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Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Fight on family impact statements!

THE Federal Government appears to be heading for a fight with the Family First party over the need for family impact statements to accompany legislation. The Coalition agreed to introduce family impact statements, to explain the consequences for families of new legislation, in a preference deal with Family First before the last election.

But Treasurer Peter Costello now says family impact statements will not always be appropriate when considering legislation.
"It will work in some cases," he told ABC television last night. "But let's suppose we're making a decision on whether to buy an air warfare destroyer. "I can't imagine that a family impact statement would be very influential (then), so you don't want to overstate these things."

Family First, which has close links to the Pentecostal Assemblies of God church, gained one Senate seat in the October poll. Its one senator, Steven Fielding, says family impact statements will be needed in virtually every case. "Even though some of the Government's spending decisions may not appear to directly affect families, the Government must still explain those decisions to families," he told ABC radio today.

"And the reason is because the Government is spending families' money. "I would think that most of the decisions, if not all, in Canberra either affect families or the spending of money is spending families' money."

Senator Fielding said he has an agreement from Prime Minister John Howard about the impact statements. "I've certainly had discussions with the PM ... and family statements has been agreed to."

The full sale of Telstra, the Government's sweeping industrial relations reforms and the abolition of compulsory student unionism were among the legislation that would need family impact statements, Senator Fielding said.

Whether GOLIATH understands or not, DAVID will win this fight!


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