Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Questions without Notice
Pensions and Benefits
The member for Fenner, I should say, Mr Speaker. Again, you have to look at what the Leader of the Opposition is doing at any one time, not what he says. What he says is no guarantee or indication of what he will do. As Mark Latham has described, as his colleagues have described, he is a master of saying different things to different people to suit his purpose.
As far as the childcare reforms we are proposing, they will make child care more affordable and more available. They will benefit families on low and lower middle incomes. They are going to make a vital change, removing the $7½ thousand cap for families on incomes under $185,000. This is a great reform, and the Labor Party should support it.
As far as the NDIS is concerned, the only threat to the NDIS is Labor's failure to fund it. The reality is that we are in deficit, we have debt, and that is because we need to make savings. We are making savings here in addition to the childcare benefit reforms and we are applying them to fund the NDIS, which otherwise would have to be funded out of debt. What we need to do is to live within our means. We need to be able to fund all of our social welfare commitments from our revenue, and that means we have to make reforms. The honourable member has a great heart—I do not doubt that—and I am sure she wants the NDIS to work, but somebody has to pay for it. You cannot keep on borrowing your way into the future. I wish the honourable members opposite would show one-tenth of the compassion that they talk about all the time for the generations to come. Their failure to live within our means is imposing an unconscionable burden of debt on our children and grandchildren. That is their legacy. We are paying the way to ensure that we can afford the NDIS and all the benefits and services Australians are entitled to expect.