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Counter dole bludger stereotype: Shorten

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Rashida Yosufzai

Welfare groups need to do more to counter stereotypes of dole bludgers sipping daiquiris and eating lobster on their couches, the federal Labor leader says.

But Bill Shorten won't commit to an increase in the rate of Newstart, saying his party would instead review the adequacy of the unemployment benefit.

Speaking at the Australian Council of Social Service annual conference, the opposition leader said the $38 a day payment was clearly too low.

"Something's gotta give," he told the Sydney gathering on Thursday.

But he didn't have the "final answer" on it.

Mr Shorten said it wasn't just up to him to seek change, urging the community sector to help make the case for an increase by countering negative media commentary about welfare bludgers.

"The more we can do to educate our fellow Australians that people on Newstart are not sort of living on banana lounges, sipping on daiquiris, cracking open lobster (the better)," he said.

The Labor leader also attacked the coalition for "welfare bashing," saying recent figures showing the multi-trillion dollar lifetime welfare bill didn't take into account the ageing population.

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