MP Barnaby Joyce said he couldn't live on just $50 a day, the new rate of the JobSeeker payment as of New Years' Day.
For over a million unemployed or young Australians, the new year meant a pay cut of about $10 a day down to the new rate of just $715.70 a fortnight from $815.70.
The former Deputy Prime Minister told the Leader the rate "needs to be more" than just the now $50 a day.
"It's probably not enough. It probably needs to be more than that. I don't know how much," he said.
"I'd hate to try to live on $50 a day."
It's not the first time the now a backbench MP has disagreed with his own party's decisions on the welfare rate.
In 2019, Mr Joyce called for an increase to the old Newstart rate of just $40 a day. He told media at the time that rural electorates like his are among the poorest in the country.
At the height of the pandemic crisis about one-in-six residents of his electorate of New England paid their bills thanks to JobSeeker payments.
The coronavirus pandemic triggered a temporary doubling of the rate to $80 a day under the new name JobSeeker.
But the scheme was cut back throughout the pandemic and is scheduled to be cut back again to the pre-COVID amount of $40 a day at the end of March.
Mr Joyce said "there's no way you could support yourself on that amount"
But he made a distinction between the genuinely unemployed and people who are just lazy.
"The other thing I'd say is the best unemployment benefit is to get yourself employed. There are jobs around. People are genuinely unemployed need to be genuinely helped. The only place they get money from is other people working and paying taxes," he said.
"There are some - not all - who just make a choice not to work. That is just as unacceptable as $50 a day."
About 1.3 million Australians receive the payment. Another 340,000 young people receive a similar amount of money through the Youth Allowance payment.
Unemployed Workers' Union spokesperson Kristin O'Connell said this latest cut had been a "real blow" to them.
"People woke up this morning not only with a pay cut but I think without the optimism that a lot of people were feeling for the new year and their hopes for 2021," she said.
"People living on JobSeeker were telling us constantly about how much their mental health and their physical health improved with the increased rate and being protected from job agencies, with mutual obligations being suspended.
"Today is a real blow to everyone who is now sitting there struggling to think about how they're going to rejig their budget, what they can possibly cut."
She said unemployed people are "desperate to work".
"We know for a start that there are very few jobs and that often the jobs that are available don't match the skills of people who are looking for work.
"Anglicare put out a study at the end of last year that showed there was one job at entry level for 106 jobseekers looking for work. So there are huge barriers to work for anyone on payments."
The Commonwealth Government was forced to pay $1.2 billion in compensation to more than 370,000 Newstart recipients earlier this year after it was successfully sued over its unlawful robodebt program.