By Jim Wallace, ACL Managing Director
Despite the disillusionment by most people at the negativity of election advertising, both major parties have made announcements in the last 48 hours that benefit family and marriage.
Julia Gillard used her campaign launch to announce an increase in Family Tax Benefit Part A that is aimed at helping parents with the additional costs of teenage children living at home and still undergoing education. The change will effectively mean that families will receive an additional $4,000 per year for each teenager in education. She said that her aim was to encourage parents to be able to encourage teenagers to stay at school and improve their education, and is an initiative that should definitely help in that regard.
On the weekend the Opposition Shadow Minister for Families Housing and Human Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews, announced that the opposition would provide a $200 voucher for couples intending to marry for use on pre-marriage training or parenting courses. They hope it will increase the take up rate of available services which they believe will help to keep families together and children from being the victims of broken families. The announcement was made at the Marriage Coalition conference, an initiative of the AFA with other family groups.
In another shot at Greens policy, the Greens were criticised by an indigenous academic for policies inconsistent with indigenous advancement. Referring particularly to their support for Qld’s wild rivers legislation, which prevents indigenous owners developing aboriginal land on the Cape, The Australian noted: "Professor Langton said Australians who voted for the Greens because they believed they were the most sympathetic towards indigenous rights were mistaken. "The Greens party hasn't stood up on indigenous rights on the Wild Rivers Act. They either agree with indigenous rights or they don't," she said. "They can't say they are standing up on indigenous rights and support the denial of the right to economic development.""
Federal Labor was also supportive of the Qld legislation with only Tony Abbott committing to oppose it.
Family First’s Qld Senate Candidate Wendy Francis also had criticism for the Greens in committing to support the fishing industry and recreational fishing if elected. Referring to the fishing industry around Cairns in particular she said: "the Greens don’t care about them and the minor fishing parties are too small to realistically be able to do anything."
I am certainly sympathetic to the Greens position on both these issues from a stewardship point of view, but again, it is a matter of whether their policies are showing the necessary balance as their critics are highlighting.
An interesting day, but Labor may have won the last Monday of the election with an additional $4,000pa per teenager.