Schoolkids Bonus Poll

Schoolkids Bonus Poll

Expert Opinion Panel
Jason Bryce – Business & Finance Specialist

Schoolkids Bonus – Have your say! Schoolkids Bonus UPDATE and Poll and Jason Bryce | 21 December 2013

Tony is shouting…

…beer and skittles for everyone!

The government will pay the Schoolkids Bonus in the fortnight starting from the 3rd of January 2014, despite not supporting the popular payment.

Schoolkids Bonus latest news - Stock Photo

Just two weeks ago Prime Minister Tony Abbott seemed to describe the Schoolkids Bonus as “beer and skittles” money for parents. Previously he had said the Schoolkids Bonus is a “handout” and a “cash splash.”

Tony Abbott has long promised to axe the Schoolkids Bonus.

“We won’t continue the Schoolkids Bonus because it’s a cash splash with borrowed money that our children will have to repay,” said Tony Abbott at one point in the election campaign.

Another time he said it is “a cash splash with borrowed money that has nothing to do with education.”

On the day the proposed laws to axe the Schoolkids Bonus were first presented to parliament, the prime minister Tony Abbott was questioned about the cuts to schoolkids bonus and answered:

“They [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 old English phrase ‘beer and skittles’ means “leading a life of indulgence at the pub” according to Other sources agree: it means a life of carefree, drunken indulgence. Skittles, also known as Ninepins, is a traditional English game like tenpin bowling.

So he’s not talking about little coloured lollies.

The most common usage is probably is in the old English saying: “Life’s not all beer and skittles” which was possibly first written down in the 1857 English novel about upper class life, “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” by Thomas Hughes.

Note that Tony Abbott didn’t directly say parents spend the Schoolkids Bonus on beer and good times.

However parents should be insulted by the reference according to Jenny Macklin, Labor’s shadow minister for families.

“The Prime Minister’s ‘beer and skittles’ comments were “insulting to the 1.3 million families who rely on this support,” said

“Families love the Schoolkids Bonus, they know how much it has helped them buy all the things their kids need for school, like uniforms, shoes, school books and stationery,” said Macklin.

Danielle is one single mum who agrees with Tony Abbott. Danielle commented on our previous Schoolkids Bonus article:

“The money should go straight to the school and be used to pay for fees, uniforms, excursions, incursions and books. That way the money is being used for education not for a new tv!!”

Other single mums jumped onto the site to disagree with Danielle. Hayley wrote:

“The Schoolkids Bonus will pay for the new laptops that each of my children need to do distance ed – not a new tv – whilst there may be some who do the wrong thing – the vast majority do the right thing!!”

So what do you think? Is Prime Minister Tony Abbott right?

Is the Schoolkids Bonus “a cash splash that has nothing to do with education”?

How will you spend your handout? … oops, I mean … How will you spend your Schoolkids Bonus?

Will you taking your Schoolkids Bonus down to the pub?

Or will you be using your Schoolkids Bonus on bills and expenses for your school kids?

Are you insulted by Tony Abbott’s remarks?

Have your say on what you spend your Schoolkids Bonus on here in our Poll!

At a glance: The Schoolkids Bonus explained

The Schoolkids Bonus is $410 per primary school aged child and $820 per high school aged child paid to 1.3 million low and middle income families each year.

The Schoolkids Bonus is half paid in January and the rest paid in July to help with education expenses. Parents who receive Family Tax Benefit part A are eligible for the Schoolkids Bonus

This week, in a Facebook post, the Department of Human Services advised families that:

“As Parliament is yet to pass the legislation to end the Schoolkids Bonus, it will now be paid to eligible families and students from 3-17 January 2014. Payment of future instalments of the Schoolkids Bonus, including for July 2014, will depend on whether it is passed by Parliament in 2014.

“Please wait until after 20 January 2014 to contact us if you haven’t received the Schoolkids Bonus – make sure you check your eligibility first:”

Jason Bryce
Business & Finance Journalist

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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.

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