September 09, 2004


Mark Latham will be praying that this story, via the ABC’s Catherine McGrath, doesn’t get any traction:

CATHERINE MCGRATH: But the next caller to Hobart ABC radio was worried, very worried about Labor's policies. She thinks she's one of the losers.

CALLER 2: Obviously I'm a sole parent, but I was one of the unfortunate ones that my husband didn't leave me, he died, and Mr Latham said this morning on AM that sole parents need to get back to work and show their kids some work ethic, well, hello? You know, I'm here with three kids under 11 trying to sort out our lives, my husband died at work, and he's telling me to go back to work.

Oops! Looks like a certain level of traction has already been achieved. Here’s Josh Gordon in The Age:

A single mother earning $35,000 a year is struggling to raise two children. Each week she scrapes together just enough cash for bills, food, rent, clothes, child care. She is one of Mark Latham's "forgotten people", a true battler.

Then she takes a close look at his $11.2 billion tax and family policy. What? She will be $208 a year worse off if John Howard loses the election? How could this be? Although Latham claims the package will "ease the squeeze" on working families, Labor's own policy documents show the benefits are distributed in a cruelly haphazard manner.

The haphazard welfare lobby also cruelly attacked Latham:

Opposition Leader Mark Latham today rejected claims that Labor's tax and family shake-up would leave 180,000 families worse off.

Welfare body ACOSS today reportedly said 180,000 families would go backwards under Labor's tax policy, which includes tax cuts of up to $8 a week.

How far backward? Sue Dunlevy has the numbers:

More than 100,000 sole parents and another 80,000 low-income families will lose between $500 and $2500 a year if Labor is elected.

And if they think taking up Opposition Leader Mark Latham's challenge to get a job will help they had best think again, according to The Australian Council of Social Service.

Under Labor's tax and family package released on Tuesday they will get slugged even more, ACOSS said.

We’re living in strange times when ACOSS and the Prime Minister are making near-identical comments. Here’s Howard hitting a theme we’ll hear much more of in coming days:

How can you justify adding to the annual tax burden to the tune of $400 or $500 of a single-income family with an income of less than $35,000?

Posted by Tim Blair at September 9, 2004 05:35 AM

What's with this $8/week tax cut? I don't know about Australia, but here in Canada, that $8 plus another two bucks will buy you a pack of cigarettes...

Posted by: GMO at September 9, 2004 at 07:01 AM

Two sandwiches and a milkshake, mate.

Posted by: Quentin George at September 9, 2004 at 08:02 AM

Jeez, Latham sounds like a very poor copy of Kerry. Are you sure he is getting his daily meds?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 9, 2004 at 09:50 AM

It's all sweet sweet music to me.

Posted by: Michael Gill at September 9, 2004 at 10:45 PM