How does anyone have a problem with this? You don't lose any money and you get free help.
How does anyone have a problem with this? You don't lose any money and you get free help. Robert Edwards

PAUL MURRAY: Welfare is not for buying drugs

The government is on to a winner with its plan to start drug testing welfare recipients.

I know it's an old fashioned notion, but last time I checked drugs are illegal and why should a dollar of taxpayers' help be spent getting them?

What's been missing from much of the angry reaction to this plan has been the carrot part of this carrot and stick approach.

If you test positive, you don't lose a cent. It just gets put on to a debit card you can only spend on keeping a roof over your head or putting food on the table. They will also put you into a treatment program to get you off them.

How does anyone have a problem with this? You don't lose any money and you get free help.

We don't give you welfare to get high or hit the jackpot on poker machines. It's a helping hand to get you back on your feet.

If drugs are holding you back, time to get off them.


This week a group of supporters of men accused of planning a terrorist attack refused to stand for a Victorian magistrate.

It was the second time in successive days they refused to stand and the magistrate scolded them for failing to do so.

Magistrate Peter Mealy said: "It is sad that the simple act of failing to stand demonstrates views that are not consistent with the general views of respect in the community."

He's right, but why did it end there? The refusal to stand is a clear act of contempt and they should be charged.

It's one thing to tell them off, but the true signal is to punish them for failing to do so. At the very least they should have been booted out of the public gallery.

This stuff can't be tolerated and making matters even worse news, reports claim the accused men in the dock sniggered while their supporters were being told off.

We stand, not for the specific magistrate or judge. But for the system, a system where no-one is above the law and we are all equal under it.


For the past few weeks our Facebook feeds have been dominated by people telling us to enrol for the same sex marriage postal vote.

This always happens before an election, but the posts were all the more urgent this time because this is a non-compulsory vote.

But why do we still waste so much energy telling people to sign up? Surely in 2017 we can do this automatically.

It's not that hard for the government to automatically load 18 year olds with a tax file number on to the rolls.

If you don't have a job you can sign up, but everyone else should be there from the first day they qualify.

The same system should apply for organ donation. Ours should be an opt out system where if you have religious or any other objection you can get out of the system. But everyone else should be automatically counted as a donor.

As Senator Derryn Hinch says, don't ask people if they want to donate. Rather, ask people if they would accept someone else's donated organs.

**Joining Paul on the program this Monday are Graham Richardson, Ross Cameron and Janine Perrett.