June 24, 2014

SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s cruel attack on Pensioners, Families and Young People; Abbott Government ramming legislation through the House of Representatives. 

Jenny Macklin: Thanks very much everyone for joining us on this very freezing Canberra morning. 

Tony Abbott has just announced he intends to ram this legislation through the Parliament today. This legislation are the Bills that Tony Abbott is pushing through the Parliament that will see 3.2 million pensioners have their indexation cut, over ten years ACOSS estimates that that will cost pensioners, Age Pensioners, Disability Support Pensioners, Carers around $80 a week, that’s what’s in these Bills an $80 a week cut over the next ten years. 

This legislation also contains the measures that will see a cut family payments if you are a single income family on $65,000 with two school age children you will face a cut of nearly $6000 - $6000 to a family on $65,000 as a result of this legislation. 

And of course the cruellest cut of all, this legislation also contains the decision by the Abbott Government to say to young people under 30 that if you can’t find a job you will be off unemployment benefits for at least six months and maybe longer. This is an outrageous attack on the Australian way of life. And this Government is ramming this legislation through today giving the House of Representatives only three hours to discuss it. 

Journalist: But it’s facing defeat in the Senate so ramming it through the House of Representatives (inaudible)? 

Jenny Macklin: It just shows how extraordinarily arrogant this Government is that it’s seeking today to ram this legislation through the House of Representatives it knows that the Senate will oppose these measures. Labor will oppose the cuts to the pension, Labor will oppose these cuts to family payments, we think they are harsh measures they are cruel measures and of course Tony Abbott lied about all these issues before the last election. 

Journalist: have you sought meetings with the government? Is there any scope to negotiate because if you don’t you will (inaudible)? 

Jenny Macklin: Well we have of course asked for detailed briefings from the Government about some of these measures to make sure that we get all the detail we possibly can on the very serious impact that these measures will have on families. This really is up to Tony Abbott to recognise once and for all that these measures are cruel they should not be pursued. 

Tony Abbott said before the last election there would be no changes to pensions, no changes to pensions, and yet this legislation which will be rammed through the House today, will in fact cut the indexation for all pensions, age pensions, disability pensions, carers payment payments to single parents – all of those people will be hurt by this legislation and all this Government can do is arrogantly ram it through the House of Representatives. 

Journalist: The question is are you willing to let Clive Palmer take responsibility for this, who may change his mind on some of these measures? 

Jenny Macklin: Of course none of these measures will be successfully opposed without Labor. Labor will make sure that we stand for pensioners; we stand there side by side with Australian pensioners, with those families who need our support. We’ll make sure that we’re there with them in the Senate trying to stop these cruel and heartless measures ever becoming law. 


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