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Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Page: 878

Mr SNOWDON (Lingiari) (18:07): This afternoon we heard something which I think was an illustration of where this government is coming from. This afternoon in question time the Prime Minister, in response to a question about these matters, said, 'It's not all beer and skittles.' Dead right it's not all beer and skittles! It is not all beer and skittles for small businesses in this country. It is not all beer and skittles for families in this country.

Let's make it very clear. At this last election we went to the polls and in my electorate I canvassed the community on the issue of the schoolkids bonus. In fact I can tell you, certainly without debate from my perspective, that the reason I am here is because I campaigned on that very issue in bush communities. Remember, 40 per cent of my constituents are Aboriginal people living in remote communities—the poorest Australians. The average age in the Northern Territory is 30 years. It is the youngest constituency in this country. Aboriginal people have large families. These kids are the most disadvantaged in the nation and they live in communities with the highest cost of living in the nation. They have benefited from the schoolkids bonus more than almost any other Australians would have.

Yet now we have got to tell them that it's not all beer and skittles, that you've just got to cop it, because the Prime Minister went to the last election saying to the Australian people: 'We're going to give you one up the ribs. You'll feel it all right, because we're going to take away the schoolkids bonus. We're going to affect your lives in a way no other government has done and we're going to do it to make sure you feel it.' And today we had confirmation that that is what it was meant to do. It was designed to hurt the community. And he stands up here, proud as punch, and says, 'Well, we had to tell the community it's not all beer and skittles.'

Dead right it's not all beer and skittles—a disgusting episode by a Prime Minister who should have more faith in the Australian community. Not only the Prime Minister; but all of those people on the other side who go into their communities and no doubt tell all the families, the low-income earners, what this is going to do to them. How many of them actually went to the election telling people that they were going to abolish the schoolkids bonus? How many of them? How many of them went to the last election saying they were going to abolish the income support bonus? How many said they were going to abolish the low-income superannuation contribution? Not one of them. That is the truth of it—not one of them. Did they go out knocking on doors saying, 'Oh, by the way, how many kids have you got?'

Mr Briggs: Did you tell them you were going to put a carbon tax in place?

Mr SNOWDON: I support the carbon tax. Let's be very, very clear. When you have knocked on the doors of those people you were doorknocking and you saw them walk out the front door with three or four kids, did you tell them, 'Oh, by the way, the money you're getting for those kids'—$400 here, $600 here, added up to $1,200 per family across the country as the average—'will go'?You know very well, you proud wearers of that great mantle of the Liberal Party, that you went to the Australian community knowing that you were not going to tell them any detail.

Mrs Griggs interjecting

Mr SNOWDON: You tell me, Member for Solomon, which of your community members did you tell you were going to take money off them? Not one. You are shameful.

The SPEAKER: The member for Lingiari will refer to people by their title.

Mr SNOWDON: You're shameful, you're shameful, you're shameful, and you know you're shameful.

The SPEAKER: The member for Lingiari will resume his seat, because when you get the call again I will require you to address members by their proper title. I give the call back to the member for Lingiari.

Mr SNOWDON: I am so pleased, thank you. But let's be clear: in my community this will have a dramatic impact on the lives of thousands of people. Thousands of families are going to suffer as a direct result of this—and those opposite simply do not care. I know that every Australian, particularly those who are low-income earners, are ruing the day, if they did vote for the Liberal Party, that they voted for them. They now know that they are going to be deliberately hurt by this government. The Prime Minister admitted it today when he said, 'Look, they just have to accept life's not all beer and skittles.'