Welfare legislation passed by the Senate to allow the blanket imposition of compulsory income management is an "invasion of private lives, a denial of dignity, and a removal of self-determination", says the St Vincent de Paul Society.
"In passing this degrading legislation the Parliament has turned its back on the fundamental human rights of low-income Australians," said Vinnies National Council Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon.
"It is extremely disappointing to see political points being scored on the backs of people who are doing it tough.
"It is inconceivable to us that a Government that has committed itself to a social inclusion agenda can act in such a disrespectful manner to people who are unemployed or who are struggling on a low income to raise a young family," said the society's National President Mr Syd Tutton.
"This policy worsens the social and financial divide in Australia. You can't build a strong economy on the back of a fractured society."
Meanwhile, Dr Falzon writes in Eureka Street today that preventing homelessness is a justice issue that requires political will.
"The founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society, 19th century French activist academic, Frederic Ozanam, wrote: 'Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveller who has been attacked. It is the role of justice to prevent the attack.'
"We would be poorer as a nation without the outpouring of human kindness through charities. But the prevention of homelessness should be seen as a matter of justice, and for that charity is no substitute."
While participating in last week's CEO Sleepout, Dr Falzon said the most "useful element" from the experience was a presentation given by a couple of people who had been experiencing homelessness.
"Basic Rights not BasicsCard" - St Vincent de Paul Society (St Vincent de Paul Society)
CEOs in sleeping bags (Eureka Street)