It's day one of the election year and it's marked by a spectacular example of polly speak and attempted spinning. Families Minister Jenny Macklin's effort, with the help of her media staff, is going to be hard to surpass in the months ahead.First the polly speak:
Journalist: Tens of thousands of single parents are now on the dole, could you live on the dole?JENNY MACKLIN: What we know is that we needed to fix a difference that was in the system for parenting payment. Back in 2006 the rules were changed and anybody who had their youngest child turn 8 coming on to Parenting Payment who was looking for work went on to unemployment benefits instead. What we’ve done is really just make sure that those people who’ve been on the payment for a longer period of time have the same rules applied to them.A first rate example of avoiding a simple question by answering something completely different. So far so good. But then a little slip in the face of persistence:
Journalist: With respect that didn't answer the question. Could you live on the dole?Ms Macklin: I could, and of course we understand that what's important for people who are unemployed is that we do everything possible to help people get work.That's the whole focus of this government - to do everything we can to help people to get into work and that's what we're doing with these single parents as well.So the Minister thinks she could live on the dole. That's the kind of comment that will provide plenty of fodder for the media pack from now until polling day. So let's bring in a little spin. Erase the question and answer from the official record.
It was inaudible unfortunately. Unless you happen to have ears.