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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 996


Senator CAROL BROWN (Tasmania) (15:23): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Attorney-General (Senator Brandis) to a question without notice asked by Senator Brown today relating to the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017.

My question today to Senator Brandis was about the omnibus bill and the cuts that are contained within it that will affect pensioners, families, young people and many, many more. This bill represents $5.6 billion in cuts to Australian families. My question to Senator Brandis was whether he had spoken and explained these cuts to One Nation, because it is very important, as we look at the proposal that will come before the Senate, that One Nation understands exactly who will be affected by these cuts and by this bill that will come here.

Senator Hanson should come clean—she must come clean—on where she stands on this unfair omnibus bill. Australian families deserve to know. One Nation need to understand that these cuts will have a significant impact on families, on new mums, on pensioners, on people with disability, on carers and on young job seekers. They want to know where One Nation stands. Does One Nation stand alongside those on the other side—the Liberal Party and the Nationals—on the side of harsh cuts to everyday Australians? Or will they, as the Labor Party will, oppose the government's cuts and stand on the side of fairness and of hardworking Australian families and pensioners? It is important to know.

Senator Brandis: Of course you will, even though you advertise them as your own cuts!

Senator CAROL BROWN: Perhaps Senator Brandis would care to listen, because he did not seem to understand in question time what this bill is proposing to do. It is important, I believe, to outline just what these cuts will mean for Australians.

They include cuts to family tax benefits—cuts that will leave a typical family on $60,000 over $750 a year worse off. They include cuts to paid parental leave that will leave 70,000 new mums worse off. They include scrapping the energy supplement—a $1 billion cut for pensioners, people with disabilities, carers and Newstart recipients. They include a five-week wait for Newstart, forcing young people to live on nothing for five weeks. We have had this before the Senate before and it has been rejected. To expect people living on Newstart to live on nothing for five weeks before they can access income support is completely and utterly disgraceful. They include cuts to young people between the ages of 22 and 24 by pushing them onto the lower rate of youth allowance—a cut of around $48 a week, which is a cut of around $2½ thousand a year. They include scrapping the pensioner education supplement and the education entry payment. They include a cut to the pension of migrant pensioners who spend more than six weeks overseas. These are some of the $5.6 billion worth of cuts that are wrapped up in this bill.

I ask the question and the Australian people ask the question: does One Nation support the Turnbull government's cuts in this bill, or will they stand with Labor? Will One Nation stand up for pensioners? Will they stand with Labor to make sure that this bill is rejected? Will they fight these cuts? Will they oppose this bill? They are the questions One Nation needs to answer because this bill is an absolute attack on the most vulnerable people in Australia. Those people are the ones that are saying to One Nation: 'Do not support this bill. Do not support this government in their attack on us.' (Time expired)