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Jason Bryce - Business & Finance Specialist

Shock - Schoolkids Bonus Used For School Costs

'There's no beer and skittles here Tony' say single mums

By Jason Bryce | 01 January 2014

Australian School Kids Bonus

The Poll results are in:

99% reject Abbott's description of the Schoolkids Bonus

Last week polled it's readers to find out what Australian parents really spend their Schoolkids Bonus on.

The Poll results are in: 99% reject Abbott's description of the Schoolkids Bonus - And seven mums vote for taking the cash to the pub!

Ninety nine per cent of single mums have completely rejected the prime minister's "beer and skittles" description of the Schoolkids Bonus which flows into bank accounts from the end of this week.

Most parents say school expenses are much greater than the bonus payment and plenty of mums are insulted by Tony Abbott's remarks.

1.3 million parents who receive Family Tax Benefit part A will get $410 per high school aged child and/or $205 per primary school aged child paid directly into their bank account in the fortnight starting Friday 3 January.

A whopping ninety five per cent of parents in our poll said they will spend all of their Schoolkids Bonus on school expenses.

Another four per cent will spend the cash on household bills and food according to the poll of over one thousand parents.

Just seven parents say they will spend the cash on "beer and skittles" - or entertainment and luxuries.

Or maybe that should read: Seven parents have admitted they will spend the Schoolkids Bonus on beer and skittles.

"[The Australian people] voted for us knowing that it wasn't all going to be beer and skittles, it wasn't all going to be handouts," the Prime Minister told a rowdy Question Time on the day the government introduced the bills to axe the Schoolkids Bonus and two other low income payments.

Previously Tony Abbott has described the Schoolkids Bonus as a "cash splash" and a "handout" that has "nothing to do with education."

Maree O'Halloran, President of the National Welfare Rights Network said most parents do their very best for their children "and many would find this talk of 'beer and skittles' to be offensive."

Single mum Vanessa Wright from Chirnside Park in Victoria confirmed that her children do in fact eat Skittles.

"Ha ha yes Tony Abbott my kids do like Skittles," laughed Vanessa

Australian School Kids Bonus Poll results

"But I don't drink, I can't afford to."

Vanessa said all of the $615 she will get in her bank account soon will be spent on school expenses for her two kids, but mostly on her daughter who is heading to high school.

"It's going to end up costing fifteen to eighteen hundred dollars to start my daughter in year seven in a public school this year," said Vanessa.

The Schoolkids Bonus helped stop some children become socially isolated said Vanessa.

"At lower incomes, the Schoolkids Bonus can really help kids have the same uniform, the same stationery as the other kids and of course activities for kids cost money."

"Tony Abbott has no idea," said Loretta Kelly from Ballarat.

"We are not all sitting on the pension. I've retrained three times to get reliable work and my (two year old) daughter is sometimes in care eleven and a half hours per day while I work and travel."

Loretta has a daughter in Year 12 this year and says the Schoolkids Bonus will not cover the cost of books.

"Books will cost over $600 this year."

But the Schoolkids Bonus was better when it was known as the Education Tax Refund and required parents to produce receipts to claim the cash said Loretta.

"I know it's hard to pay for things up front and wait to claim money back but then no one could say you weren't spending the money correctly."

Parents on the Single Mother Forum Facebook Page voiced their suspicions that the 2012 repackaging of the Schoolkids Bonus from a "Refund" to a "Bonus" was a planned move that allowed the government to more easily dismiss the payment as a temporary bonus, rather than a bona-fide tax rebate.

Alexis Hill from Frankston in Melbourne is a single mum with two boys aged seven and eight. Alexis wants to know "How do they wear out shoes so fast?"

So some of her $410 Schoolkids Bonus payment is going on new shoes with uniforms and books taking a big chunk.

"I'll try to put a little aside for their expenses through the school term," said Alexis.

Alexis doesn't like politics generally but disagrees with the prime minister's comments about the Schoolkids Bonus.

"I think Tony Abbott has been adding to the stigma of being a single parent," said Alexis

"Ninety per cent of parents do the right thing."

And ninety nine per cent of parents who read do the right thing.

Jason Bryce
Business & Finance Journalist

Have your say on this story - do you think the government should keep the School Kids Bonus? Make a comment below!

go to Jason Bryce's Biography

Jason is a business and finance journalist with 20 years experience, and is also a member of the Expert Opinion Panel. He has a regular weekly column in the Sunday Mail (Brisbane) and writes regularly for the Business Daily section of the Herald Sun in Melbourne and many other newspapers and magazines.

Jason's personal website is Jason Bryce's Profile here

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Disclaimer: The views of authors on our website are not necessarily representative of those views of our website. Articles contain only general information, correct at the date of publication. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of Please read the complete Disclaimer here

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

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