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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 3436


Senator BERNARDI (10:57 AM) —I just have some general questions, which we could clear up in a few minutes if I address them to the minister now. The minister may be aware that in the past I have raised the issue of the eligibility of those having late-term abortions to access the baby bonus. There are a number of coalition senators who are concerned with regard to the availability of government funds for a late-term abortion.

When I raised this, Minister Macklin denied that it was a loophole in the legislation. She was subsequently corrected, and the department assured me that it would be corrected by a change in the forms. The advice I have received, and the concerns of a number of coalition senators and also some in the wider community are that the same criteria will be applied to the paid parenting payment as applies to the baby bonus in that a baby that is deemed stillborn would be eligible for the paid parenting payment. There is some concern that those who undertake or have a late-term abortion would still be eligible for the paid parenting payment.

This is not a political point-scoring exercise; this is a genuine concern because I feel, and a number of other individual senators and community people feel, that it is inappropriate. I am seeking a comment from the minister with regard to this, and an assurance that, barring fraud or misrepresentation by a doctor or medical professional, this payment will not be available to those undergoing voluntary terminations.