Back to School Vouchers

Published on: February 2024

Record: HANSARD-1323879322-138324

Back to School Vouchers

Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (12:16:05):

By leave: Yesterday in this House I took a point of order during an answer to a question by the education Minister, and Deputy Premier, which the Speaker upheld. That answer was in response to a question on back to school vouchers. While I was taking the point of order, the Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education interjected words to the effect that I was seeking the vouchers for myself and did not need them on my salary. During question time today another Minister interjected in reference to me that I am seeking "a back to school bonus just for you."

The inference that I am somehow utilising my position in this place to seek personal financial gain is an offensive imputation and smear against me, and I will not allow that kind of personal attack to be made. It is a matter of public record that just yesterday my first child started kindergarten. That is an incredibly exciting time but an expensive time for families, regardless of their salaries. In this place none of us fully know each other's personal circumstances. Some people here know that I have been a single mother since my son was only a few months old. Regardless, I am fortunate in many ways and my salary is a matter of public record, as are the even more significant salaries of the two men who chose to make those comments about me.

I will not accept me or the women who work hard across New South Wales, whether earning a higher or lower wage, being subjected to judgement and shame because they have faced some cost-of-living challenges while trying to ensure their children gain the education they so rightly deserve. When I speak in this place I speak for them, not for my own gain, and I expect their challenges and needs to be respected without disrespectful and personal smears.

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