Letter to Wayne Swan, Treasurer


Dear Treasurer,

I understand the political imperative of getting the budget in surplus in 2012/13 even though the economic situation in which Australia finds itself does not mean there is any economic urgency to reach a balanced budget.

The Government’s decision to reduce lone parents’ payments (when the youngest child turns 8 years of age) to the level of the Newstart payment in order to save $200 million a year may help the Government to balance its books but it does nothing to help some of the poorest Australian families.

This Government action is not fiscal rectitude. Rather it amounts to cavalier indifference to the wellbeing of lone parents and their vulnerable children. The Government argues that its plan will assist lone parents back into work – it may well force some lone parents to work when they really need to be available to assist their children. They are better placed than the Government to work out when it is appropriate for them to return to work. Many lone parents will not find work but will have their weekly family budget slashed by $100 thereby making it impossible to maintain mortgage repayments or keep up with the rent. Many will subsequently become homeless.

The financial burden may well shift from the Government to relatives or charities and the $200 million the Commonwealth “saves” will be small beer compared with the emotional and financial cost of broken families.

I cannot vote for a Government that shows such a callous disregard for the well-being of low income lone parents and their children. Please cancel this social security cutback.

Dr John Tomlinson