No plans to increase Newstart: Morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has no plans to increase the dole as crossbench senators and MPs continue to urge for change.
Mr Morrison told parliament in response to a question from Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese that Newstart will continue to enjoy its six-monthly indexation.
"That is the process we will continue to follow in relation to those social security payments," he said during parliamentary question time on Thursday, noting that neither the coalition or Labor took a policy to lift Newstart at the recent election.
However, Labor had vowed to review the Newstart payment if it won the May 18 election, with the intention of lifting it.
Economists, business and social services groups have long called for a boost to Newstart - the payment to people looking for work - which hasn't increased in real terms for more than two decades.
It is currently $555.70 a fortnight for a single person without children.
Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick says he and upper house colleague Stirling Griff raised the issue of increasing Newstart when negotiating with the government on its income tax cut package.
"It wasn't an area they were willing to go down," he told Sky News..
But Senator Patrick said they're looking at other ways to increase Newstart.
"Centre Alliance have a bit of a plan in relation to that, moving forward," he said.
The plan is likely to involve Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie, he said.
"People like Jacqui Lambie and Centre Alliance can work together. We both have a similar view about Newstart.
"We'll be looking at ways we can put pressure on the government moving forward to address that area, because it is problematic."
Centre Alliance's two Senate votes are crucial as the government needs the support of Labor or at least four crossbenchers in the upper house to get any legislation through.
Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek still believes an inquiry should be held.
"It's really something we need to look at," she told Sky News.
Independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie, who also is in favour of a Newstart rise, said it's often left to the crossbench to address such issues.
"There are so many problems that can be addressed in part by lifting Newstart," he told Sky News.
"It helps solve the housing crisis, it helps people have the money to see their GP to stay out of hospital, so it takes the pressure off the hospital."