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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

104 days – Swan admits Labor still a policy free zone

Labor’s Family and Community Services spokesman, Wayne Swan has publicly admitted that 104 days after Mark Latham promised to deliver his family and tax policy, Labor is still a policy free zone.

On Perth radio yesterday Mr Swan conceded that ‘(Labor) can’t tell you what we’re going to do’ – what is Labor hiding? (10:50AM Tuesday, 24th August, 2004 – 6PR Perth Morning Radio)

When asked in March if Australians have a right to know what Labor’s policy is, Mr Swan replied ‘Yes’. (Meet the Press, Sunday 7th March 2004)

Mr Swan claimed in March that Labor’s family and tax policy would be released after seeing the financial position in the Budget and then he would ‘be saying a lot more about future direction’ – 104 days later Mr Swan has said nothing more about Labor’s policy. (Meet the Press, Sunday 7th March 2004)

  • Is it that the Labor’s sums just don’t add up?
  • Is it that the policy has not been written?

Mark Latham is deliberately keeping Australians in the dark. Following his budget reply speech, Mr Latham has twice refused to guarantee that Australian families would not be worse off under Labor.

Australian families know why Mr Swan is shy about Labor’s secret family policy, because Labor will:

  1. Scrap the $600 per child increase in FTB after this financial year – under Mr Latham’s secret family policy Australian families eligible for FTB A could be up to $600 per child worse off each and every year
  2. Restrict the number of women eligible for a Maternity Payment
  3. Dismantle the Medicare safety net
  4. Strip Australian families of the benefits and support they receive under the Howard Government

The strong economic management of the Howard Government has delivered a significant social dividend to families. The Howard Government will continue to manage the system responsibly and ensure that families in similar circumstances are treated the same over the financial year.

Families are significantly better off under the Howard Government with families on average receiving $7,000 a year in FTB payments and around $2,000 in child care benefits.

Australian families know that the Howard Government delivers on it’s promises, they know they will receive a $600 increase in their FTB payments, they know they will get a $3000 Maternity Payment.

For 104 days Mark Latham has kept Australians in the dark about how much worse off they will be under Labor.