Single mothers have reacted angrily to "appalling" and "degrading" comments by Australia's Families Minister, Jenny Macklin, who said she could survive on the A$35 ($43.81) a day Newstart allowance.
Macklin was commenting on government changes that replace single parents' payments with lower Newstart payments once the children turn 8. Welfare groups estimate some families will be A$60 to A$100 a week worse off.
Corinna Taylor, a 43-year-old Brisbane mother of two who expects to lose A$90 a week, said it would force her to seek charity help or family loans, and make many single mothers rort the system.
"I would challenge anybody to live on A$35 a day and not in some way have to rort the system."
The Government's changes would put those in different circumstances in the same basket, she said. Office manager Cate Flaherty agreed.
"As a single mother who's always worked part-time and raised polite, considerate children I'm now being treated as someone who adds no more value to society than a junkie sitting on the couch all day," she said.
Flaherty says her budget will now be cut by A$230 a fortnight, almost double the drop of a non-working single mother. "We've copped a bigger hit than non-working single mothers ... It's made it harder for me to work."
Terese Edwards, of the National Council of Single Mothers and Their Children, said Macklin's comments were "salt in the wound for these mums who face such an uphill battle".