Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Swan misleads families on top-up payments

Mr Swan claimed after Question Time in the House of Representatives today that he had been misrepresented by Government claims that yesterday he had announced Labor would scrap top-up payments for Family Tax Benefits.

Not only did he claim to be misrepresented, he said Labor “supports” top-up payments, which deliver $848 on average to nearly half a million Australian families.

Mr Swan said on radio 2SM yesterday:

…our top priority has got to be to pay people accurately on a fortnightly basis, to get rid of this nonsense of end-of-year top ups or catch ups, and to eliminate or substantially reduce the prospect of families getting debts in the first place.

Clearly, on any reading, Mr Swan did say that Labor would get rid of top-up payments.

This means that nearly 500,000 Australian families will be more than $800 worse off under Labor’s family policies.

I call on him to apologise immediately for misleading Australian families.

Mr Swan’s admission that he will scrap top-up payments follows his leader Mark Latham’s refusal after the Budget to give an undertaking that Australian families would not receive less in family benefits under Labor than the record payments delivered by the Howard Government.