Demerit-point system for welfare slackers

Adam Bennett
AAP

A demerit-point system will be introduced for welfare recipients who don't turn up for job interviews or work-for-the-dole appointments under a series of federal government measures.

Slack jobseekers will start losing payments when they reach four points, and when they get to seven points will be stripped of payments for eight weeks, News Corp reports.

Treasurer Scott Morrison refused to outline details of the new measures when quizzed by reporters on Tuesday, but cabinet colleague Steve Ciobo said they were about mutual obligation.

"No-one begrudges someone from having a helping hand when times are tough but we also expect that they will do what is asked of them," he told Sky News.

"We expect them to honour their half of the deal."

Labor's workplace relations spokesman Brendan O'Connor agreed about the need for a mutual-obligation principle, but said the opposition would wait to see the details.

He has concerns about the possible two-month wait.

The demerit-point system is just one of the major welfare changes expected in the federal budget to be handed down on Tuesday night.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said the government's approach flew in the face of established research.

"Taking a supportive, investment approach will actually in the long term help the most vulnerable members of our community," she told reporters.

"We would rather see a supportive approach to people that are seeking support from our safety net rather than this punitive approach. It's just replacing one punitive approach with another when we know that does not work."

The Newstart allowance will also be rolled into other payments and rebadged.