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Transcript of press conference: Western Sydney: 4 March 2013: Schoolkids Bonus; United Nations



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Transcript of press conference, Western Sydney

04 March 2013 Press Conference Location: Western Sydney

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Subject: Schoolkids Bonus, United Nations

JENNY MACKLIN: I’m very pleased to be here with Laurie Ferguson at Casula Primary School. We’re talking with parents and teachers about the Schoolkids Bonus and the benefit of the Schoolkids Bonus to of course the parents in this area. Many of the parents have more than one child and some of them have children at primary school and at secondary school. If you’ve got two children, over the school life of your children, the Schoolkids Bonus is worth around $15,000 to families in this part of Western Sydney. Tony Abbott has announced that he will take that money completely away from families. So families will lose $15,000 over the life of their children at school. Here in Western Sydney, this year we’ll spend more than $100 million on the Schoolkids Bonus. $100 million going to parents to help with the costs of sending your children to school. Tony Abbott will take that $100 million out of the pockets of parents.

REPORTER: Now the Coalition’s argument is they will take away those sorts of payments because their priority is getting the budget back in to surplus, that will strengthen the economy and everyone will benefit financially from a generally stronger economy. How do you counter that argument?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well that just shows how out of touch Tony Abbott is with the needs of families. You talk to the families here today, they are using this money to buy school shoes for their children, to pay for the school uniforms. Tony Abbott needs to understand that this money is needed by families, and the Labor Government cares about families, that’s why we want to make sure this money goes directly to families.

REPORTER: Laurie, being a Western Sydney representative, is the Schoolkids Bonus the sort of issue that local families raise with you as being a priority?

LAURIE FERGUSON: Absolutely. This school has (inaudible) classes. I was with parents there who come from Macquarie Fields and their children come to this school. It’s a school that’s valued and respected in this region, and quite frankly these aspiring people see education as their way up in life for the future of their kids. There is 12,000 families in this electorate alone that are effected, so it’s a central issue quite frankly.

REPORTER: And finally if I can just ask you on another separate issue, we’ve got the United Nations Human Rights Council writing to the Government saying they’re concerned about the movement of some people on single parent payments onto Newstart, concerning that it is breaching Australia’s international obligations on poverty and anti-discrimination. Are you taking the UN Human Rights Council’s concerns seriously?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well it’s in Bill Shorten’s portfolio so you should ask him.

REPORTER: But clearly it’s an area you’ve been engaged with.

JENNY MACKLIN: You should ask the relevant Minister.