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Parliament House, Canberra: transcript of doorstop interview: disability support pension changes.

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SWAN: Today rallying in Canberra are many people with

disabilities who are here to protest their treatment by the Howard Government not only in the recent Budget but also but also the refusal of the Howard Government to pay its fair share of the wages of disability workers in New South Wales. So, in New South Wales we are twelve days away from the closure of some essential services because of the refusal of the Howard Government to pay its fair share to support these workers who work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

They are also rallying here today not just because of the problems in New South Wales but because of the Howard Government’s attempts to cut the pensions of many people on Disability Support by $52 a fortnight; directly in breach of the Prime Minister’s commitment during the election not to cut anyone’s benefit; directly in breach of the commitment they gave in this pamphlet which went to every Disability Support Pensioner before the election. So the people rallying here today know how unfair the Howard Government’s treatment is of people with significant disabilities.

What we are going to see today is the human face and the human reaction to these very harsh and mean Howard Government policies.

JOURNALIST: What is your view of Senator Hill’s comments about a first strike…?

SWAN: Well I’ll leave that to our foreign affairs spokesperson,

I’m the Family and Community Services spokesperson.

JOURNALIST: Are you worried about the threat of a double dissolution over the disability crackdown or the PBS cuts?

SWAN: I am not worried about the Government’s threats of a

double dissolution in terms of their cuts to Disability Support Pensions or their increases in the price of pharmaceuticals. These are harsh measures that are going to impact on the living standards of Australian families and Australian pensioners. The Government is directly in breach of commitments they gave prior to the election. If they want a double dissolution on those issues we will be very happy to fight and win that election.

ENDS Wed 19 June 02 Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329

Wayne Swan MP Manager of Opposition Business Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

Web: Matthew Linden on 0410 643 525