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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3487 ..

health care, to put more pressure on our public health system, to raise the cost of childcare.

Ms Hunter: She has been to every forum. I do not think Mr Humphries has been turning up.

MR SESELJA: We have an interjection again from Meredith Hunter. These are the kinds of policies that they do not want to talk about. They do not want to talk about the fact that the Greens’ policies mean higher costs for Canberra families. A vote for the Greens means higher private health costs, more pressure on our public system, higher private school fees, more pressure on our public system, higher childcare fees and a complete reduction of subsidies for those who send their kids to the for-profit sector. These are dangerous policies and they should be taken very seriously by the people of the ACT. (Time expired.)

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (12.04): Let us start this debate by being very clear about something. The reality here is that Mr Seselja and his Liberal colleagues, including federal Senate colleague Mr Humphries, seem to think that they have the moral high ground, standing up for Canberra’s families. But the truth is that it is actually Greens policies that support all Canberra families, while the Liberals’ policies support only some Canberra families. The Liberals’ policies divert funding away from public health and education services, yet all families deserve access to high-quality education and all families deserve high-quality, accessible public health care.

The irony of this motion today is that Mr Seselja seems to have forgotten just how necessary these services are when you do not have a job at all—a promise that the Liberal leader, Tony Abbott, has made to the people of Canberra through his slashing of the commonwealth public service. They will not have jobs. They are going to need access to health care and to education. This will have an impact, not just on those public service employees but also on the numerous small businesses that rely on a thriving ACT economy.

The reality is that we will be much worse off under the proposed Liberal ideas. Let me outline to you why that is. The truth here is that the Liberal Party’s ideas about equity are really all about some being more equal than others.

Let us go to the cost of living. Firstly, it is fair to say that there are many people in our community who are experiencing cost of living pressures. In every electorate, in every demographic, there are people who are really doing it tough. The Greens are the only ones who have consistently stood up for these people.

For years, we have been talking about the acute problems of homelessness and poverty, as well as all the ongoing difficulties. We have been arguing that the age pension should be increased and, importantly, indexed to provide a reasonable standard of living for older members of our community. It is a national disgrace that older Australians were given such a pathetic allowance under the Howard government. Older Australians deserve better than to be subject to the whim of the government of the day. They need and deserve a fair and reasonable living allowance that is indexed and maintained at a reasonable level.

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