Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Barnaby’s Baby Bonus blunder

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator The Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation

Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce has had to scramble this morning to deny his party’s commitment to double the Baby Bonus, an almost $3 billion hit to the budget.

The blunderous back flip came after the Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne rejected Senator Joyce’s calls for a beefed-up Baby Bonus:

“We don’t support that policy. That is not Opposition policy… we don’t support the idea of doubling the baby bonus.” Insiders, 15 April 2012

But the commitment to double the Baby Bonus is outlined in the Nationals’ 2011/12 policy platform – which has Senator Joyce on the front cover. The 76 page document released only in December, is publicly available on the Nationals website.

Despite this, Senator Joyce has today abandoned his own policy, saying on ABC radio:

“I can assure you I don’t believe in doubling the baby bonus. I think that would be a ludicrous idea.”

Doubling the baby bonus, as the Nationals policy platform states, would cost taxpayers $2.7 billion over the forward estimates.

Between the Liberals’ “Rolls-Royce” $4.5 billion a year Paid Parental Leave plan and the Nationals’ plan to double the baby bonus, Australians are looking at a massive hit to the budget.

Once again the Coalition is putting forward policy proposals they know they can’t afford. How can Australian families trust they’ll deliver them?

They already have a $70 billion budget black hole they can’t explain and now they keep adding to it.

What is clear is that the Coalition is deeply divided over Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave plan that will give wealthy mums in the city $75,000 to have a baby.

Nationals leader Warren Truss is the latest in a growing list of Nationals MPs to come out against Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave plan.

“There were certain concerns that the proposal did provide very substantial assistance to some and not to others.” Warren Truss, The big push for $10,000 baby bonus by Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, Sunday Telegraph, 15 April 2012

It’s time for the Coalition to come clean on what they will deliver and how they will pay for it.