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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3278


Mr MITCHELL (McEwen) (15:03): My question is to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. What responsible decisions has this government made to ensure we have a fairer system to support families? What other approaches are there?

Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (15:03): I thank the member for McEwen for his question, because this Labor government is about building a stronger and fairer society and one that has a sustainable family payment system—something that this side of the parliament is absolutely committed to. It was this government that delivered Australia's first national paid parental leave scheme. It is this government that has, of course, introduced the Schoolkids Bonus to make sure that when children are going back to school each year they get that extra support, and they get it from this government. We know that those opposite are intent on cutting the Schoolkids Bonus—clawing it back and taking it out of the pockets of every single family that depends on it.

We will continue to make sure that families get the support that they need, and that is why we have made some difficult decisions—some tough choices—in this budget. We have decided that we need to make some changes to the family payments system, end the baby bonus and make sure that we better target support for newborns. So what we have done in this year's budget is make these changes that will still see the vast majority of families get an increased payment when they have a newborn as part of their family tax benefit part A payment. This new payment better reflects the essential costs of having a newborn baby. Many of the other families who will be no longer eligible for the baby bonus will be eligible for our paid parental leave scheme.

We have made these changes because we know how important it is to fund the very significant investments that we intend to make in schooling for our children to make sure that right out into the future there will be the funding available so that every child in this country gets a great education. These are tough choices, but choices that this government has been prepared to make.

The member for North Sydney talks about responsibility, talks about the need to make these sorts of tough choices in the family payments system, but when we put these to the parliament he takes them to his party room and gets rolled—not able to maintain any position. We know the latest debate that is going on inside the party room of those opposite is to do with the—

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Successive speakers over many years have ruled that it certainly is not within purview of cabinet ministers to discuss opposition policies let alone things that happen in another party's party meetings. The minister is completely out of order and you should draw her back to the question.

The SPEAKER: The minister has the call, will be relevant to the question and should not be discussing issues outside her portfolio.

Ms MACKLIN: This government will make sure that families are looked after. We will make sure that we deliver the funding that all of the children in this country need to get a great education. (Time expired)

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