Friday, December 02, 2005

Working against families

Child Poverty Action Group has won the right to challenge the government's Family Assitance payments on the ground that they discriminate against children on the basis of the work status of their parents.

This is fantastic, because even if they don't win this important issue should get some much needed media coverage (and I suspect the Human Rights Review Tribunal Decision will have all the force of a wet bus ticket).

Both the current Child Tax Credit, and the In Work Payment (which will start in April) are aimed at families with children, but explicitly exclude parents on a benefit. The Child Tax Credit is worth $15 a week per child, and the In Work Payment is going to be $60 for the first child, and another $15 for the fourth and subsequent child. This is a significant amount of money on most budgets. The idea that children on whose parents are on the benefit don't need that money is ridiculous. isolates beneficiaries from other families - treats them like lepers and worst of all it treats their children differently - what is different about a beneficiary child? Does that child look different when she or he goes to school? Yes, that child probably does look different because of the circumstances of the family—but also the government wants everyone to know that he or she is different.”
That's from Annette King, by the way.

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