The Education Tax Rebate – whether Labor’s version or the more expensive Coalition version announced today – is the march of welfare quarantining beyond the income-support reliant lower classes into the middle class. The eligible group of FTB A recipients includes all but about the top 25% of families.
Parents can get their welfare handout, but only so long as they spend it on a list of things approved by the state.
In practice, this rebate isn’t really going to be a major behaviour changer. Most parents will spend more than maximum rebatable amount anyway, making the rebate just a paperwork intensive form of FTB A for parents of school-age kids.
But it is a bad precedent for the state seeking to monitor more of family life. How long before nanny wants receipts for healthy food, or some other paternalist preoccupation of the day?