Kevin Rudd has come under fire for hinting that the Government will provide relief for the Victorian bushfire victims through the $42 billion stimulus package.
The government was forced to clarify what they meant after Federal Opposition MPs came forth expressing their anger at the proposal, believing the Government is putting pressure on parliament to pass the package.
When questioned outside Parliament House on Tuesday, Rudd was quoted as saying, “We in Government are extremely keen to ensure this stimulus package goes through this week. It is absolutely essential that this package is delivered to assist both the Victorian bushfire victims and the global economic challenges that we are facing.”
He was forced to back peddle, then claiming that the bushfire relief would be in no way linked to the economic stimulus package and that they would be treated as separate issues.
Meanwhile the Government is in negotiations with the Greens, Independents and Family First to put their weight behind the package.
Senator Stephen Fielding of Family First believes that drastic changes need to be made to the stimulus package before he agrees to it.
“If the Prime Minister wishes me to vote for this $42 billion package, he should take more a conciliatory approach and welcome ideas from the crossbenches,” Fielding wrote in a 2300 word statement.
Fielding has proposed more needs to be done for local community job building, setting out $4 billion for a job creation scheme to help the 300,000 extra jobless forecasts by 2010.
Negotiations are expected to continue.