Tanya Plibersek: "The Government would like grandparents to go get a job."

Most of us have either heard a story about or know grandparents who’ve found themselves raising their teenage grandchildren.

Too often, the circumstances are tragic. In some cases parents may have died, or become sick.

The pressures on the grandparents are significant. Being older, grandparents can be more susceptible to health problems. And the financial stress of raising kids relying on their superannuation, or the pension, can sometimes be too much.

Sadly, all the love in the world can’t house, feed, and clothe teenage kids.

Tanya Plibersek in Christian Porter’s electorate campaigning with hundreds of pensioners.

So, if you were thinking about how to help those grandparents, would you:

(a) suggest they get a bit of help from the government to make ends meet;

(b) cut their government support;

(c) tell them to get up off their backsides and go get a job; or

(d) tell them to put their teenage grandchildren in childcare?

The obvious answer’s (a) – get a bit of help from government to make ends meet. Right?

Not according the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s new Social Services Minister, Christian Porter, who opted for option (b), (c), and (d).

Christian Porter.

This week, Mr Porter confirmed grandparents who rely on Family Tax Benefit Part B to help them with the cost of raising a 15-year-old child will be around $2,500 a year worse off because the Abbott-Turnbull Government is cutting family payments. If that wasn’t insulting enough, Mr Porter went on to suggest that if those grandparents were struggling, they should go out and get a job and put their teenage grandchildren in childcare!

That’s right. You read correctly.

After a strong campaign from Labor, the Abbott-Turnbull Government backed down on some of its previously proposed cuts to family payments. But some cuts, like those to grandparents raising teenage children remain.


Mr Porter tried to explain this away by saying that under his changes there will be some “snakes and ladders”. This is no game Mr Porter, these are real people, with real kids, and real lives.

Watch the Social Services minister discuss the family tax benefit in Question Time. (Post continues after video.)

Indeed, after listening to Mr Porter in Question Time this week, Rita Beckman, a grandparent carer from Queensland wrote this to Labor’s families spokesperson, Jenny Macklin:

“I have always worked and paid my way and it is only in recent years that my life has taken a downturn. I am a single aged pensioner and I am the legal guardian for my 10 year old granddaughter since the sudden death of my daughter. She has been in my care since she was 5 years of age. I am now 75 years old and am slowly being crippled with osteoarthritis and have problems with my balance. I will be 78 when she turns 13 and 81 when she turns 16. I do not wish to seem complaining as I love having this little girl in my life but for goodness sake how can anyone possibly think an employer would take me on. The arrogance of the Minister for Social Services is breathtaking.”

I couldn’t agree more Mrs Beckman.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government is seriously arrogant and out of touch.

“The Abbott-Turnbull Government is seriously arrogant and out of touch.”

Whether it’s Joe Hockey saying poor people don’t drive cars.

Or Malcolm Turnbull trying to equate the millions he keeps offshore with a cleaner with $30,000 in super.

Or Christian Porter this week telling grandparent carers to get a job and stick their teenage grand kids in childcare.

This is a Government that just doesn’t get it.

Australia deserves better.

Do you agree with Tanya Plibersek on the cuts to family tax benefits?