Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Tony Abbott and the Liberals fight to keep cash from families

Today Tony Abbott’s Liberals dusted off obscure parliamentary procedures to try and stop the Gillard Government’s Schoolkids Bonus from passing the House of Representatives.

Despite repeated bizarre attempts by the Liberals to block the vote, the Government’s legislation to deliver new assistance to families passed the House of Representatives tonight, and will be considered by the Senate tomorrow.

Tony Abbott’s extreme blocking tactics took ‘No’ to a whole new level. He showed all Australians just how determined he is to stop families from getting the money they need.

Their unrelenting negativity and desperate attempts to block this new payment is yet another insult to these families. Scores of Liberal members used the Parliamentary debate today to question whether families could be trusted to spend this extra support from the Gillard Government on their kids.

The Schoolkids Bonus will put money into the pockets of 1.3 million families to help them meet the costs of having kids in school.

Parents will receive $410 a year for each child in primary school, and $820 a year for children in high school. This support will be delivered in full and upfront, to help parents pay for things like uniforms, text books and stationery.

Despite trying every trick in the book to hide from a vote, 69 Liberal and National members of Parliament said ‘No’ to this extra support for families.

This came just hours after Mr Abbott and his Shadow Treasurer embarrassed themselves by being unable to explain why the Schoolkids Bonus is different from the Baby Bonus. Mr Abbott’s considered answer was: “Well, look, they just are” (Sky News).

Today’s vote was a test for Tony Abbott to see if he could be trusted to look out for Australian families. He failed, and families won’t forget it.