Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017; Second Reading
I am passing on the views of the people of Canberra, Deputy Speaker. They passed on their views on what happened in 2014 to me. In 2014 I went out doorknocking just after the budget. I always like to go out doorknocking after a budget—be it our budget or a coalition government's budget—to get a sense of what the community feels about it. Is it good or bad? What are the good elements, what are the bad elements? You cannot get a purer form of feedback than from knocking on someone's door, cold calling on someone, and asking them what they think about a piece of legislation or a particular budget.
I spoke to one mother who was absolutely petrified about what was happening with the cuts to Newstart and wondering how on earth her child could survive all those weeks with no support. That was a very common theme in 2014—concerns about the outrageous cuts to Newstart. There was one mother, and I will never forget her. When I knocked on her door and asked if she had any feedback on the budget, she said, 'No, I don't have any feedback.' I left and, as I was walking down the street, she came running down the street in tears. She basically said, 'I'm so upset by the budget that I couldn't speak when you knocked on my door. But I want to tell you as a single mother I'm absolutely terrified about the opportunities for my child in getting access to education and also about my future. I'm terrified about what this budget will mean for my family.' I have done it tough, Deputy Speaker, and I do not want any Australian family to do it tough. That is why this government's proposal is absolutely outrageous; it is the 2014 budget reheated. The government should be ashamed of itself.