Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017; Second Reading
I might remind the member for Barker that no government members are speaking on this, and he had ample opportunity, if he had something to say, to add himself to the speakers list.
But here we are again—and every single Liberal and National Party member is about to vote to cut $1.4 billion from 1.5 million families. This is not fiscal responsibility; this is lazy policy from an incompetent mob who would rather see people go without than solve the real problems. There are 600,000 families who are currently receiving the maximum rate of family tax benefit part A, which means their entire household income is less than $52,000 each year. These are real people struggling to get by as it is, and this unfair Liberal government is reaching into their pocket and making them worse off. They are pitting vulnerable people against other vulnerable people. It is unconscionable and unAustralian. And it goes to show that those opposite do not understand how hard it can be for low-income families.
As the shadow minister for families and social services mentioned earlier, this measure was originally opposed by Labor following the 2014 budget, so the Liberals withdrew the legislation and took it out of their next budget. Now, without notice, and following the dirty deal I mentioned earlier with the Senate crossbench, here we are again, fighting to protect low-income families from this unfair government, fighting to stop unfair cuts that will make life harder for families that are already doing it tough. And, looking at the speakers list today, it is absolutely unsurprising to see that not a single government member is willing to get up and defend these changes—not one single one.