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Government misled over Senate scrutiny "delay"

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Fri, 6th February 2009

GOVERNMENT MISLED OVER SENATE SCRUTINY "DELAY" Senator the Hon Eric Abetz Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Evidence presented to the Senate Committee today by Centrelink has confirmed that Labor misled the Senate in an effort to ram their stimulus package through the Parliament with little scrutiny.

Under questioning from Coalition Senators, Centrelink today admitted to the Committee that passage of the legislation next week will have no effect on their capacity to meet the Government’s proposed timeline.

Finn Pratt, CEO, Centrelink stated to the Committee this morning: “If the Parliament passes this legislation next week as currently presented, we will be able to implement for the 11 March”.

“The Government have misled the Senate in an attempt to ram through their $42billion economic package”, Opposition Senate Deputy Leader, Eric Abetz said today.

“In the Senate yesterday, Senate Leader Chris Evans accused non-government Senators of unnecessarily delaying the provision of cash payments under the stimulus package proposed for payment in March.

“Senator Evans stated that the Bills needed to be passed this week “to make sure that we do not miss the proposed dates to get those payments to families”.

“And the Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig stated: “without urgent passage of these bills the Senate is putting the timely delivery of these payments in jeopardy.”

“Labor tried to bully the Senate yet again, but in so doing they have confirmed that nothing they say can be trusted.”

“Labor’s package should be scrutinised and approached with cynicism given they have proven yet again that they prefer spin over substance.

“This is $42 billion of taxpayer funds and approval for $200 billion of debt.

“Labor’s shameful attempt to ram this bill through the Parliament highlights their contempt for the Senate, and current and future generations of Australian taxpayers.

“When the Senate commences on Monday, both Senator Evans and Senator Ludwig should apologise for misleading the Senate,” Senator Abetz said.