NSW Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos was stumped when asked to justify a policy of his own government by Q&A host Tony Jones on Monday.

The senator appeared uninformed about details concerning Newstart, the main youth income support payment, and the handout being restricted.

A questioner wondered if the Government thought that people who used Newstart, the main youth income support payment, thought people didn’t use electricity.

“I’m not sure what’s happened in relation to Newstart. I’m not sure exactly what the rationale there (is),” said Senator Sinodinos. 

“The short answer is, I don’t know why.”

Another questioner asked whether Newstart payments should increase.

The conversation turned to Newstart after the government announced that it would deposit the tax exempt energy Assistance Payment into the bank accounts of veterans, carers, single parents, aged pensioners and people on disabled support pensions before July. The amount is at $75 for singles and $125 for couples, however those on Newstart allowance would not be receiving the pension. 

On Monday, the government announced it would spend $285 million in the budget to give a cash injection to 3.9 million Australians.

Others on the panel were Labor’s Amanda Rishworth, writer Rebecca Huntley and John Roskam from conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) on the panel.

ICYMI entire #qanda panel agreed Newstart needs to be increased. @A_Sinodinos @RebeccaHuntley2 & John Roskam @TheIPA. Yes that's IPA. What more do you want? @ScottMorrisonMP @billshortenmp. Help people on lowest incomes. $75 per week increase. Not more tax cuts. #raisetherate

— Cassandra Goldie (@cassandragoldie) April 1, 2019