As the debate over the controversial introduction of dole drug testing continues, Sunrise host Samantha Armytage has challenged a critic's claim that the proposal is “demeaning” for those relying on welfare payments.
BuzzFeed political editor Mark Di Stefano slammed the Turnbull Government’s random drug testing initiative, saying there was a difference between taking drugs and depending on them.
“If you're an 18-year-old and you smoke a joint the night before going in to collect your welfare check, you actually get picked up in this system as someone who's failed a drug test,' Mr Di Stefano said on Sunrise on Thursday.
“It actually doesn't test for dependency, it tests for if it's in your system.
“Find the Newstart and youth allowance people, get them to pee in a cup, take their hair out… I think it's very demeaning.”
Armytage questioned if it was "demeaning" if they were receiving government money.
“Obviously there is a problem if insiders, inside Centrelink, are saying so many people are coming in to claim money and they're off their heads,” she replied to Di Stefano.
Sunrise guest and 3AW broadcaster Tom Elliott was quick to fire back at Di Stefano, pointing out that random drug testing is already a proven practice in other employment environments.
“When I started a job in finance, I was tested, and if you were positive, you lost your job,” Di Stefano said in support.
“I work damn, hard, there is no way that your taxes should be going to support someone’s drug habit.”
The debate followed news this morning that Centrelink would not pass on positive drug tests to the police.