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Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Page: 8354

Family Payments and Support

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Minister, how is the government supporting Australian families into the future? What risks exist to the system of family payments and how is the government addressing these?

Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) (15:02): I thank the member for Cunningham for her question. This government is serious about supporting families and has delivered a number of improvements over the last four years to make sure that Australian families are getting more support. We understand just how important it is for families, as they sit down every fortnight to balance their family budgets, that they have some certainty about what is going to happen into the future.

One thing that families can be sure about is that this government will deliver next year around $20 billion combined through the family tax benefit, the baby bonus and paid parental leave. Families can also be certain that they will receive a number of improvements that this government has put in place. This government has put in place the 50 per cent childcare rebate; paid parental leave; the education tax refund; and, very importantly for families with older teenagers, from 1 January next year a higher rate of family tax benefit part A for those families with teenagers aged 16 to 19 in full-time secondary study. Of course, none of these improvements were put in place by the previous Liberal government.

I am asked about risks to Australian families. The biggest risk to family budgets is coming from this Leader of the Opposition. Every single person in this chamber today knows that this Leader of the Opposition will do anything for a sound bite on the six o'clock news. While this government was working very hard during the budget to deliver a sustainable footing for our family payments system, everybody will recall that this Leader of the Opposition during the budget reply had that little sound bite about 'forgotten families'. But then when it came to the vote in here, this Leader of the Opposition forgot about them. He will say one thing at one point in time to one group of people and then of course, when it came to the vote in this House of Representatives, this Leader of the Opposition voted for the changes that the government had put in the budget—exactly the same performance in this budget that this Leader of the Opposition went along with back in 2009.

We know that exactly the same behaviour has taken place from this Leader of the Opposition when he said, I am sure people will remember, that under any government—

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I hesitate to use the phrase that you talked about before, but I cannot understand how this could possibly be directly relevant. It is an unmitigated attack on the Leader of the Opposition—a weak attack on the Leader of the Opposition as well—in a question about family tax payments.

The SPEAKER: The member for Sturt will resume his place. The question went on to ask about risks and how the government was addressing those risks. The minister has the call.

Ms MACKLIN: Everyone will recall this Leader of the Opposition going out on the six o'clock news telling people that there would be no new taxes on business under a government that he led. There would be no new taxes on business and then a few days later this Leader of the Opposition announced a great big new tax to pay for his paid parental leave scheme.

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister has concluded.