Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is seen during a press conference in Biloela, Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is seen during a press conference in Biloela, Wednesday, September 4, 2019. AAP Image - Darren England

Morrison's tests for Labor win Lambie vote

Anthony Albanese has labelled the government an "opposition in exile" as he tries to push infrastructure and the economy to the top of the national agenda.

As federal parliament resumes after the long winter break, the Morrison government says it has still more tests for Labor.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the weekend he was just trying to help an opposition which was "struggling to work out who they are and what they're about" after their election loss.

But the opposition leader said it seemed like Mr Morrison had forgotten he won that election.

"He needs to stop acting like an opposition in exile on the government benches and actually develop a plan to deal with the economic challenges that Australia is facing," Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

The latest tests from the coalition are re-runs of legislation that failed in the previous parliament on a pair of welfare measures and mandatory prison sentences for pedophiles.

It has the backing it needs from crucial Senate crossbencher Jacqui Lambie to expand cashless welfare card trials across the country.

The cards, which quarantine 80 per cent of payments so they can only be spent on essentials, are currently in use across four trial sites in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.

"I've always been a big supporter of the cashless welfare cards - I've seen the result that has had," Senator Lambie told reporters in Canberra.

"I will say this, though, get those algorithms right because quite frankly it's taking you way too long, get it moving."

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson also backs the plan.

But Labor has confirmed it is still opposed to any national rollout of the scheme.

Deputy leader Richard Marles said the government hadn't shown enough proof of the cards' benefits.

"The auditor-general has been scathing about its effectiveness in the sites where it's being trialled. The evidence that the government is relying upon to do an extension of this is pretty skinny," he said.

Senator Lambie will also support legislation to drug test welfare recipients, but only if federal politicians are also screened for illicit substances.

Again, Mr Marles said there was limited evidence for the measure's effectiveness.

He thought of people in his Geelong-based electorate who had lost jobs when local car factories and an aluminium smelter closed down.

"The indignity that having worked your entire life, you're now at the age of 55 being asked to pee in a cup in order to get Newstart, it seems to me to be really unfair."


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