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Election 2016 - the single parent's guide

Just who should single parents vote for this election?

By Jason Bryce | 25 June 2016



A single parent guide to Election 2016 - stock photo source: Bigstock.com

Our comparison table will help you to

make your single parent vote count, this Election day!

EVEN with all the recent noise about respecting women and fighting the devastating impact of family violence on women and families, single parents have been largely swept under the carpet this election.

However one single mum, Melinda, from the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin, wasn't about to sit back and accept that. Melinda confronted the Prime Minister on the campaign trail:

"I just want to have a fair go and I just want my kids to have options," said Melinda as the cameras were rolling.

Single mother Melinda confronts Prime Minister Turnbull
Single mother Melinda confronts Prime Minister Turnbull

Melinda said no one was listening to her.

"I don't care what you do to me but give the kids a chance, a fighting chance."

"Education is transformative," replied Mr Turnbull

"So how can I pay for it without the Family Tax Benefit and without the Schoolkids Bonus?"

The Prime Minister said "I can feel what's in your heart" and that his government was investing in education.

"Most of my childhood my dad was a single dad," said Mr Turnbull "I know how tough it is, you have to be a mum and a dad."

But did the boarding-school educated son of a single dad hear and understand? Are the other parties listening to single parents?

Here is your singlemum.com.au guide to Election 2016, with a complete breakdown of the parties and their commitments.


Issue/
Policy area
Liberal/
National
Labor Greens Others
Parenting Payment Single Existing arrangements will be continued - parents lose PPS when child turns 8. Existing arrangements will be continued - parents lose PPS when child turns 8. Committed to review the adequacy of Newstart if elected. Have promised to move 90,000 single parents from Newstart back to PPS and retain parents on PPS until youngest child turns 16. Xenophon voted against the changes at the time. Lambie party has no specific policies on this.
Family Tax Benefits Wants to cut FTB Part B to $1000 per year when the youngest child turns 13 and axe FTB B at age 17. Has opposed FTB Part B cuts Strongly opposed to FTB cuts Most independent senators have opposed FTB B cuts, with the exception of Senator Day and Senator David Leyonhjelm.
Schoolkids Bonus Has axed the SKB Labor has decided not to restore the SKB Greens promise to restore the Schoolkids Bonus Most of the independents are not making commitments about the SKB
Childcare Proposes to merge the CC Rebate and the CC Benefit.
Require activity test.
Will increase the CC Rebate by 15 per cent for low and middle income families and lift the annual cap to $10,000.
No activity test required.
Propose to merge the CC Rebate and CC Benefit and means test the payment. Xenophon has committed to lifting the annual CC Rebate cap from $7,500 to $10,000.
Welfare income management Government has set aside funding for more trials of the compulsory cashless welfare Visa card Labor supports the government’s cashless welfare Visa card Opposed to the cashless welfare Visa card Most independents are not releasing policy positions on the cashless welfare card
Family violence Promise more funding for services including crisis payments, the 1800RESPECT helpline and safe accommodation. Will provide funding for victims to change locks, upgrade home security, provide more legal services, track perpetrators. The Greens want to double funding for legal services, housing for the homeless and indigenous women’s services Xenophon promise increased funding for services, a national education campaign, uniform national laws, and a commission to investigate every fatal incident.

Lambie has no family policies.
Education Promises an extra $1.2 billion for schools, if states and non-government schools agree to reforms. Is committed to restoring the needs-based Gonski formula for schools with an extra $37 billion in funding. Federal funding for schools should be needs based and favour public schools Jacquie Lambie wants to boost TAFE funding. The Xenophon team supports Gonski and the regulation of university fees.
Health / Medicare Freeze Medicare rebates to doctors, continue with changes to pathology funding, privatise Medicare payments system. Opposed to government changes on Medicare. Labor has promised to restore indexation of medicare rebates and ensure free (bulk billed pathology and x-ray services) Opposed to government Medicare changes.

Extend Medicare to dental services and improve Medicare for chronic diseases.
Xenophon makes no commitments on Medicare. The Jacquie Lambie Network has no health policies

Whatever happens this election day on 2 July, single parents should brace for payment cuts. The bottom line is that both the Liberal/National government and the Labor opposition will proceed with payment cuts to low income families, although the Liberals cuts will be much harsher.

What about the Schoolkids Bonus?

The last Schoolkids Bonus payment will be paid next month because the government has axed it against Labor's opposition. The SKB will not be revived by Labor.

"We've had to make a hard decision," said Labor leader Bill Shorten last week, "that we can't go on with the Schoolkids Bonus."

Single mother Melinda confronts Prime Minister Turnbull
Coming soon - Centrelink's cashless welfare card

What's happening with the Basics Card?

And yes, Centrelink income management (previously known as the Basics Card) is coming to a town or suburb near you, no matter what. The new compulsory cashless welfare Visa card, issued by financial services company Indue, will continue to be rolled out to more towns and suburbs across Australia. That will happen even if Labor is elected.

Is anyone really addressing Domestic Violence yet?

There's been a lot of talk about family violence recently, but Terese Edwards from the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children said that talk still has not translated to a full understanding of the problem by most politicans.

"We are only starting to learn that she cant just leave," said Terese.

And when she does leave, poverty awaits for many women and their children, said Terese, as they are forced onto Centrelink payments and into insecure housing.

"Money not only enables the purchase of essential items, it provides security and offers some autonomy and dignity."


Jason Bryce
Business & Finance Journalist




Further Single Parent reading


The last ever Schoolkids Bonus is coming soon - here's when and how much!

Single parent anger over Centrelink income management




Have your say on this story - who will you be voting for in the 2016 Election? Make a comment below!


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Jason is a business and finance journalist with 20 years experience, and is also a member of the SingleMum.com.au 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.

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

kids

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.

Centrelink

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

divorce

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.

Please remember the bigger font words,because we will use it often in our website.