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The Project is slammed after comedian trying to live on $40 a day 'road-testing the dole' spends $16 on smashed avo on toast - just days after the major parties refused to commit to raising allowance

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 4 days ago Shive Prema For Daily Mail Australia

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 Video provided by ABC News

The Project has been branded 'shameful and nasty' for a segment about living on $40 a day to test the Newstart allowance which depicted a welfare recipient splurging on a $16 avocado toast. 

Comedian Sam Taunton also spent $9 on wine in a humorous segment called 'dole of the day' on Wednesday night's episode. 

Viewers slammed the show for mocking low-income Australians on the Newstart allowance of $280 a week - which has not changed for 25 years. 

a person sitting at a table eating food: The five-minute segment showed Taunton (pictured) spend $20.40 on coffee and avocado toast while he searched for jobs using free wifi at a cafe © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The five-minute segment showed Taunton (pictured) spend $20.40 on coffee and avocado toast while he searched for jobs using free wifi at a cafe 'This really didn't make The Project look good. How many people on Newstart watched this, and switched off? Shameful, and nasty,' one man said on Twitter. 

'This belittled poverty. Sometimes comedy can bring us together but not if you're the butt of joke,' a woman wrote on Facebook.   

The five-minute segment showed Taunton spending $4.40 on a coffee and $16 on smashed avo on toast while he searched for jobs using free wifi at a cafe.

He was left with just $10 after spending seven dollars on chips and petrol at a service station and $3.30 on a phone call. 

a screenshot of a cell phone

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Taunton dropped nine dollars on a bottle of red wine - leaving him one dollar to buy cup noodles for dinner.  

The comedian then realised he did not factor in rent and toiletries with no money left at the end of the segment. 

' a person drinking a glass of wine: Comedian Sam Taunton (pictured) spent nine dollars on wine in a segment called 'dole of the day' on Wednesday night's episode of The Project © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Comedian Sam Taunton (pictured) spent nine dollars on wine in a segment called 'dole of the day' on Wednesday night's episode of The Project They are laughing about it but those cup noodles ARE what some people are having for dinner regularly, without the breakfast,' one man pointed out on Twitter. 

'People on Newstart can't even consider avocado on toast,' a person who claimed to live on Newstart wrote.   

a screenshot of a cell phone: 'This bloke makes out that we waste our money on takeaway' one viewer said in reference to the avocado toast © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 'This bloke makes out that we waste our money on takeaway' one viewer said in reference to the avocado toast a screenshot of a cell phone: One user said they understood what The Project was trying to achieve but they didn't take the best approach © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited One user said they understood what The Project was trying to achieve but they didn't take the best approach

The segment came just days after the major parties refused to commit to increasing the Centrelink allowance for unemployed Australians ahead of the Federal Election on Saturday.  

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek was quizzed about the government's current $39-a-day Newstart unemployment support payment on Q&A on Monday evening.

She said her party wanted to review Newstart, so she could not give an immediate answer on whether it would be increased.

Ms Plibersek said: 'I couldn't live on $39 a day. I accept that it is really difficult and the reason we're doing a review of Newstart is that we understand that people are not just living in poverty but it's preventing them getting out of poverty by getting a job'.  

'But we need to be methodical. We can't just pluck a number out of the air and need to be methodical about how we determine both the amount that Newstart should be, the impact on the Budget, how we afford it. I know it's frustrating for people who would like an immediate answer.'

Tanya Plibersek posing for the camera: The segment comes days after the major parties refused to commit to increasing the Centrelink allowance for unemployed Australians. Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek (pictured) was quizzed about Newstart on Q&A on Monday evening © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The segment comes days after the major parties refused to commit to increasing the Centrelink allowance for unemployed Australians. Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek (pictured) was quizzed about Newstart on Q&A on Monday evening

Later, host Tony Jones asked Liberal Party frontbencher Simon Birmingham if he could live on $39 a day.

'Well, Tony, I acknowledge that would be incredibly difficult,' Mr Birmingham said.

'[But] most people on Newstart have a number of supplementary payments.'

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten agreed with his colleague, saying it was 'common sense' the Newstart allowance is 'too low'. 

'I won't pre-empt it, but I'm not having a review to cut it,' he said on Q&A.  

a person making a funny face: Host Gorgi Coghlan then mistakenly called the comedian (pictured) 'Sean' instead of 'Sam' when introducing him © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Host Gorgi Coghlan then mistakenly called the comedian (pictured) 'Sean' instead of 'Sam' when introducing him

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that he thinks the allowance is fine as it is. 

'We have one of the best safety nets, if not the best, of anywhere in the world in our country,' he said. 

The Greens have a policy to increase the allowance by $75 a week.

Overwhelmingly, The Project was slammed by viewers for making light of what they determined to be a serious issue.

'The Newstart segment was not funny. Joking about poverty is disgusting,' one person said.

'Trying to live on $40 a day is a joke, but not one which should be made fun of,' tweeted another.

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