Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Schoolkids Bonus, support for pensioners, support for families

Program: FiveAA

E & OE – Proof only

LEON BYNER: Let’s talk to Families Minister, Jenny Macklin. Jenny when will this money hit peoples’ accounts and who is eligible?

JENNY MACKLIN: Good morning Leon. The first payment for the Schoolkids Bonus will happen at the end of June. So parents can expect to get some money in their bank accounts if they’re on Family Tax Benefit Part A, and then next year when we get into the regular routine the first payment will be before the start of Term 1 in January and then before the start of Term 3 in July. So $410 for primary school aged children, and $820 for secondary school aged children.

LEON BYNER: And the more children you have you multiply that out?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well of course, that’s because each child brings expenses for parents and we’re trying to give parents some extra help.


JENNY MACKLIN: We do know that around a million families were missing out on their full entitlement when you had to collect your receipts and pay upfront. That’s why we’re redesigning the way we pay it so that families get the money before school starts and get that extra bit of help. We were pretty horrified to see Mr Abbott oppose this Schoolkids Bonus last week in the Parliament. Tried every trick in the book to try and prevent the Parliament passing the legislation, but fortunately it went through and the money will be out by the end of June.

LEON BYNER: But having said that, it’s Tony Abbott’s fault that you’ve even considered doing it, because had he have agreed for you to get the one per cent reduction in the company tax, you wouldn’t have done this?

JENNY MACKLIN: We did want to give a reduction in company tax, that’s right. And Mr Abbott opposed that as well, he’s got a bit of a habit of opposing everything. And we did want to spread the benefits of the mining boom as effectively as we could, so we decided to use the money from the mining tax to give it to those families who need it most. But of course that’s a separate payment that will happen in the middle of next year.

LEON BYNER: When I had the Prime Minister on last Friday talking about these monies, we were getting a lot of calls from pensioners saying, why did we miss out? Why was there nothing for the pensioners?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well, as you’d know, we are about to have payments go out to pensioners. In fact it will start from 28th of May and if I could just give the details?

LEON BYNER: Sure, please.

JENNY MACKLIN: 3.4 million pensioners will start receiving lump sum advances from the 28th of May, in the fortnight following the 28th of May. So single pensioners will receive a lump sum payment of $250 and pensioner couples will receive a lump sum payment of $380 combined.


JENNY MACKLIN: So that will start from the 28th of May.

LEON BYNER: Now is that a one-off payment?

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s the lump sum advance payment and then that will get rolled into pensioners’ fortnightly payments from March next year.

LEON BYNER: Okay. Now as soon as you roll it into a fortnightly payment. See as I understand it at the moment and Jenny, you and I have had this chat, and I think we’re on the same page.

JENNY MACKLIN: Yes I know where you’re going.

LEON BYNER: Of course you do. All right well you take it, come on, you continue the conversation because the State Government want their cop, right?

JENNY MACKLIN: I know you’re concerned, and I’ve certainly been concerned and continue to want to make sure that pensioners get to keep this money, particularly those pensioners who live in public housing, and I am pleased to be able to tell you and your listeners that the State Government here in South Australia has agreed that they won’t count this extra money that we’re giving to pensioners when they’re calculating public housing rent. So this time, the good news for pensioners in public housing is they get to keep the money.

LEON BYNER: Okay. Is that just the one off payment now?


LEON BYNER: Or is that, because I just want to clarify this, because ….

JENNY MACKLIN: …Fair enough.

LEON BYNER: The one thing we try to fix on this show is disinformation or wrong information.


LEON BYNER: So you’re telling us that that controversy that happened with the $30 that Kevin Rudd gave, where the Government took a bit of that and there was a lot of bad blood on that from you and the Prime Minister, and Wayne Swan and everybody. The Government has said we won’t touch it.

JENNY MACKLIN: The South Australian Government has said they’ll not only count the lump sum they also won’t count the permanent increase once it’s paid fortnightly.

LEON BYNER: Okay, I’m pleased to hear that. Because as you know Jenny, people are doing it tough. The utility bills alone are a big, big problem. Now on that, there has been some concern that maybe those utility allowances should go up, or would you argue that the amounts that you’re paying, are taking that into consideration?

JENNY MACKLIN: Yes, these extra payments that I’ve just mentioned are to make sure that pensioners have got extra money in their purses and wallets. We of course do understand that utility bills and other costs of living pressures are real. We want to get this money into the pockets of pensioners so that they can meet the expected average increase in cost of living and that’s why we’re getting the money out.

LEON BYNER: So from your point of view, these payments will be one off and then continuing, as long as Labor stays in Government?

JENNY MACKLIN: Yes, and unfortunately, Mr Abbott is saying that he’ll take these payments away from pensioners. He’s saying that he doesn’t think that they need this extra money, and …

LEON BYNER: …Oh, I don’t think he said that, I don’t think he said that.

JENNY MACKLIN: Oh yes he is. He is with these payments.

LEON BYNER: He is saying that this is all bribing for the carbon tax. Now look I want to ask you something that’s been raised by a few people, now there are many battlers who are going to welcome this money, there’s no question about that. But there have been some in the community who have suggested that if you pay it as a cash amount they’re going to go and spend it on the pokies?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I’ve heard Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey make those sorts of insulting remarks about, most recently about the Schoolkids Bonus, saying that parents don’t know how to look after their children. I think parents are by far the best judge of what’s good for their children, not Mr Hockey or Mr Abbott. And let’s do everything we can to help those families who are raising children, especially with the cost of education. Unfortunately we saw the Liberals in Canberra last week do everything they could to try and stop us giving families this money.

LEON BYNER: All right, so let’s just clarify. The education money is how much?

JENNY MACKLIN: $410 per child for primary school aged school children.


JENNY MACKLIN: $820 for the secondary school aged children.


JENNY MACKLIN: Just for families on Family Tax Benefit Part A.


JENNY MACKLIN: And then for pensioners the lump sum is $250 for single pensioners which will come from the 28th of May, in the two weeks following the 28th of May, and $380 for pensioner couples combined.

LEON BYNER: And your argument would be that part of that money is to compensate for the increase in utility costs?

JENNY MACKLIN: Yes, that’s right and we, on the figures we have, pensioners will in fact be able to be fully compensated for the expected average cost of increases in utility costs that will come from the carbon price.

LEON BYNER: Okay, Jenny thank you for joining us today. Before I let you go, why are you here?

JENNY MACKLIN: I’m going down to Kingston with Amanda Rishworth to talk to families about exactly these matters.

LEON BYNER: All right, thanks for being on. That’s Jenny Macklin the Families Minister just clarifying some matters and I’m pleased to hear that in those payments to give the battlers a leg up, the State Government are not putting their hand in their pockets.