So, paid parental leave. But not just yet.

Deborah has a post up at LP that asks: why the long wait until January 2011? The swift answer appears to be cynical partisan strategising, the Rudd team looking to wedge the Liberals in the next election. The thread drifts after that.

Obviously I’m all in favour of measures that can enhance parental bonding and bring all workers the benefits that many public servants and some workers in strongly unionised workplaces have enjoyed for many years, especially since it includes fathers.

Open thread.

Categories: relationships, work and family

Tags: , ,

12 replies

  1. The thread drifts after that.
    That’s very polite, Tigtog. I made one completely ineffective attempt to get the discussion back to just why the federal government thought that it was acceptable to push mothers around, but really, they seem determined to discuss whether or not there should be paid parental leave at all. Oh well.
    And of course, the answer is, “Of course!” So it’s good to see this being put into place, at last, in Australia, for virtually all mothers and fathers who are primary caregivers and who have been in paid employment. I’m looking forward to see some of the detail, but overall, this is surely a good thing for Australian parents.

  2. I don’t have an explanation for the 2011 date apart from what was already suggested in the link, but just a general comment:
    “They seem determined to discuss whether or not there should be paid parental leave at all”
    V. true. There’s been a huge number of hate comments over the past couple of days, cliches like “why should I pay for other peoples’ kids”, ” I bought up my kids fine without any financial assistance”, “if you can’t afford to have kids, don’t have any at all”. If you look at the Roy Morgan poll, 55% of people who took it didn’t believe paid maternity leave shouldn’t even exist (it didn’t phrase it in terms of paternity).
    I also didn’t like how it was announced as a sort of Mothers Day “gift”- as though it’s some sort of luxury good that’s being given away. Most people are just grumbling about how much it’s going to cost taxpayers’, they couldn’t really give a shit about new parents struggling financially

  3. I think it can be both a setting up of a convenient election trump/Oppo wedge AND a serious policy landmark, or at least both interests can converge. In the current economic ZOMG Sky! Look! Falling! it would be easy to imagine a govt putting off a big ticket item like this (I mean, more than 18 months, indefinitely). Of course doing so would have its own political costs, but those could be borne. There are clearly people at the top of the government who actually genuinely believe in the issue.

    So I saw the 2011 compromise as a way to get the thing in finally with minimal squealing from the Chamber of Commerce, Business Council etc etc

  4. But it’s not even really a big ticket item – it’s only $250 million. At least, I think that’s not “big ticket” but I will check how it compares with other new and / or increased spending in the Budget tomorrow night.

  5. Bringing in whole new categories of govt payment, or widely expanding existing ones, is never a small matter, especially when they have the fig leaf of a recession. I too would have prefered an earlier start date, although of course bringing it in on July 1 2009 would be no less a cynical, partisan, political decision than 2011 is. My reaction at the announcement is, as now, that 2011 is a compromise I’d prefer not to have happened but in the long run pretty trivial next to the major victory.

  6. @ Amanda – your reply to that commenter on LP to just suck it up because he lives in society – made of awesome! Like you.

  7. Oh honesty I actually felt bad about that immediately afterwards and haven’t been back since out of shame!

  8. I was having an argument about this with hubby the other night. He was annoyed that it was to be means tested. I suggested that we had been breathing the rarified air of a nice salary package for too long if we thought that people on $150k or more needed parental leave paid for.
    This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think that if both parents-to-be are on $150k+ so neither qualify for parental leave payments, then they seriously need to look at their budget if they don’t think they can afford children without govt parental payments. Since it is based on the salary of the primary carer, there will be a small minority who won’t qualify. But I’d think that minority would be very small.

  9. No, I think you made a good point. I pay my taxes and the Government spends them in ways I’m not always happy with, but that’s just how it is. I’d prefer that religious groups posing as abortion helplines not get government funding, that we didn’t spend millions for each gold medal at the Olympics when our hospitals are falling apart etc. Sometimes we need a reminder that we just have to suck it up.

  10. Oh well, I have problems myself with the baby bonus as bad policy but that needs to be separated from parental leave which is a structural change with more significant society-wide implications and justifications. Entirely different. And its legit to be concerned about how taxes are spent. But I think trying to see the bigger picture as oft as poss is a good idea.

  11. Now the thread at LP has degenerated into “but of course we value women’s (unpaid) work, what about all the work men do around the house! Well what about it? Most of it takes place on the weekend, unlike housework and child raising which takes place all the time.

  12. I actually felt bad about that immediately afterwards

    There’s no shame Amanda. Might as well draw a line under that comment, frankly.

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