May 13, 2015

Last year the Treasurer was full of insults about “lifters” and “leaners”. Remember how often we heard the Australian public divided into “lifters” and “leaners”? This year the Treasurer's insults go to “fraudsters” and “double dippers”. Last year it was lifters and leaners and now it is “fraudsters” and “double dippers”.

You just have to wonder: how low can this Liberal Government go?  Announcing on Mother’s Day that this Government would cut paid parental leave to around 80,000 new mothers.


That is what the Treasurer announced just a few days ago. How do they justify it? The Treasurer basically accused thousands of new mums of committing fraud. But I suppose, coming from the Treasurer, who thinks that poor people do not drive cars, none of us should be surprised.


But I was surprised that the new Minister for Social Services called mothers “rorters”. We know that the new Minister for Social Services is a wannabe Treasurer. Maybe this is the criteria for being the Treasurer in this Liberal Government: you go about insulting a whole range of people to justify a budget measure. That is exactly what the Minister for Social Services has done. How insulting, to call new mothers who want to spend a few extra weeks with their newborn babies “rorters”. That is exactly what the Minister for Social Services has done.


I find the conduct of the Prime Minister the worst. This is the Prime Minister who originally said that his policy on paid parental leave would be that any policy on paid parental leave would be introduced “over his dead body”. Actually, today in Question Time the Prime Minister said how important it was to have policy consistency. He said it was very, very important to have policy consistency. Some of us have got a good memory, and we remember him saying that paid parental leave should be introduced over his dead body.


Then, over two elections, he took his gold-plated paid parental leave scheme to the electorate. He said that we really should be paying very wealthy mothers $75,000 to have a baby.


Then he decided to scrap that “signature” policy, despite saying that it was a “fundamental conviction”. Now, in the mother of all insults, this Prime Minister is saying to around 80,000 mothers that they will be denied their paid parental leave.


Eighty thousand new mothers will lose—every single year if this Government gets its way—up to $11,500 from paid parental leave because of this Government's cuts. What this means in real life, for mothers and their babies, is that those new mums will have less time to spend with their newborn babies. That is what this Government's new policy is. That is exactly what this Prime Minister has done, in the most extraordinary of political and policy backflips that I have ever seen.


How can this Prime Minister ever be believed by any family in this country ever again? He has not a shred of credibility when it comes to supporting Australian families.


Just have a look at the cuts to family payments that are still in this Budget, that are going to see an average family on $65,000 a year with a couple of kids at school lose $6,000 a year.


How many of you have had the honesty to actually say to families in your electorates that each and every one of them have already voted for those cuts to family payments and they are in the budget again?