Labor in chaos on Schoolkids Bonus


Labor is in chaos on the Schoolkids Bonus.

Labor voted against the abolition of the Schoolkids Bonus in the House of Representatives on six separate occasions and in the Senate on five occasions.

The Leader of the Opposition has campaigned for three years on this issue, promising to fight it “every day up to the next election”:

In the last two Budgets, the Liberals have proposed… axing the Schoolkids Bonus… Labor will stand with Australian families against these cuts every day up to the next election.” (Joint Media release, 1 March 2016)

Two days ago in the seat of Bass, Jenny Macklin dishonestly said:

“If Mr Turnbull and the Liberals are elected in the upcoming election, we will see families in this part of Tasmania lose up to $5,000 a year. $5,000 a year will be taken from the budgets of families by this Liberal Government as a result of family tax benefits cuts, the abolition of the Schoolkids Bonus. These cuts will hurt families very, very hard if Mr Turnbull is successful at the upcoming election.” (Interview Transcript, 24 May 2016)

In the last 24 hours, Labor has been in further chaos on this issue.

Yesterday, Labor’s David Feeney said:

SPEERS: Will Labor keep the Schoolkids Bonus?

FEENEY: The... well we... in terms… the baby bonus?

SPEERS: Schoolkids bonus...

FEENEY: The… well I… you'd have to refer to our relevant shadow. I've been a little ah distracted over the last few days.

(Sky News, 25 May 2016)

But just this morning, Labor’s Shadow Treasurer said:

KELLY: Chris Bowen, will Labor keep the Schoolkids Bonus?

BOWEN: Ah, well Fran, no, because -


BOWEN: No, Labor, well Labor opposed the repeal of the Schoolkids Bonus, that was our vote in Parliament, the Government got it through with the Clive Palmer Party so if it was up to Labor we would still have the Schoolkids Bonus. But we've now had the pre-election economic forecast, we know that the Government has tripled the budget deficit, we know the AAA credit rating is under real threat, so we are taking a very responsible approach in all our promises. Now families will be better off under Labor, because we won't be proceeding with the cuts to family tax benefits in the way that the Government is proposing and that is a real difference for families, but we will not be able to afford to bring back the Schoolkids Bonus.

(ABC Radio National, 26 May 2016)

Since the Schoolkids Bonus was abolished in September 2014, there have been a number of Budgets and Budget updates, which have regularly and clearly shown the Budget position.

Labor’s only explanation for their backflip today – that they have only just seen the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook – is not a valid explanation.

Clearly, not even Bill Shorten can tell the Australian people how big Labor’s Budget black hole is. He doesn’t know.

Bill Shorten and Labor can’t pay for their spending promises, and what they can’t pay for they will never deliver.

Labor’s spending decisions are in chaos, but they still have a massive Budget black hole.

Labor’s economic and fiscal chaos would be a disaster for Australia.