Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Swan needs to take a deep breath

Yesterday Mr Swan’s colleagues made their views of his “cleverly crafted words” crystal clear.

Senator Cook suggested that Mr Swan “should take a deep breath” and Mr Fitzgibbon said that more “straight talking” was needed.

Just twenty four hours later, it looks like Mr Swan has already jettisoned their advice.

After Senate Estimates today, Mr Swan is claiming that the number of Family Tax Benefit overpayments is “virtually unchanged” when compared to last year.

In fact, the provisional figures released today show that overpayments are running at a rate that is about 14 per cent lower than the figure for 2000-2001.

This reduction is even before the changes that we announced in September have started.

However, in typical fashion, Mr Swan is claiming that the overpayments are still occurring “despite the minor changes announced by the Government”.

It’s just another example of Mr Swan being slippery.

For the record, the figures discussed at Senate estimates today relate to payments in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.

The changes that we announced are being phased in for this financial year.