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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 11991

Family Payments

Ms MACKLIN (Jagajaga) (14:08): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is it true that a grandparent carer with a 15-year-old in their care will be about $2½ thousand a year worse off because of the government's proposed changes to family tax benefits?

Mr Nikolic interjecting

Mr Hutchinson interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bass and the member for Lyons will cease interjecting.

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:08): I thank the honourable member for the question, and I assume she is asserting that that is the case. No doubt later in question time the minister will be able to deal with a specific example of the kind she raises. But I just want to emphasise this point: when the childcare changes were made, which were—

Ms Macklin: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. I am talking about—

The SPEAKER: No. The member for Jagajaga will resume her seat. The member for Jagajaga will resume her seat. The member for Jagajaga is warned, and that is her final warning! The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr Nikolic interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bass will cease interjecting. The Prime Minister is 23 seconds into his answer.

Mr Brendan O'Connor interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Gorton is warned!

Mr TURNBULL: As I was saying before I was interrupted by the point of order, as the honourable member, the member for Jagajaga, said not so long ago, when she welcomed the government's changes to childcare arrangements—when she welcomed them—she said, 'They will have to be paid for somehow.' So changes have to be made. We live in a world of finite resources. Clearly we have got to allocate resources in a manner that ensures we get the best outcome for families, whether they are single-parent families, whether they are families where the grandparents are the primary carers, whether they are couples—but right across the board we have got to manage the finite resources we have in a manner that best supports those families and overall contributes to what I hope is a shared objective of incentivising and encouraging Australians to work, save and invest.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: The honourable member is interjecting, and he should understand that we are very familiar—I can assure you—on this side of the House, with the important role grandparents play. I can assure you of that.

This has been a feature of these changes that are being brought into the parliament today. We are seeking to secure agreement and passage for these changes through the House. We have taken into account the objections that have been made. We are not rejecting the criticism that has been made. We are taking it on board. We are adjusting the policies so that we can nonetheless achieve the savings we need to support the childcare policy and also support our progress towards a balanced budget in the future.

The honourable member has been a minister of the Crown. She knows very well the heavy responsibilities we all have in government to get the balance right. We cannot spend all the money that, in an ideal world, one would like to spend. We have to be careful and systematic. If the honourable member has specific challenges about a particular part of the policy, then she should raise them, and they will be taken into account. But we should not be trying to play an old-fashioned 'gotcha' game here in the House. Let us focus on substantive policy, just for a change.