Thursday, 30 March 2006
Family Assistance, Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (2005 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2006
I listened very carefully to Senator Evans. Senator Evans, unlike some of his colleagues, can run an argument and can generally run it in a more moderate and sensible fashion. Unfortunately, today was not one of those days when we can attribute those qualities to Senator Evans. To suggest that this is an obscene measure and that it brings the whole Welfare to Work process into disrepute is absurd. It is completely over the top. It fails to recognise the nature of the benefits that we provide to families. It fails to look at the whole area of how government policy across a broad range benefits families. I remember that in the old days one of the proudest boasts of the Keating government was that it cut the top tax rate to 60 per cent. One wonders whom the major benefits of that went too. I suspect that when you cut the top tax rate, a lot of benefits—surprise, surprise—flow to the very high income groups in this community. Senator Evans did not stand up—maybe he was not in the chamber; if he was in the chamber he certainly did not stand up—and complain about that.