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Newman’s Attack On Beneficiary Parents Offensive

22 March 2002 Media Statement

Newman’s attack on beneficiary parents offensive and inaccurate

Claims by Act MP Muriel Newman that receiving a benefit turns a person into a child abuser are offensive and inaccurate, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Steve Maharey was responding to a media statement issued this afternoon by Mrs Newman suggesting the number of clients seen by Child, Youth and Family was connected to the number of people receiving welfare benefits.

“Demonising people on welfare as child abusers is a pretty low form of politics.

“It hardly needs saying but for the record, there is no established causal link between shared parenting, opening up the proceedings of the Family Court to the media and welfare support for sole parents with increased rates of child abuse as Mrs Newman claims.

“Further, the small increase in repeat notifications of child abuse and neglect to Child, Youth and Family I reported to Mrs Newman needs to be seen in the context of the overall decrease in the number of notifications I also advised her about.

“What continues to astound me – and I would imagine most people with an interest in advancing child protection issues – is the Act party’s continued advocacy for privatising Child, Youth and Family.

“The Labour-Alliance government has invested significant additional resources and used some of the best minds in the child protection field to advise us on how to rebuild this department.

“Child, Youth and Family was run down almost to the point of collapse by the very National government which Mrs Newman was happy to support. Bashing beneficiaries won’t stop me from reminding Act and National that they left the new government with a department in real trouble which we have worked hard to put back on to a firm footing,” Steve Maharey said.

ends

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