April 28, 2015

SUBJECT/S: Nannies Trial; Tony Abbott’s Cuts to Families; Marriage Equality


JENNY MACKLIN, ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD: Thank you for coming here today. Many families have a number of concerns about the proposed changes that the Government has for the child care system. On the nannies announcement that was made today, the main questions families want answered is really: how is the Government going to make sure that the quality of care delivered by nannies is up to national standards? How is the working conditions of nannies and the safety of nannies going to be protected? And of course very importantly for families, how are families going to know and when are they going to know how much this nanny service is going to cost parents out of their own pockets? The Government has not answered any of these questions. Parents really are desperate to know what it will mean for them.


I think more broadly though, we have to remember that this trial is only for around 10,000 children. There are more than 1 million children in child care in Australia and families are anxiously waiting to find out what the Government’s child care changes will mean for them. How many families will be worse off? How many families will be excluded from the child care sector because of the Government’s changes? So it’s time the Government stops dripping out bits of information and come clean and tell families what the child care changes mean for them.


JOURNALIST: Scott Morrison says the trial to extend the subsidies to nannies depends on other savings passing the Senate, will you have another look at some of the other measures you are opposed to?


MACKLIN: I think the important thing is to remember what Tony Abbott has said about support for families. Before the last election, Tony Abbott said that he wanted to support families with the cost of living pressures that face families. That’s the first thing. He broke that promise when he introduced huge cuts to families in last year’s Budget. Which amount to around $6,000 a year for an average family. Each and every year families would be $6,000 worse off if Tony Abbott got his way. Now Labor is not going to support changes that make families worse off. I want to make that very clear. Tony Abbott has said this Budget will be about supporting families. So he can’t on the one hand say he’s going to have changes to the Family Tax Benefit system that would cut family payments by up to $6,000 a year and say that he’s helping families. That is only going to hurt families.


JOURNALIST: Proposed changes to the Family Tax Benefit would save more than $7 billion over four years, why won’t Labor support them?


MACKLIN: Labor has in fact already supported some of the changes to higher income families, but we are not going to support changes to those families on low and middle incomes. An average family on $65,000 a year, with two children at school, will be $6,000 a year worse off if Tony Abbott gets his way. That’s why we won’t support it.


JOURNALIST: Well on a different issue, should Labor MP’s have a conscience vote on gay marriage if the issue comes to Parliament?


MACKLIN: I’ve always been a supporter of marriage equality. I think it is a matter of equality and when the issue came into the Federal Parliament I voted for marriage equality. When it comes back into the Parliament I will vote for it again. I do think it’s a matter of discrimination and so, no, I don’t think it should be a conscience vote.


JOURNALIST: Are you not worried though that this will create an internal fight that Labor doesn’t need?


MACKLIN: Well this will be a debate at our National Conference in July and I’m sure it will get resolved then.