Well, lets take an example: welfare reform. Welfare reform is something that many of those middle class strugglers we’re talking about happen to support. Do you think that solo parents on the DPB should be made to work full time when their youngest child turns 14,- and part time when their youngest child is five?
I think you’ve really got to be careful about making things compulsory. There are many, many people out there by now who are – at the age that their children are now – who are saying ‘ I’ll go back to work again, for a lot of different reasons, and for a lot of economic reasons.” There are two issues here for me here – if you want someone to go back out to work again, there are at least three pre-conditions. One, they need to have the skills to be able to get work. Two, they need to have good childcare to be able to do it And three, there has to be the jobs. Now if you don’t talk about those three things, then there’s no point in talking about compulsory or optional or whatever. Those three things are essential pre-requisites. And what’s happening is that the government is talking about compulsion, of pushing people out while actually not providing the enabling part of it.
But the point is, the struggling middle class don’t want to wait for those pre-conditions to be met. They’re happy to have welfare reform now, and seem to have a striking lack of sympathy for people on the DPB. Do you oppose the DPB planks of the welfare reform process?
I don’t oppose the encouragement of getting people into work. I don’t think there’s a party in Parliament that doesn’t believe working isn’t better than being on some sort of welfare cheque, particularly for unemployed people. For DPBs its obviously slightly more difficult, in that child must come first. And for us, that’s the key issue. The other issue…is that the majority of women who are having children, who go back out to work,- and I know, because there are tons of them in my electorate here – who put their children into childcare, and are able to cope. But there is another group of people and or whatever reason – jobs, skills, adequate childcare – where they can’t do that. They don’t have that option, even if you wanted them to, or felt that was the best thing for them. So putting the child first means that – if you want to get women back into the work force – you do need those other things in place.
But in the real world in 2012, we’re going to have the government enacting a welfare policy whereby solo parents on the DPB will have to work full time once their youngest child is 14 – regardless of the state of the job market. There’s no quid pro quo I can see on the government’s reform agenda. So, will you oppose that measure?
If there are no jobs, if there is no training, if there’s no ability for somebody to get childcare then –
So that’s a yes, you will oppose it?
I would like to encourage to get people back to work whenever they…as soon as possible.
I’m trying to get past your preference, and get at what are you going to do when it hoves into view into Parliament. Are you going to vote against any measure of this sort, within that section of the welfare reform legislation?
We have to see what it looks like.
You know what it looks like. Bennett and Co. have made their intentions very clear.
I’ll say to you again : I believe people should be going back to work, or going to work – because some of them haven’t been to work – whenever that is possible for them to do that, and whenever it is in the best interests of their children. But I say again – if there is no ability to get good work, either through jobs, or through skills or through decent childcare then that’s not….
And finally, can I say that those things are of such a priority to you as a pre-condition that absent of them, you will vote against that part of the legislation ?
I want to look at the legislation before I tell you how I’m going to vote. I’m not going to be sitting here in the absence of a caucus discussion and telling you how I – or the Labour Party – are going to vote.
Fail for Campbell.