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Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Page: 13924

Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (16:03): For those who are listening to this debate, and for those in the gallery, it behoves me to actually enter into the debate of what was said by the member for Longman and especially the member for Eden-Monaro. The member for Eden-Monaro stood up in this room and said that the Liberal and National parties have cut education funding. Since we were elected and since the former Labor government, funding to all of your schools has increased by 41 per cent. That's the truth—a 41 per cent increase.

I noticed a lot of hilarity on the Labor benches today. The member for Longman talked about 'battling working families' in her electorate. I want to say something to those of you who have been around a while, especially those of you who talk in this place about women's issues. It was the Labor Party that took families with single parents—mostly women—from parenting payment onto—

Ms Macklin: You voted for it.

Mr Rob Mitchell: You did it first.

Mr BROADBENT: I'm telling you who proposed it. You know who proposed it. You plunged those families into poverty, and we're still struggling with the issues today. They had three- or four-year-old kids who would go to early childhood education centres. And you know you regret doing that. We are now dealing with the consequences of that all this time later, down the years. Why wasn't the Labor Party protecting the women of Australia who were single parents then? Why is that? You didn't think about the women across this nation who were single parents and deserved a better go than you gave them when you were in government. Why did you take money off those single-parent families? They're the ones that are affected right now—in their education, in what they can spend. If those women were in a regional area, they were impacted even further than women living in an urban area.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr BROADBENT: I don't want a lecture from any of you. I know what you did. In the report on intergenerational welfare we're doing now, I'm working through the consequences of that, which your colleagues were very much a part of. It is a huge disappointment to me that I have been part of a parliament that actually treated a cohort of our community—those being single-parent families, the parent mostly being a woman—like that. Where were you in standing up for those women at that time? But I didn't get up to talk about that. I got up to talk about the early learning training centres—

Ms Rishworth: Funding the preschool—

Mr BROADBENT: I won't have a lecture from you, Member for Kingston. You're out of order, and you know you're out of order.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr BROADBENT: I am angry. I am angry. There are women in your electorate in South Australia that are struggling today because they're single parents. You may have a program going into the future that's visionary for kids and early education—and I think that's great because I too know that's good. I know it works. My grandchildren come home with all sorts of things from early childhood education that they don't get from home. You may accuse me of being angry, but we're dealing with the consequences today—a cohort of people who are poor—of decisions we made in this House.

Mr Dick: Cutting their penalty rates?

Mr BROADBENT: Mouths like that won't do you any good either. Today, those that have gone from parenting payment to Newstart are struggling in a way that they shouldn't be struggling in a nation like this, and the women of this parliament should understand that better than anybody else. We have a job to do for those families and we haven't done the right thing by them. If you want to talk about early childhood intervention, we've spent $5,000 at the children's centre at Korumburra and we've just turned the first sod for the Warragul centre, and they're going to be visionary places for kids to learn, into the future. And you know all the reasons why we're doing it—because the infrastructure in country areas has been a disgrace, and we're now spending money on that.

But I reiterate that we have a job to do for single-parent families. Whoever the government is after the next election, it needs to put some real effort—this whole parliament needs to put some real effort—into those families, who are doing it harder than any other families.