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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2521

Family Payments

Mr HUSIC (ChifleyGovernment Whip) (14:32): My question is to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform. Will the minister outline for the House how the government is getting the job done to support Australian families?

Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (14:33): I thank the member for Chifley very much for that question. He knows how important it is that this government keep working and keep delivering for Australian families, first and foremost doing everything to get families into jobs and, of course, delivering the support that families need with their most important job—that is, looking after their children.

One of the things that this government is very, very proud of is the implementation of the nation's first Paid Parental Leave Scheme. We have delivered that scheme. We now have 140,000 families who have registered for the scheme. Eighty thousand of those families have already taken their paid parental leave. What that has meant for those families is that they have not had to make the difficult choice that they had to make in the past when those opposite were in government, the very difficult choice of whether they would stay at home with their baby or go out to work. As a result of this government's efforts, families are now able to stay at home with their newborn babies, and we all know how important that is for the baby and of course for the parents. Many Australian families have written to the Prime Minister indicating how important this has been for them and their children, and we do understand how important it was for the government to do it—without whacking a great big new tax on business to pay for it.

We know from this Leader of the Opposition that he wants a Rolls-Royce scheme, but we have also had confirmed by the member for Goldstein just yesterday that they are going to whack a great big new tax on business to pay for the Leader of the Opposition's Rolls-Royce scheme. There are many people in the opposition who are now calling on the Leader of the Opposition—

Honourable members interjecting

Ms MACKLIN: He is even calling the member for Goldstein a faceless man! Over here we have the member for Goldstein, a faceless man—

The SPEAKER: Order! The minister—

Ms MACKLIN: who wants to introduce a new tax—

The SPEAKER: The minister will pause!

Ms MACKLIN: on everything.

The SPEAKER: The minister does not have the call at the moment. The minister was asked a question about how Australian families were going to benefit. I think even the minister would admit that she has seriously deviated from the substance of the question. She has made her point. She will now return to the specifics of the question.

Ms MACKLIN: The specifics of the question go to the benefits for families of paid parental leave, which this government is delivering. As the member for Goldstein has indicated, every single family will pay more under the opposition's great big new tax to deliver their Rolls-Royce scheme of paid parental leave.

Mr HUSIC (ChifleyGovernment Whip) (14:36): Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. The minister talked in her answer about the successful rollout of Australia's first paid Parental Leave Scheme. Why is it important for this to be delivered responsibly and at least cost to taxpayers and the economy?

Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (14:36): Once again I thank the member for Chifley. It is very important that it is delivered in a responsible way. We have delivered it so that families are getting 18 weeks of paid parental leave paid at the federal minimum wage. We know that those opposite want to deliver a paid parental leave scheme that would see very wealthy mothers get $75,000 of taxpayers' money to pay for it. Of course, it was this Leader of the Opposition who said he did not want to increase taxes. Now we have got the member for Goldstein saying that that is exactly what you are going to do. You cannot make up your mind. One day you are not going to introduce a new tax; the next day it is confirmed that you are going to have a great big new tax that everybody is going to pay more for every time they go to Coles and Woolies. Every time they go to the supermarket they will pay more because of your great big new tax.