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Order of Business

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Senator Martin Conway

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I agree with Senator Jim Walsh on holding a series of debates. The Leader gave a commitment to hold a number of pre-budget debates, which could be very useful. In other European countries parliaments debate the budget process some time before budget day, which means the budget speech of their respective Ministers are effectively a summation of what has been decided by parliament. A move towards this type of system would be a positive development.
I am concerned that a report on child benefit has been leaked to the media. I am fed up with such leaks taking place, irrespective of the source. Someone should be disciplined for leaking information because it is unhelpful, a form of scaremongering and causes unnecessary upset to vulnerable people. I do not agree with paying child benefit on a universal basis. A millionaire should not be able to claim the payment. At one stage, a facility was in place in post offices for child benefit to be lodged in a savings account over a period. If someone can afford to save child benefit, he or she does not need it.
We need to have a mature debate on universal payments. They are not necessary because those who can afford to shoulder the burden should be required to do so. It is wrong for people to expect a payment on the basis of their citizenship. Child benefit should be provided only to those who deserve it.