Full payment would be made when family income was less than $300 per week (plus $12 per child), decreasing with higher incomes. A family with three children under the age of 13 would continue to receive a child allowance supplement until the family income exceeds $456 per week. For private renter families, the benefit would not stop until income levels increased by $30 a week.
Families with disabled children would receive a disability allowance of $112 per month, with no means test.
Most family changes would start from November 1st. The family measures would cost $256 million in the next fiscal year and $405 million in a full year.
The promises of Mr. Hawke and those of the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Howard, are clearly differentiated. Although the Howard package would bring great benefits to high and middle income people, the government’s measures are almost totally aimed at low income people.
Mr Hawke promised that his government would “continue and intensify our undivided efforts” to renew and revitalize the Australian economy.
But his government would not jeopardize Australia’s future with irresponsible promises.
“We make our future commitments on the firm basis of the achievable, the credible, the responsible.”
National Party leader Mr Sinclair yesterday responded to the Government’s family package accusing Mr Hawke of showing the same care for families that US mass murderer Charles Manson had for pregnant film actress Sharon Tate.
Morgan’s latest poll in today’s ‘Bulletin’ shows Labor is in a comfortable position. The poll, taken over the weekend, saw Labor up one point to 49% and Non-Labour down one point to 43%. Mr. Howard’s approval dropped six points to 31%. A poll on the Liberals’ promised tax cuts also came as a disappointment for Howard, with around 50% against and just 41% in favour.
At the launch of the Labor Party, the Prime Minister renewed his assurances on the September budget, no new taxes and no tax hikes.
Mr Hawke said Labor would run a budget deficit of less than one per cent of gross domestic product in 1987-88. Labor would not increase the share of GDP taken as tax revenue during his next term.
The government would pay for its campaign promises with cuts to small departments not covered in the mini-budget, further savings to the civil service and bigger than expected savings from discretionary measures already taken to crack down on aid fraud. social security and tighten the eligibility rules for the allowance.
The government promised that any new policies introduced in future budgets would be funded “in the same responsible way that we have approached fiscal policy throughout our tenure”.
Economically, Hawke said inflation is expected to fall to 7% by the end of 1987 and to about 6% by mid-1988.
Mr Hawke called for a ‘renewed mandate for Medicare’, promised minor changes to pensioners’ benefit entitlements and what they could earn without losing part of their pension, and pledged Labor to achieve the goal of having two-thirds of Australian schoolchildren stay on through grade 12 by 1990.
Labor would continue its fight against taxes and Australia’s card legislation, twice defeated in the Senate, would be reinstated.
At Labour’s TV campaign launch last night, one of three non-government people asked about the economy and its future was a former Liberal Party figure, Mr Peter Frankel, who quit over the announcement by the opposition in its tax policy that it would cut certain programs designed to encourage exports.
Mr Howard said Mr Hawke’s political speech was full of hot air but lacked hope, incentive and solutions.
He demanded to know how Labor would pay for programs which, including those announced yesterday, would cost a total of $1.4 trillion, according to Liberal estimates.
Mr Howard said: “The Prime Minister is simultaneously promising to commit $1 trillion; he also says he won’t cut his spending any further; he also says that he will not increase the tax; he also says he will further reduce the budget deficit”