By Renee Viellaris Greg Stolz of The Courier-Mail
Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has applied for the dole as she leads a life of leisure back home on the Gold Coast.
Highly-placed sources say Corby applied for Newstart payments about a month ago. Once approved, she will receive fortnightly payments of about $530 a fortnight but will have to look for work.
Corby has slipped comfortably back into the laid-back Gold Coast lifestyle since returning to Australia three months ago after almost 13 years behind bars and on parole in Bali.
Social media photos suggest she has become increasingly relaxed and carefree since her dramatic return to Australian soil in late May, when she was spirited out of Bali to Brisbane in an elaborate and expensive cloak-and-dagger security operation to evade the media.
Instagram pictures show her soaking up the winter sun at the beach, visiting Rainbow Bay Surf Club, lunching with sister Mercedes at a trendy Coolangatta eatery, partying with friends and family on popular Burleigh Hill and even provocatively posing with a boogie board.
Revelling in her new-found fame as a social media star, Corby's 200,000 Instagram followers have been treated to regular photo updates of her cruisy life back home on the Coast.
After hunkering down at a secret location for the first couple of weeks, Corby gradually emerged from hiding with more frequent public appearances.
In early June, she posted a picture of one of her first outings - to a sun-drenched headland on what appears to be the picturesque Tweed Coast.
"Out & About, Australia is so beautiful. Crisp, clean air," she told her followers.
She was also pictured lounging on an outdoor seat and lolling on a grassy riverbank reading a newspaper.
"You look radiant!" one follower posted. "May I please ask where you got your dress from I just adore it! Looks fab on you!"
"House of Harlow," Corby replied helpfully, referring to the vintage fashion label started by Hollywood celebrity Nicole Richie.
Corby posed with crutches in some of her earlier Instagram photos after breaking her leg in a mystery mishap. She received treatment at the private John Flynn Hospital, an up-market medical facility with sweeping ocean views near Mercedes' Tugun home.
She joked about her '#hopalong' status during a visit to Rainbow Bay Surf Club where she used an electric staircase chair, normally reserved for disabled and elderly patrons, to access the club.
Corby also posted a video of herself singing a self-penned dizzy ditty about life back in Queensland, with the lyrics: "I'm in Queensland, and it is sunny, I have the palm trees behind me."
In mid-July, she posted a photo of herself sipping champagne as she enjoyed her 'perfect' 40th birthday celebrations.
"First birthday back on home soil after being away for 13 years. Each years its been my wish to be home, finally 2017 it's a reality," she captioned the photo.
Corby's first shopping outing, to a JB hi-fi store, was also shared with her Instagram fans.
In late July, she posted an ironic pic of herself posing with a boogie board on a sun-drenched beach - a none-too-subtle nod to her arrest in Bali in 2004 when she was caught with 4.2kgs of cannabis in her boogie-board bag.
Corby tagged and thanked the company which provided her with the boogie board. In another post, in which she was pictured hanging out with Mercedes and friends on Burleigh Hill, she also plugged the make-up brands she used.
Last week, Corby posted a photo of her and Mercedes enjoying tapas and cocktails at Coolangatta's Bin 72 restaurant.
It's not known if Corby has managed to cash in on her Instagram fame or if she is receiving any other income, or is just being supported by her family.
If she is granted the dole - most likely the Newstart allowance - she would have to look for work for about 15 hours a week.
Social Services Minister Christian Porters would not comment on Corby.
"It's not possible, nor would it be appropriate for the Government to discuss the circumstances of a particular individual, particularly where the person concerned has not discussed their own circumstances publicly," Mr Porter said.
"But what I can say is that anyone receiving welfare payments is required to meet the specific conditions attached to their particular payment, in the case of job seekers this includes taking action to secure work.
"This Government's focus is clearly on strengthening the compliance regime attached to job seeker payments and we have a Bill before Parliament to achieve just that."
Approached for comment, Mercedes Corby initially speculated that someone must have seen Schapelle going into a Medicare office inside Centrelink.
When told sources had told News Corp that Schapelle had applied for the dole, Mercedes texted: "Better check ur sources."
She did not respond to requests for further comment.