Senator MOORE (Queensland) (22:32):
The schoolkids bonus is a very important Labor initiative. We are committed to retaining the payment. Mr Chairman, I think you would remember that everyone on this side of the chamber who spoke in the debate talked about the importance of the schoolkids bonus. They shared with the chamber the kinds of information that their communities were giving them about how important the payment is to them, their families and their school communities. In fact, a number of senators spoke about how important this is to their schools.
It is odd that we are even debating this payment in any discussion of the mining resource tax. We do not understand why it is linked to this process. We are not surprised by the fact that the government is trying to cut the bonus, because we have seen that in a range of other areas in this space. The schoolkids bonus was never part of the debate on the mining resource tax but getting rid of it seems to be.
It is important to note that many of the families who could lose this important payment which is so important to their kids education and their ability to be engaged in the wider activities of the school, which is what the schoolkids bonus was designed to do, are the same families who will be affected by other proposed changes that the government has put into its budget. Consistently we say that when you are looking at the impact of any change you should look at the cumulative impact. This is one change that we do not want to see. We want to retain the schoolkids bonus. It is important. People know about it. They look forward to it. They celebrate when they receive it for their children at school. We believe that it should be retained. I know that there are many people with similar amendments who feel exactly the same way.
The CHAIRMAN: Senator Moore, would you move the amendment formally?
Senator MOORE: I move opposition amendment (1) on sheet 7530:
(1) Clause 2, page 2 (table item 3, column headed "Provision(s)"), omit "9", substitute "5".
And the opposition opposes schedules 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the following terms:
(2) Schedule 6, page 36 (lines 1 to 13), to be opposed.
(3) Schedule 7, page 37 (line 1) to page 39 (line 3), to be opposed.
(4) Schedule 8, page 40 (line 1) to page 45 (line 9), to be opposed.
(5) Schedule 9, page 46 (line 1) to page 49 (line 24), to be opposed.