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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4313


Mr ANDREWS (Menzies) (14:30): My question is to the Prime Minister. How does the Prime Minister justify a cash giveaway to some Australians, designed as a schoolkids cash splash, while at the same time putting future generations of Australians further into debt by raising the debt ceiling to $300 billion. Why should Australians believe the government can competently deliver this cash giveaway when its $900 cash bonus was paid to dead people, horses, cats, dogs and Australians living overseas?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:31): To the member for Menzies, I say that is the arrogance of the opposition on display. It shows just how out of touch it is with the needs of working families. I hope that the member for Menzies contacts the 5,000 families in his electorate who are eligible for the schoolkids bonus and explains to them why he is coming into this parliament and voting against them getting that bonus. To the member for Menzies, let me say this: it is only members of the opposition who apparently fail to understand that families face cost-of-living pressures. Not one of them gets it; they are all going to vote against relief for working families. Not one of them understands Australian families and their needs today.

It is only members of the opposition who apparently imagine that you can send a child to primary school and somehow that costs you less than $410 a year, and that you can send a child to high school and somehow that costs you less than $820 a year. People who live in the real world—that is, people who are not members of the opposition—know that educating a child costs thousands of dollars. What this bonus is for is to provide a bit of relief to working families who are doing it tough. It is for families who are eligible for our family tax benefit system, families who are eligible for that relief because we know that they need it to make a difference to the cost of the winter school uniforms, to the cost of the shoes and to the cost of the excursions.

What have we heard back from the opposition to try to justify their position in not supporting the schoolkid bonus? The Leader of the Opposition was asked what the difference is between this and the baby bonus, because he supported the baby bonus. In a masterstroke in Australian politics, his answer was, 'Well, look, they just are'. And then, the shadow Treasurer, when asked what the difference is, said, 'there is a vast difference'. 'What?', he is asked. 'Well, you have to have a baby to get the baby bonus', he said. Apparently the shadow Treasurer does not know babies grow into school children! That is what happens: they grew into school children! And then you have the cost of sending the kids to school. How out of touch can these people be? How cosseted from the real world are they? How insulting of Australian families.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I put it to you that the Prime Minister would be directly relevant if, in fact, the schoolkids bonus was paid for education expenses but, in fact, it is not.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. Points of order are not to be abused. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: I thank the Manager of Opposition Business for illustrating my last point. These arrogant, cynical people think Australian families do not care about their kids. They think 1.3 million Australian families are going to take this money and not use it for the benefit of their families and their children. They are contemptuous of working children. (Time expired)