Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella has been accused of hypocrisy for criticising on television a cut to parenting payments that she supported in Parliament.
About 100,000 single parents will lose their parenting payments under changes which passed Parliament last week with the support of the Coalition.
Asked about the change on ABC TV’s Q&A last night, Ms Mirabella accused the government of forcing disadvantaged parents to pay for its financial mismanagement and record waste.
‘'The collateral damage of billions of dollars being mismanaged and then the government struggling to create the illusion of ... a $1.5 billion wafer-thin surplus is that there’s a panic, and the people who can least afford it are the ones who get damaged in the process,’’ she said.
Asked by host Tony Jones whether she was decrying a change that she had voted for, Ms Mirabella said: ‘‘I decried the process that has led up to the point where the government will make a lot of cuts across the board.’’
Employment Minister Bill Shorten said the policy was also Coalition policy.
‘‘This policy is a tough policy, but you guys introduced it in 2006. We recognise that there’s some merit to it. We’re not excited by it, but don’t pretend it’s not your policy, because you introduced it,’’ Mr Shorten said.
From January, single parents will lose their parenting payments when their youngest child turns eight, while partnered parents will lose their payments when their youngest turns six.
At this time, parents will be shifted on to the Newstart allowance, which is about $55 a week less than the single parenting payment.
The Howard government introduced these conditions for new parenting payment recipients in 2006, but people who were already receiving the payment were allowed to keep it until their youngest turned 16.
The changes are expected to save $685 million over four years.