Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed concerns that pushing people onto cashless welfare cards if they fail drug tests would further stigmatise them, as he piled pressure on Labor to support the bill.
Mr Morrison said government was in talks with independent senator Jacqui Lambie over its bid to expand the cashless welfare trial and drug test thousands of Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients.
The crossbencher has tied her support for the bill to rehabilitation beds for every person who failed the test, as well as drug screening for federal politicians.
Her demands mean the bill will not pass in this sitting fortnight.
Now Mr Morrison is leaning on Labor to support the legislation.
"The question is why won't Labor support a fair dinkum trial to actually try and deal with one of the biggest challenges we have and that is to try and help people break addictions and find themselves in employment and change their lives for the better?," Mr Morrison said.
However a researcher who had visited one of the trial sites of the card said people who had been forced onto them felt insulted, punished and degraded.
The card marked out those on welfare to shopkeepers and others, as it was a distinctive grey with the name "Indue" on it - the company contracted by the government to run the program.
"Those people keenly felt the stigmatising and shaming aspects of being on the card," Dr Eve Vincent told The Canberra Times.
But Mr Morrison dismissed the criticism.
"I don't accept that," he said.
He stressed the trial program would include $10 million to increase drug treatment and rehabilitation at trial sites.
"Remember this is a trial program, we want to see if this can be effective in achieving the goals we have set, that is to assist people who are struggling with addiction to break addiction and to be able to go forward and get themselves into employment and have a completely different life," Mr Morrison said.
"That's why we've put that $10 million in, that's what's currently there and that could mean that's $60,000 per person who would potentially be referred under this program and we see that as a positive investment because that investment can change someone's life."
His comments came after he spoke at a function for World Suicide Prevention Day.
A research paper commissioned by Suicide Australia has warned Australia's suicide rate will rise by 40 per cent in the next decade, unless risk facts like financial pressures and loneliness were addressed.
Mr Morrison said "all the resources of our government" were directed towards reducing suicide.
"We could not be more committed to taking on the challenge of our towards zero goal on suicide prevention," Mr Morrison said.