September 22, 2014

SUBJECT: Tony Abbott’s Budget in disarray; Tony Abbott forced into a humiliating backdown on Social Security Bills.


JENNY MACKLIN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND PAYMENTS: Thanks everyone. This morning we see Tony Abbott’s and Joe Hockey’s Budget in complete disarray.

When Joe Hockey stood up in the House of Representatives to present his Budget four months ago he announced horrific cuts to pensions, families and young people under the age of 30 on unemployment benefits. Labor has made it clear from that day that we stand with pensioners, we stand with families and we stand with young people against these unfair and harsh cuts and Labor’s position has not changed.

We have made it very clear to the Government that we are prepared to support sensible reforms - we made that clear months ago. But we will not support cuts to the pension, we will not support these massive cuts to young people under the age of 30 that will see some people live up to six months or longer with absolutely nothing.

JOURNALIST:  Are you expecting the Coalition to make changes to some of those measures?

MACKLIN:  Well we’ve certainly seen reports that the Government is prepared to come into the Parliament with a new Bill or split the Bills to only go forward with Labor’s proposed amendments.

I call on the Government to get real - support Labor’s amendments and scrap forever these cruel cuts that will hurt pensioners, hurt families and hurt young unemployed people.

JOURNALIST: So you’ve had no official approach from the Government?

MACKLIN: The Government understands our position, I’ve made that very clear to Kevin Andrews what our position is. We will not be supporting the changes or the cuts to indexation, we will not be supporting these cruel changes to young people under the age of 30 and we certainly will not be supporting for example changes to Family Tax Benefit Part B that would see families lose that payment when their youngest child turns six.

These are unfair and cruel changes and Labor will not support them.

JOURNALIST: How confident are you that you can keep the crossbenchers onside and avoid a reversal like we saw on the mining tax?

MACKLIN:  I certainly hope we will. I’ve been in discussions with Clive Palmer, I understand he supports Labor’s position. We hope that all of us in the Senate who are able to see a sensible path through against these cruel changes of the Government will stand firm and oppose the cuts to the pension, oppose the large cuts to family payments and oppose the cruellest cut of all which is saying to young people on unemployment benefits: you’re on your own without any support for up to six months.

JOURNALIST: What concerns does Labor have about the new security laws?

MACKLIN:  I understand that Mr Dreyfus will be making some public comments. Of course we want our security agencies to be properly resourced, that’s very important, but I’ll leave the detail to Mr Dreyfus.

JOURNALIST: Do you think the increase in security here at Parliament House is warranted given the reports of chatter?

MACKLIN: Well that’s a matter for our security agencies.

JOURNALIST: Do you feel safe at Parliament House though?

MACKLIN: Yes I do. Thank you.