Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Lone parents: Swan’s scare campaign continues

Wayne Swan has continued his scare campaign today by claiming that the Government has a secret welfare agenda that will target lone parents.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

For the record, there are no proposals in the pipeline that will specifically target lone parents.

Over the last few weeks, Mr Swan has been on a continuous talkback circuit, scaring the most vulnerable people in our community with misinformation.

On his form to date, Mr Swan appears incapable of having a proper policy debate on the substantive issues. He refuses to put forward alternative solutions and simply relies on sensational claims or personal attacks to get a grab on the radio.

Yesterday, Mr Swan claimed 200,000 Disability Support Pensioners would have their payments cut. The truth is that less than half of these people may be deemed to be more appropriately on Newstart. This equates to around 3% of the whole DSP population moving across each year to a more appropriate benefit. The total number of people on DSP will still continue to grow but at a much slower rate.

Mr Swan should engage constructively in the debate rather than playing his particular brand of politics.

The Government will be releasing a discussion paper on a single working age payment in the near future. The discussion paper is designed to generate some debate on the possibility of simplifying working age welfare payments. It will not have any preconceived ideas or contain any hidden agendas.

It should be interesting to see whether Mr Swan will be able to participate in a constructive debate rather than giving in to his instincts and scaring the most vulnerable for a few political points.