SUBJECT/S: School Kids Bonus, Tony Abbott’s unfair and unaffordable paid parental leave scheme.
Jenny Macklin: Thanks everyone for joining us today. Just as we’re speaking in Parliament today, Australian families are receiving the SchoolKids Bonus in there pay packets and for 1.3 million Australian families this means $410 a year for a primary school child and $820 a year for a secondary school child. And of course the Abbott Government wants to abolish the SchoolKids Bonus. The Abbott Government is saying that the SchoolKids Bonus is tied to the mining tax, the SchoolKids Bonus was never paid for by the mining tax, the SchoolKids Bonus was an initiative of the Labor Government to help families with the cost of their children going to school.
So Labor wants to make sure the SchoolKids Bonus continues and we’re very pleased to see Mr Palmer today indicate that he will not support the abolition of the SchoolKids Bonus, this will be good news for families to hear that Labor and the Palmer Party will be making sure the SchoolKids Bonus stays.
Journalist: Just on the co-payment new research out today shows that the elderly and the mentally ill will be hit hardest by the co-payment. Does this now debunk the claim by Joe Hockey that everyone’s doing the heavy lifting?
Jenny Macklin: Well this new research out today from the University of Sydney shows exactly what we anticipated that the most vulnerable people in our community low income families and the elderly will pay the most for Joe Hockey’s harsh and in some ways brutal budget. The extra money to go to the doctor the extra money to pay for your medicines will hit those who are elderly the hardest, and that’s yet another reason why Labor will oppose these cruel measures of Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey in the Budget.
Journalist: It also says that people will put off putting off seeing the doctor because of this extra fee won’t that (inaudible)?
Jenny Macklin: The last thing we want is people delaying going to the doctor when they really need to. This $7 co-payment is a tax on going to the GP Labor will oppose it, we want to make sure that when people need to see a doctor they’re able to do so.
Journalist: Just back on the SchoolKids Bonus, Palmer has been talking about stripping that out from the Bill from the mining tax along with the low income super and also the income top-ups basically. Are you going to support pulling that out, is that just by the mechanics, will you support pulling them out in order to deal with them separately and hopefully defeat those measures?
Jenny Macklin: Of course Labor wants to make sure that the SchoolKids Bonus stays. We want to make sure that those 1.3 million Australian families who get the SchoolKids Bonus are able to continue to get that support. So we’ll do whatever we can to continue the SchoolKids Bonus and we look forward to Mr Palmer’s support in the Senate.
We will also be very pleased if there is support to continue the Low Income Superannuation Contribution, this low income super contribution gets paid to more than 3 million Australian people who are on low incomes, people earning less than $37,000 a year. We want to make sure that those people are able to get support from the Government to improve their superannuation savings. So we’ll once again do whatever we can in the Senate to protect the low income super contribution.
The third issue that you raised the Income Support Bonus is also a very important payment. When Labor introduced it it was worth around $210 a year for people on Newstart and Parenting Payment once again very low income Australians. Labor will do anything that we can to make sure we protect this payment in the Senate when it’s brought on for debate.
Journalist: What do you make of the suggestion of a HECS style loan instead of a paid parental leave scheme?
Jenny Macklin: Well first of all I would say about this new study done by the Centre for Independent Studies is that it’s another blow to Tony Abbott’s unfair and gold plated paid parental leave scheme. This report shows that Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme is unfair that more of the money from Tony Abbott’s scheme will go to wealthy women than will go to low income women. Labor introduced a fair and affordable paid parental leave scheme we want to make sure that parents of new babies do get support when the new baby comes along.
What we won’t support is Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme that will see so many wealthy women get paid up to $50,000 to have a baby. As to this new idea that parents could take out more debt to finance paid parental leave, we certainly won’t support that sort of an approach it would just load more families having a new baby with more debt.
Journalist: Have you had any discussion with Mr Palmer or any of his Senators about these measure that they’re now on board with?
Jenny Macklin: I haven’t spoken to Mr Palmer myself.
Journalist: And his Senators?
Jenny Macklin: No.
CONTACT: CATHERINE CHARLESON 0419 987 947