Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Are feminists opposing Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme on personality grounds only?

There is an odd consensus emerging between conservative Liberals opposed to their own leader’s paid parental leave scheme and defenders of the Gillard government’s version of the same policy. Into the…

Opposition leader Tony Abbott is under pressure to drop his signature paid parental leave scheme ahead of this year’s federal election. AAP/Dave Hunt

There is an odd consensus emerging between conservative Liberals opposed to their own leader’s paid parental leave scheme and defenders of the Gillard government’s version of the same policy.

Into the strange mix, we can throw the business sector, which also opposes the contentious Abbott scheme.

The business excuse is that it is paid out of a new levy on business - their view is obviously self-interested - but the motives of the conservative Liberals are less clear.

Paid parental leave draws justifications and criticisms from various quarters. At a basic level, it is difficult to oppose a payment that ensures mothers the time off work required to bond with newborns.

This is obviously a health issue. But if the rationale behind the move is to ensure that lower income families have the money to allow the mother to take that vital time, then we’re drifting into the realm of welfare policy.

The more radical basis for arguing for parental leave is to set up it up as an ongoing workplace entitlement. Feminists have long argued for parenting time to be recognised as a legitimate employee entitlement, like holiday pay, sick pay and long service leave, as part of a wider effort to normalise parenting in workplaces.

Interestingly, Tony Abbott’s pitch for his version of paid parental leave is closer to the feminist angle than the health or welfare justifications. He has designed a payment that meets so many traditional feminist demands. This is not just an argument about the needs of children - important as these may be - but the value women workers bring in improving productivity via greater participation. Recognising parents' role in workplaces fits this model.

The campaign by feminists and others to introduce a paid parental leave scheme has a long history. An initial victory in the late 1970s put in place the right of employees to take up to 12 months unpaid maternity leave if they had 12 month continuous services with the same employer.

This change was disappointingly not followed by a leave payment, despite various campaigns, reports and even interventions by the Human Rights Commission.

The last major effort to introduce a paid parental leave scheme was driven by Pru Goward. It recommended 14 weeks paid maternity leave in a scheme similar to the current Gillard plan, except it was to be paid up to and not at the minumum wage level.

This was not acceptable to the Howard government as it was linked to paid workers and didn’t cover women at home. The Howard answer instead was a A$3000 baby bonus paid to all mothers, soon rising to A$5000.

After ejecting Howard in 2007, the Rudd Labor government referred the issue to the Productivity Commission which produced yet another version bearing considerable similarities to Pru Goward’s model. The government accepted and introduced this and by 2011, it was operational. Parents are now entitled to 18 weeks pay but can no longer claim the baby bonus and some Family Tax benefits.

It was, as was the earlier version, an odd mix of welfare-type payment and workplace attachment. However, it has some serious flaws. The standard payment of the minimum wage bears no relationship to actual earnings - and the source of the payment is Centrelink - making it just another form of welfare payment.

Some part-time workers receive more that they were paid while working and others significantly less. There is also no connected leave or the right of return to your job. These rights are available only to those mothers who have been employed for 12 months by the same employer, as with the entitlement under the separate legislation for unpaid maternity leave.

Under the current paid parental leave scheme introduced by the Gillard government, parents are entitled to 18 weeks pay following the birth of a child. AAP/Alan Porritt

So why have so few feminists been openly supportive of the Abbott scheme? On what the information available so far, it seems to be pretty much what many have long campaigned for: replacement income and 26 weeks leave.

Could the reason for the lack of support be related to who proposed it than what it is? Abbott has a history of sexism and anti-fertility control so opposition to his proposal could stem from his past record.

This is Abbott’s opportunity to show he has changed. If he were to deliver on this scheme and fix the two anomalies (connected leave and right of return) he would be offering a better scheme than the present one. He could then seriously claim that he really was committed to changing workplace cultures, not just the incomes of women.

He would need to insert the right to return to the job and align the right to take leave with eligibility for the payment for those who recently changed jobs, as these omissions exclude many low income earners in casual jobs.

Paying a form of parental leave that both covered these anomalies and replaced income for nearly all women would be a significant progression for Australia. Having it paid by a levy on business makes sense, as business benefits from not having to make the payments out of individual profits.

The fuss about the very few possible high income claimants is a distraction. Most women in upper income brackets are either older and have had children or are not likely to have children. As so few female high earners are likely to have babies that is the problem we need to solve.

We need to change the far too common workplace cultures that demand women behave like male employees in attempting to separate paid work from other parts of life.

Starting with a clearly work related paid parental scheme would be one further step in that direction. Even if it is Tony Abbott offering it.

Join the conversation

328 Comments sorted by

  1. Phil Dolan

    Viticulturist

    Having raised three kids we know the cost of babies compared to teenagers in school. Babies are time and teenagers are money, so why take the money away when it's needed most?

