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Labor Response to FamilyVoice Federal Election Survey
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Labor Response to FamilyVoice Federal Election Survey

1. Prayers in parliament

Do you support the current practice of opening each day of parliament with Christian prayers?

Under a re-elected Gillard Labor Government there will be no change to the convention of opening Parliament each day with the Lord’s Prayer.


2. Marriage

Would you vote to retain the Marriage Act 1961 definition of marriage as “the union of a man and women, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the ALP remain committed to maintaining the definition of marriage as currently set out in the Marriage Act as being between a man and woman. 


3. Abortion

Would you vote to amend the paid parental leave and baby bonus laws in order to remove the loophole allowing women who undergo a late abortion for “social” reasons to access these payments?

Women who have an abortion are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave or the Baby Bonus. Paid Parental Leave and the Baby Bonus is paid to eligible families on the birth or adoption of a child, and may be paid for a stillborn child.

A still birth is required to be certified by a medical professional.

The Government changed the Bereavement Payment Claim form on 1 January 2009 to provide greater clarity to health professionals about baby bonus eligibility. The same form will apply to paid parental leave.

If people have evidence of fraud, this is against the law and should be reported to Centrelink.


4. Illicit drugs

Would you support the replacement of the current focus of the National Drug Strategy on harm minimisation strategies with a new focus on achieving a drug free society?

On the tragedy of drug abuse, Federal Labor is committed to a comprehensive approach encompassing demand and supply reduction strategies, prevention of onset of use and early intervention as well law enforcement and harm minimisation policies. 


5. Internet filtering

Would you support mandatory filtering of the internet at ISP level to exclude all material currently refused classification in print, film or video media?

The Government does not support Refused Classification (RC) content being available on the internet.

Federal Labor believes that while the internet offers fantastic opportunities, governments have a responsibility to put in place measures that ensure Australians, in particular children, have a safe experience online. 

There is no silver bullet solution to cyber-safety.  That’s why Federal Labor’s $125.8 million Cyber-Safety Plan consists of a comprehensive range of measures encompassing education, law enforcement, research and mandatory Internet Service Provider (ISP) filtering of Refused Classification (RC) content. 

Under the plan, following completion of a live pilot of ISP level filtering the Government announced enhancements to its cyber-safety plan including introduction of mandatory ISP level filtering of content that is rated Refused Classification (RC).  Federal Labor has also introduced a grants program to encourage ISP’s to offer additional level filtering services to households who want them. 

The Gillard Labor Government's plan will bring the treatment of overseas hosted content into line by requiring ISPs to block overseas content that has been identified as being Refused Classification (RC) rated.


6. Online gambling

Would you oppose any measure which seeks to legalise online gambling?

The Gillard Labor Government will retain the existing rules that prohibit the provision of online gambling to Australians.   Federal Labor does not agree with the Productivity Commission’s 2010 report into Gambling which recommended that the Australian Government amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to allow for a liberalisation of online gambling. 

Further, as part of Federal Labor’s Cyber-safety plan, families that wish to have a wider range of material filtered, including gambling sites,  will be able to access Government grants to encourage Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer these services on a commercial and optional basis. This will help parents to choose what they want filtered without having to download and install software to their home computers.


7. Education

Would you support full funding for the current school chaplaincy system until 2014?

The Gillard Labor Government is committed to ensuring appropriate pastoral care is provided at school and recognises the positive contributions Chaplains make to the school community.

Under the program established by the former Coalition Government, schools would have started running out of funding for their Chaplain from August.

As Education Minister, Julia Gillard took action to ensure Chaplains and school communities had certainty for the ongoing position of Chaplaincy services.

Julia Gillard committed extra funding to ensure that all Chaplains currently working in schools had funding to continue their great work for all 2010 and for the full school year next year.

We are determined to get the provision of Chaplaincy and pastoral care services right and we think that the Chaplaincy Program could be improved, especially to ensure school communities in rural and regional areas could also benefit. 

To this end we are undertaking an extensive consultation process to determine options for the future of pastoral care in schools from 2010 onwards.

The Gillard Labor Government remains committed to supporting Chaplains in Schools.


8.   Child care benefits

Would you support legislation to provide equal benefits to all families with young children, either baby bonus, parental leave or child care, whether the mother is in the workforce or not?

The Gillard Labor Government values the hard work of all mothers and will continue to support families to make their own work and family choices.

We know that all mothers work regardless of whether they are at home or in a paid job. Most mothers want to spend time at home with a new baby, and most women will spend periods of time in and out of the workforce depending on their circumstances.

That’s why the Gillard Labor Government supports families through a range of measures including the Baby Bonus, Family Tax Benefits A and B and from 1 January 2011, Australia’s first paid Parental Leave scheme.Mums who aren’t in paid employment who meet the income test will continue to receive the non-taxable Baby Bonus paid over 13 fortnights ($5,300 from 1 July 2010). And the Family Tax Benefit Part B is geared especially to support single income families. 

In the year following the birth of a baby, most stay at home mums will continue to receive more in Federal Government family assistance than mums who return to work after six months, even after Paid Parental Leave is taken into account.

Single income families also benefitted from the Federal Labor’s Economic Stimulus measures through the single income family bonus ($900 per eligible child), the back-to-school bonus ($950 per eligible child) and the Tax Bonus. 


9. Human Rights

Would you vote against any form of a national charter of rights that would subject Australian lawmaking to international instruments and jurisprudence?

The Gillard Labor Government has no intention of introducing a Charter of Human Rights. 

Rather, The Gillard Labor Government is committed to positive and practical change to promote and protect human rights. 

The Human Rights Framework, announced in April 2010, contains a range of measures to improve human rights protection in Australia, with education as the centrepiece. These measures include:

- Investing over $12 million in a comprehensive suite of education initiatives to promote a greater understanding of human rights across the community.

- Establishing a new Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to provide greater scrutiny of legislation for compliance with our international human rights obligations.

- Requiring that each new Bill introduced into Parliament is accompanied by a statement of compatibility with our international human rights obligations. 

- Combining federal anti-discrimination laws into a single Act to remove unnecessary regulatory overlap and make the system more user-friendly.

- Creating an annual NGO Human Rights Forum to enable comprehensive engagement with non-government organisations on human rights matters.




10. Vilification legislation

Would you vote against any attempt to introduce a “vilification” law that would penalise frank discussion and debate of religious belief or sexuality?

Australia is home to a diversity of faiths, united by tolerance, mutual respect and a commitment to democratic traditions.

The Gillard Labor Government is committed to the maintenance of freedom of religion and religious expression as fundamental democratic rights.  

Further, the Gillard Labor Government believes that people are entitled to respect, dignity and the opportunity to participate in society and receive the protection of the law regardless of their sexuality.



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