Whatever happened to all those Abbott policies?

20 April 2016 | A few weeks out from the 2016 Budget, take a look back at the policies the Government still hasn't made law.

Pickled policies

Seven months after taking the top job and only two and a half months until a double dissolution election, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Treasurer Scott Morrison are preparing to deliver their first Budget. 

However, with the parliamentary term soon to come to a close, billions in savings measures introduced since 2013 are yet to become law. With that in mind, it's worth taking a look back at some of the policy announcements from the first term of the Abbott-Turnbull government which are still on the cards.

Policy What happened?
  • Index pensions to Consumer Price Index instead of wage growth
  • Pause indexation (i.e. decrease in real terms) of income-test-free areas for all pensions
  • Increase retirement age to 70
Not yet passed
Higher education
  • Deregulate course fees
  • Charge interest on HELP student loans by increasing indexation above rate of inflation
  • Decrease HELP loan repayment threshold from $53,345 to $50,638 
  • Reduce Commonwealth Grants to universities
  • Pause indexation of HELP loans for carers of young children earning under threshold
  • Remove discounts for up-front payments and voluntary repayments of HECS-HELP debt
Voted down in the Senate. Government reintroduced the bill without the interest charges on student debt, but this was also rejected in the Senate.
Pause indexation income-free and means-test thresholds for Youth Allowance, Austudy, and Abstudy Not yet passed
Abolish Pensioner Education Supplement and Education Entry Payment Not yet passed
Family benefits
Paid Parental Leave (PPL) payment rates determined according to income of recipient Policy abandoned
Prevent parents from "double dipping" in employer and government PPL payments by limiting the amount they can claim from government if employer offers it Not yet passed, Minister intends to review policy
Child care funding arrangements:
  • Abolish Child Care Benefit ($208.50/week for non-school aged kids) and Child Care Rebate (up to $7,500/year)
  • Introduce Child Care Subsidy (85% child care fees up to $1155/fortnight) with means and activity testing
Not yet passed
Changes to Family Tax Benefit (round one):
  • Freeze payment rates of Parts A and B for two years
  • Restrict Part B to families with children under six years (was previously 16)
  • Introduce single parent supplement for parents of children 6-12 who qualify for Part A but not Part B
  • Reduce end-of-year supplements and freeze them indefinitely
Foundered in the Senate in October 2014, replaced by new reforms below.
Changes to Family Tax Benefit (round two):
  • Increase FTB Part A by $10.08/fortnight for each child under 20; Youth Allowance and disability pension for under 18s living at home increases by same amount
  • Increase FTB Part B by $1000.10/year for families with a child under one
  • Reduce FTB Part B by $1737.4/year for single parents whose youngest is 13-16
  • Phase out end-of-year supplements by July 2018.
Not yet passed
  • $7 GP co-payment
  • $5 rebate reduction for GP consultation
Both abandoned due to lack of public support
Pause indexation of Medicare rebates for consultations and operations until 2018 Introduced after GP co-pay and rebate reductions failed to gain support
Job seekers
Young job seekers:
  • 22-24 year olds to be paid Youth Allowance instead of the more generous Newstart
  • Four week wait for Youth Allowance for under 25s
Taken out of two larger social services bills when they were resisted in the Senate. Introduced separately in September 2015 as a youth employment bill, which has not yet passed.
"Learn, earn or Work for the Dole"
  • Activity requirements for young people ("learn, earn or Work for the Dole")
  • Maximum 6-month waiting period for Newstart for under 30s
Not yet passed
Pause indexation income-free thresholds for Newstart and other working age allowances Not yet passed

Want to know more about the 2016 Federal Budget?