The figures, released through the Senate estimates process, bolster the case mounted by Labor MPs and the welfare sector to increase the dole on the grounds it is not just a short-term support system.
As of August 31, the average time a recipient spent on Newstart was 104.2 weeks. This did not take into account breaks for short-term jobs or while on other welfare payments.
Labor MPs yesterday took a different line from Families Minister Jenny Macklin, who caused a furore when she claimed on Tuesday that she could survive on the dole.
Ms Macklin angered welfare groups by claiming she could live on Newstart payments of $246 a week – or about $35 a day – while defending cuts…
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