: AAP

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann did not comment on Mr Joyce's claims but rejected calls to raise Newstart beyond the twice yearly increase indexed at CPI already in place.

"Newstart allowance is not designed to be a replacement salary. It is designed to be a transitional payment as you're looking for a new job," he told ABC radio.

Labor, Greens and crossbench senators last week voted to launch an inquiry into the rate of Newstart but Prime Minister Scott Morrison is standing firm against calls to lift the payment by $75 a week.

The current Newstart payment is $555.70 a fortnight for singles, about $40 a day.

A survey of Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients conducted by the Australian Council of Social Service found more than four out of five (84 per cent) respondents skipped meals to save money, and about 44 per cent went without more than five meals a week.

Two-thirds could not afford to use heating during winter, while 68 per cent only had enough money to buy second-hand clothes.

More than half had less than $100 left per week after housing costs.

Labor, the Greens, crossbench politicians, coalition backbenchers and even former Liberal prime minister John Howard have also called for the payment to be raised.

Aside from twice yearly adjustments to Newstart in line with inflation, it has not seen a real increase for 25 years.

- with AAP