Families Minister Jenny Macklin stirred controversy this week when she said she could live on the unemployment benefit of $35 a day.
Under changes that came into effect on New Year's Day, thousands of single parents lost their parenting payments and were moved onto Newstart, leaving some of them more than $100 per week worse off.
The Coalition now says it is willing to consider a temporary increase to the Newstart allowance, with conditions.
Opposition families spokesman Kevin Andrews told The Weekend Australian that any increase should not be a long-term entitlement without "concerted efforts on the part of the recipient to find work".
"The ALP has cut training funds, which effectively means people will find it even harder to get the job they are seeking," he said.
"There needs to be a genuine recommitment to getting the unemployed both ready for and into work."
The newspaper also reported the Coalition was considering backing a higher income-free threshold, so that unemployed people could work more hours before starting to lose benefits.
"We're going to consider the report and its findings," he said.
"There's no doubt this Government is very sensitive to those people on low incomes. It's for that reason we increased, for example, the pension to historic levels.
"Now we have to properly consider if in fact it's in the interests of recipients of Newstart to increase the allowance."
He said the main priority was to get single parents into employment.
"Our focus must be looking to ensure parents get an opportunity to work," he said.
"The worst thing we can possibly do, for not only the parents, but for their children, is to leave them indefinitely unemployed so that the children grow up in jobless households."
The Greens say they will introduce a private members bill to increase the Newstart allowance by $50 per week when Parliament resumes in February.
Acting Greens leader Adam Bandt says the mining tax should be reformed to cover the $2 billion per year required to fund the proposal.
"We believe that the cost of $2 billion per year is something that Australians are willing to pay, especially when we know that would be about a quarter of what an improved mining tax would bring in," he said.