The Australian Press Council has considered a complaint by Naomi Anderson about a report in The Australian on 9 March 2011 concerning the difference in payment rates between the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and the Newstart Allowance.
The headline of the article was No incentive for jobseekers to get off disability and, after mentioning welfare groups and Greens, the second paragraph read: "They argue there is no incentive for people to get off the more lucrative [DSP] and into work". Later paragraphs quoted a named representative from the National Welfare Rights Network and another one from the Greens. No other person was quoted or mentioned.
Ms Anderson complained that the article was inaccurate because the representatives did not say that there was no incentive to get off DSP or that DSP is "more lucrative" than Newstart. She said this inaccuracy was unfair to the representatives and to people receiving DSP. She also complained that the headline presented a matter of opinion as if it was a fact.
The newspaper said the second paragraph accurately and fairly summarised the quoted comments. It said that the headline was a fair summary of the opinions expressed in the article, not a purported statement of fact.
The Council has concluded that the second paragraph inaccurately described the quoted comments in the article because those comments did not assert that there was no incentive to get off DSP or that either the DSP or Newstart could be described as in any way "lucrative". Those misstatements were unfair to the quoted people and to people receiving DSP. Accordingly, this aspect of the complaint is upheld.
The Council has concluded that the headline presented as a matter of fact an assertion which is actually a matter of opinion. Accordingly, this aspect of the complaint was also upheld.