Labor threatens democracy over youth allowance
Students and families in the Parkes electorate are urged to lobby the Labor government to allow debate on a bill that would make independent youth allowance fair.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard – 02 6277 7700
Senator Chris Evans – 02 6277 7320 / (08) 9481 4844 (WA)
Greens and Independent MP contact details can be found at: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/index.htm
The Coalition’s Social Security Amendment (Income Support for Regional Students) Bill 2010 seeks to reinstate the original and fairer eligibility criteria for students living in `inner regional’ areas. They have to work harder for longer to qualify because of changes the Labor government made to the youth allowance system. Many of these students are now struggling to qualify and afford tertiary studies.
The bill was passed in the senate last week with the support of Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon, and Family First Senator, Steve Fielding. The Greens voted with Labor to oppose it. The bill’s expected to now go to the House of Representatives but the Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she’ll try to stop that from happening.
"It’s in direct breach of standard procedure, and democracy," the Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said.
Mr Coulton said according to procedural rules, there should be a motion asking the House to consider the bill. If successful, it is then a matter for the House whether it passes the bill and a matter for the Government whether it presents it to the Governor-General.
"It should be the decision of elected representatives not the Labor government. It’s deeply disturbing and concerning that the Prime Minister is hell bent on killing off a bill that would help so many regional students," he said.
"Whatever happened to Labor’s love affair with regional Australia?
"I urge students, parents, teachers and concerned others to write to and phone the Prime Minister, the Tertiary Education Minister, Senator Chris Evans, and the Greens.