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'We were too keen to hand out DSP': Abbott

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016

Tony Abbott says governments have been far too ready to put people with bad backs and "a bit of depression" on the disability support pension.

Reflecting on the prevalence of the welfare payment, the former prime minister said for those who find it impossible to find work, "fair enough" they need to be looked after.

"We were far too ready to put people on the disability support pension with bad backs, a bit of depression and so on and these are not permanent conditions," he told Ray Hadley on 2GB radio on Wednesday.

Mr Abbott also said excuses were too often accepted from people on unemployment benefits refusing to take a job.

"This idea that you can be unemployed on benefits on a town where you can't get fruit pickers or a town where they can't get people to work as cleaners in nursing homes, it's just wrong," he said.

"A job is a job."

He accepted some jobs might not be the ones people want to do for the rest of their lives, but the alternative was sitting idle on the taxpayer.

"Frankly, we do as a nation have to wake up to ourselves," he said.

Mr Abbott claimed there were "welfare villages" in the outskirts of Australia's major cities.

"They're not black welfare villages, they're white welfare villages," he said, warning of social dysfunction.

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