Senate debates

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Income Support for Students) Bill 2009

Consideration of House of Representatives Message

5:47 pm

Photo of Brett MasonBrett Mason (Queensland, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education) Share this | Hansard source

I just want to make this very clear to the government. The coalition is determined, with respect to retrospectivity, that no Australian student will suffer from the government’s retrospective introduction of this legislation—that is, no-one. The opposition will not yield on that point. There is another point we will not yield on. The opposition is determined that there will be an extra pathway for the payment of youth allowance to students who have to leave home to go to university. Again, the opposition will not yield on that point. I want to make this very clear to the government. These points are not for negotiation; they are what the opposition stands for.

Minister, you are quite right: there is an issue about people missing out on the scholarships. But, as Senator Minchin has alluded to and as the Deputy Prime Minister illustrated, the government was warned about the possibility, both by the opposition and indeed by the Greens, that this could happen. But the opposition has made the offer, through Senator Minchin, to assist the government if they are prepared to split these bills and to thereby ensure that students do not miss out on their scholarships. That is something the government can do and should do, and it might have to do it very quickly.


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