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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 2048

Pensions and Benefits


Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (15:03): My question is to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform. Will the minister outline for the House the government's achievements for Australian families and pensioners? How will the government keep delivering for families and pensioners into the future?


Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (15:04): I thank the member for Hindmarsh very much for that question because I know how much he does, particularly for families and pensioners, in his electorate of Hindmarsh. It is, of course, the case that this government has been getting on with the job of delivering real assistance to both pensioners and households. If you go firstly to the millions of pensioners in Australia, it is this government that delivered the most substantial improvements to the pension and, compared to when the Leader of the Opposition was in government, pensioners are now getting $148 a fortnight extra if they are single pensioners on the maximum rate. That certainly has helped pensioners with their difficulties when it comes to meeting cost-of-living pressures.

The government is also doing many things to help families. It is this government that has increased the childcare rebate to make sure that it does provide that extra assistance with out-of-pocket costs when parents need to take their children to child care and it is this government that has helped parents with the costs of education, most recently with the cost of school uniforms. And, of course, it is this government that has made sure that it improves assistance for those parents who have got older teenagers who are staying on at school—not like those opposite, who are so out of touch and who have got no idea about the costs of older teenagers. It is this government that has made sure that it delivers to those parents, and they are now getting up to $4,200 extra a year to make sure that they can meet the costs of their children.

Mr Albanese: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: is it in order for the member for Bowman to make claw signs across the chamber at the minister for families and community services while she is addressing the question? We have dealt with these sorts of issues before, Mr Speaker—

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat.

Mr Albanese: and when we have had these issues before this Prime Minister has shown leadership.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat. The action of the member for Bowman reflects on him. I expect he will not do it again. The minister has the call.

Ms MACKLIN: Of course it was this Labor government that introduced Australia's first national paid parental leave scheme, and so far we have seen around 130,000 families get the benefit of that. We have just heard that there has been a row in the Liberal Party in Broome today. Many of the Leader of the Opposition's colleagues do not agree with his policy on paid parental leave. They know that what he wants to do is impose a new tax on Australian families.

The SPEAKER: The minister will return to the substance of the question.

Ms MACKLIN: This government wants to cut taxes for Australian families. The Leader of the Opposition wants to impose a new tax.

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister will resume her seat, and the minister will not defy me in future. Even ministers are not immune from the standing orders.










Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (15:08): My supplementary question is to the same minister. The minister talked about benefits we have delivered for families and pensioners across the nation, but what has this meant for my community in Hindmarsh?


Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (15:08): I thank the member for Hindmarsh for his question. He does have an electorate with a lot of pensioners living in it, and I can inform him and the pensioners who live in Hindmarsh that more than 28,400 pensioners in Hindmarsh will benefit from the boost to the pension that the government will deliver as part of our clean energy future package. I can also inform the member for Hindmarsh that 53,000 taxpayers in Hindmarsh will receive a tax cut in the middle of this year. Fifty-three thousand taxpayers in Hindmarsh are going to be better off as a result of this Labor government. I can also inform the member for Hindmarsh that up to 2,600 families in his electorate will receive increased family payments for their teenagers who stay at school and more than 8,200 families in Hindmarsh will receive extra support through their family payments in the middle of this year.

These are the real benefits that the government are delivering to people in Hindmarsh because we understand how important it is. We know exactly the pressures that they are under. This Prime Minister and this Treasurer are making sure that the people in the electorate of Hindmarsh are looked after in the way that all Labor members understand is so important. (Time expired)

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition has the call.

Mr Abbott: I move—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Leader of the Opposition, you said, 'I move', did you?

Mr ABBOTT: I did. I am happy to say something else if you would like me to, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: I thought it was going to be original.

Mr Albanese: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In accordance with standing orders, question time is concluded at 3.10 pm. So, if the Prime Minister could do that, the Leader of the Opposition could then have his show by himself. But everyone else should not have to wait to hear it.

The SPEAKER: The timing for question time is within the competence of the Prime Minister. However, I did give the call to the Leader of the Opposition, who I suspect is going to move a motion to suspend standing and sessional orders. The government might be benevolent with the time for question time today. The Leader of the Opposition has the call.

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Prime Minister.

The SPEAKER: No. I believe I distinctly heard the Leader of the Opposition say, 'I move'.

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, if you wish me to do that I will do so.

The SPEAKER: No. The only reason I gave the Leader of the Opposition the call is that I saw him first and I thought he was moving a motion to suspend standing and sessional orders. The Leader of the Opposition sought to move a motion and then he sought to ask a question. I will ask the Leader of the Opposition to resume his seat. I will allow the Prime Minister to ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.

Ms Gillard: Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.