12 Jan 2013

Australian Minister apologises for dole comments

3:11 pm on 12 January 2013

An Australian politician has apologised for claiming she could live on the dole, conceding the comment was "insensitive".

Families Minister, Jenny Macklin, angered welfare groups when she made the remark last week.

It came amid a push by community organisations and business leaders for an increase in the unemployment benefit, which is currently $A215 a week.

As a cabinet minister, Ms Macklin earns $A6321 a week.

Ms Macklin has conceded it would be very hard to live on $A215 a week.

The ABC reports that Ms Macklin's comments have sparked renewed debate about the level of unemployment benefits and whether they were too low.

There is growing momentum within Labor ranks for the allowance to be increased, with one party source saying this week that there were was "serious" support for the idea in cabinet.