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More government broken promises

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Philip Ruddock MP Federal Member for Berowra Shadow Minister for Social Security Electorate

Tel: (02) 482 7111 Fax: (02) 482 7018

Parliament House Tel: (06) 277 4206 Fax: (06) 277 4178


Once again, it appears the Government is going to break more election promises made to Australian families.

Today's fraudulent leaking to the Sydney Morning Herald indicates the Government is again "softening-up the electorate" for proposed cuts to be introduced in the May Budget.

Reports of the Minister for Social Security's submission to Cabinet outlines changes to family payments which blatantly prove this Government can no longer be trusted when it comes to paym ents for families and childcare.

The Government also promised families and the ACTU a Maternity Allowance but if today's proposals are adopted it will cut other family payments and tax rebates to fund a more limited Allowance.

Mr. Baldwin is outlining proposals which limit payments to families with a total income of less than $65,000. This is in complete contrast to Mr. Keating's statement about child care made in Melbourne in February, 1993:

"... we don't regard child care as a welfare measure...We regard it as a recognition of child care as a work related expense. That is as a right to people, taxpayers with children who work."

The new Child Care Cash Rebate introduced less than 12 months ago is now to be means tested, contradicting Keating's promise made in February 1993 that:

"In recognition of the high cost of care, we will introduce a 30% cash rebate in addition to existing fee relief arrangements, for all families using child care while in employment, training, studying or looking for work."

It is proposed that the new Maternity Allowance, which was a condition of the Accord Mark VII promised by the Government to the ACTU last year be cut from 12 weeks to six and contrary to previous commitments by the Government, is to be means tested. It appears the Government will not honour its' undertaking.


It is proposed the Home Child Care Allowance now be means tested on total income, no longer solely on the income of the stay-at-home parent. This allowance was heralded by the Government at the last election, as a new and substantial initiative to improve the lot of Australian families. Whilst it was in the fine print, many families were not aware it would be substantially paid for by substituting it with the (with child) Dependent Spouse Rebate.

Home Child Care Allowance was only implemented six months ago and already the Government intends to walk away from its' promise.

Parenting Allowance is soon to be introduced. Mr. Keating stated on 4 August, 1994:

"When the parenting allowance is introduced the Home Child Care Allowance will be integrated into it. So what we are calling at this point, the Home Child Care Allowance, will in effect be the base level of the Parenting Allowance that will be free of any income test on the partner's income and it also be nontaxable..."

As an income test is now to be introduced this has been shown to be a blatant deception of Australian families.

The Dependent Spouse Rebate (with or without child) if changed as proposed would only be payable to those families with a total income of less than $65,000. The Coalition opposed the proposed initial changes to the Dependent Spouse Rebate just last year because many families would be worse off as a result. The new

means test if adopted, will mean even more families will now miss out.

Mr. Baldwin's proposals of means testing previously non-means tested payments and tax rebates makes the system more complex. This is in direct contrast with his statement less than two weeks ago, "Beyond the Safety Net" admitting that the

present system is too complex and in dire need of simplification.

In response to the proposed changes, Mr. Ruddock stated:

"The Government's failure to honour its' election commitments have once again proved that Keating and his colleagues will do or say anything to win an election and can now be seen for what it is, blatant electoral fraud."

Contact: Philip Ruddock MP pager (02) 925 3911 #25589.