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Tuesday, 14 October 2003
Page: 21312

Mr SWAN (3:38 PM) —My question without notice is directed to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that families of children with the six disabilities added to the list of automatic qualifying conditions for carer allowance on 12 August were told by Senator Vanstone that they:

... will now be eligible for the carer allowance without the need for further medical assessment prior to their 16th birthday ...

Is the Prime Minister aware that yesterday Senator Patterson admitted that these families will have their automatic qualification status reviewed in two years time despite Senator Vanstone's promise? Prime Minister, has Senator Vanstone misled carers or has Senator Patterson got her facts wrong again? Prime Minister, when will this government take some action to defend these families who are tormented by your review?

The SPEAKER —Before I recognise the Prime Minister, I would point out to the member for Lilley, as would have been painfully evident to him, that the term `your review' is inappropriate.

Mr Swan —The government's review.

The SPEAKER —I thank the member for Lilley for correcting the record.

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —In answer to the honourable member for Lilley, I am not aware of the statements that were made by Senator Patterson yesterday. As the member is plainly aware, I was not here yesterday. I will investigate what he has put and if there is something that should be said or done it will.