Election 2016 – the single parent’s guide

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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.

Policy area
Parenting Payment SingleExisting 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 BenefitsWants 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 cutsStrongly opposed to FTB cutsMost independent senators have opposed FTB B cuts, with the exception of Senator Day and Senator David Leyonhjelm.
Schoolkids BonusHas axed the SKBLabor has decided not to restore the SKBGreens promise to restore the Schoolkids BonusMost of the independents are not making commitments about the SKB
ChildcareProposes 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 managementGovernment has set aside funding for more trials of the compulsory cashless welfare Visa cardLabor supports the government’s cashless welfare Visa cardOpposed to the cashless welfare Visa cardMost independents are not releasing policy positions on the cashless welfare card
Family violencePromise 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 servicesXenophon 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.

EducationPromises 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 schoolsJacquie Lambie wants to boost TAFE funding. The Xenophon team supports Gonski and the regulation of university fees.
Health / MedicareFreeze 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

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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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