Sunrise apologises for “dole bludgers” line

Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr has apologised for referring to “dole bludgers” early this morning.

“New figures have been released showing just how many dole bludgers are trying to take advantage of the welfare system,” she said in an introduction to the story.

The issue, which drew upon a News Corp “Jobless Bludgers” article, was revisited later in the programme, but with the wording then excised from editorial.

It formed part of a Hot Topics discussion which questioned the timing of the figures being released and canvassing political motivations.

Justin Smith from 2GB said, “They sent out these figures in hopes we start to call people dole bludger is and look at them and tell them what terrible people they are. I think this is a disgraceful tactic from Michaelia Cash.”

WA Senator Michaelia Cash, interviewed later, added, “Many people would believe we are a nation of dole bludgers, only 2% who have received financial penalties are repeat offenders.”

With Sunrise drawing criticism on social media, Barr acknowledged the error on Twitter: “This was badly phrased and later corrected. I apologise.”


  1. It might be worth your while, even if only to show you have more integrity than politicians, not that that shouldn’t be difficult, to be cognisant of the fact that at December 2018, there were more than 15 unemployed people for every 1 genuine job vacancy. I expect gutter from the gutter that is politics, but if you purport to be an independent news outlet, why don’t you try showing it?

  2. carolemorrissey

    It infuriates me when so called professional news readers refer to ‘dole bludgers’. It’s bad enough when the Libs & Murdoch rags do it. I expect better from news readers than to just parrot that. It is an offensive & derogatory term & very unprofessional. Most unemployed people are in their 50’s & 60’s, a lot with health issues, with not much chance of getting a job through no fault of their own.

    • The majority of Newstart recipients are under 45 (just over 51% ). 25% of Newstart recipients are aged 55 and over.

      They shouldn’t be tarring the majority of recipients with failures of the minority, and the ‘dole bludgers’ term is dumb. The standard of reporting right across the media on Centrelink and the payments it administers is appallingly bad.

    • To be fair to news readers, particularly ones like Nat that are part of a live 3.5 hour show with so many moving parts – they read what’s in front of them on the tele prompter. There’s a good chance she thought ‘what the hell?’ as she was reading it, but what can she do in the moment? Kudos to her for owing it and offering an apology later.
      Sunrise is more or less just a televised Murdoch tabloid anyway, so it’s no surprise this kind of thing happens form time to time.

  3. It’s good to see people are calling out the over used ‘dole bludger’ rhetoric (thrown around by the govt to hide the real issues) & that people generally care enough that a tv personality apologizes for it. I couldn’t see that happening a decade ago & i suspect now members of the general public who once used such phrases may have fallen upon tough times themselves in the more recent economic climate & so are now more understanding.

  4. For the likes of Today and Sunrise, just stop with these “Hot Topics” segments clearly you can’t handle serious debate in a serious way, you aren’t adding anything to the debate, you’re making it worse. Leave it to the likes of ABC and Sky News and stick to fluff pieces and handing out money from an intern in a cow suit.

  5. Maev....Sydney

    I don’t normally watch morning TV or this show when I do…but I did this morning…got sucked into the Cash Cow…first and last time…but the whole show was this…going on about how people had their benefits cancelled….Cash then said…when asked for how long….oh a few hours….*sigh*…someone missed an appointment or was running late….made a mountain out of a molehill….

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