Thursday, 28 October 2010
Statements by Members
I welcome the parliament’s support this morning for my motion on youth allowance, which aims to put fairness back into the criteria for independent youth allowance. The parliament has now spoken, and it is up to the Labor government to listen, to change the legislation and to allow all regional and rural students the same access to youth allowance. Today’s outcome sends a very strong message to the Prime Minister that the changes she made while Minister for Education were unfair and have undermined the educational opportunities for regional students and their families. In particular, I welcome the support from the Independent members, who obviously recognise the effects of the discrimination against their own electorates that the Labor government is inflicting by giving access to some students and not others.
But the true test of whether this new parliament will be effective is if the government actually responds to the will of the parliament itself, such as we saw this morning. The challenge is there: will the government respond to the will of the parliament that we saw this morning, or will it not? Will it address the disadvantage of rural and regional students that the parliament itself recognised this morning? A majority of 75 to 70 members of this House agreed that the government was discriminating against students.