    The mother bonding with the baby is really important so time is needed. Once all the basics are bought it really isn't very expensive until they start school.

    report
    1. Julie Roccisano

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Phil Dolan

      Babies might not be expensive but the lost income from taking time off work is challenging for many families.

      report
    2. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Only if I decided to have more kids... an idea that fills me with horror after twins!

      report
    3. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Julie Roccisano

      Julie that is why adults plan and make provisions for having children. You should not think an employer is obliged to pay for raising your baby just because you haven't made appropriate investments and financial provisions.

      report
    4. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Olivia, surely you knew all this before you decided to have children, which was only 5 years ago!

      report
    5. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to David Thompson

      Knew all what? That I would need to pay for childcare? Hell no, I just thought fairys came around to take them to frollick in clouds with some unicorns!

      Of course I know, that is why I saved money and went back to work. What's your point?

      report
    6. Julie Roccisano

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to David Thompson

      Hello David
      I get the impression you are making some assumptions about what I think from my very short comment. If I am correct I would like to say that those assumptions about my expectations, my parental status, and my willingness to plan are inaccurate.
      Thank you

      report
    7. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      LOL, but at least you will get them thru in one go rather than twice as long...

      I've been wondering which is the most 'efficient' route... ;)

      report
  2. Stephen Greenwood

    Director lobbyistonline.com.au

    The point that is being missed by old fashioned feminists is that modern women realise that it is impossible to pay for a mortgage without two incomes and get back into the workforce after 6 months at the same level. Sure Abbott's scheme is overly generous but if he scraps it after being so committed to the policy it will be his Kevin Rudd climate change backflip moment. Its about credibility with the electorate and with women. Coalition and business conservatives who want him to abandon this generous scheme are ignoring political reality. Labor would use a backflip as evidence that Abbott can't be trusted and trust in leadership is at a premium at present. Just ask the Prime Minister.

    report
    1. Tony Grant

      Student

      In reply to Stephen Greenwood

      The "back-flip" is a coalition screaming "Big/Bad/New Tax" on everything except their own "of the same"?

      Yes, it is purely political nothing else...oh, he has three daughters that are "coming of age" I can't see them working at Coles or Woolies on the check-out on "minimum wage...can you?

      report
    2. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Tony Grant

      If he is smart/wise he will ensure his kids earn their own $.
      But that goes for everyone, not just the wealthier types.
      there r plenty of poorer but still spoilt types out there....

      report
    3. Stephen Greenwood

      Director lobbyistonline.com.au

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I have not said that. Kevin Rudd did not change his mind on climate change. He deserted his principles and promise to the electorate. Julia didn't change her mind about a carbon tax, a citizens assembly, superannuation, a levy to pay for NDIS, the coverage of the NDIS, the elusive surplus, her past and Gonski funding - she just acted disingenuously. People loathe politicians who continually lie to them. That is why Abbott can not go back on his word regarding parental leave regardless of the worth of the policy. No one seems to believe anything Gillard says anymore. There is a reason for this and it is not merely because Abbott has been effective in discrediting Gillard. I would argue she has done that all by herself.

      report
    4. Stephen Greenwood

      Director lobbyistonline.com.au

      In reply to Tony Grant

      It's not a backflip to label a tax as a tax even if Abbott's tax will only be paid by big business. This will enable small business to offer paid parental leave something they have not been able to afford. I don't follow the logic of Mr Abbott's daughters non employment at Coles or Woolies but if they were to work there they too would qualify for parental leave whether working on the minimum wage for those retailers or working as highly paid managers

      report
    5. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Stephen Greenwood

      Apart from your assetion that it wasnt a change of mind it was disengenious do you have any evidence for this?

      ie. What factors have you used to differentiate between changing mind and being disengenious?

      report
    6. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Phillip

      Lol, I imagine like any parent Tony would be encouraging his children to aim higher, but I dont know much about Tony's family.

      I reackon Tony could do alright at wollies though, what do you think? stock controller? Managing the Deli section?

      report
    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      To the contrary Janeen for whilst Eva does describe in detail why the current scheme is welfare orientated and Tony Abbott has been oft criticised for what is seen as a more generous approach that will cost someone, myself included somewhat critical, Eva's article does help me appreciate Abbott's approach as being far more leave orientated and with subsequent employer/work force benefits.

      It is in that context that it needs to be viewed and if more immediately $$$$ cost critics do that, they may well see the merit of his policy, one that will always be hard to sell to many no doubt.

      report
    2. Tony Grant

      Student

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,

      Or is it the old get the "bourgeois breeding"?

      Where are the lowest rates of couples not having children?

      This will never do, if indeed it were intended you can't get "self-interest" out of the equation..nothing wrong with "choice"... the meek shall inherit the world?

      report
    3. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Problem is that real inflation is much higher than official so middle class isnt so middle any more. Many would find their entire financial situation at risk with the loss of one income.

      BTW, the middle class pay most tax.

      report
    4. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Oh & had you actually read Eva's report above you would have noted that she thinks the major beneficiaries will be the poor not the wealthy who r typically older & have already had kids, or too old to have any once the focus on income has been replaced with trying to have kids but all too late.

      The middle class are not wealthy, & often have to work very long hrs & make many sacrifices, only to have their income taxed away for others to benefit.. To get some of THEIR tax back is not unreasonable.

      report
    5. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Tony Grant

      Why should the meek inherit the earth?
      Nature doesn't work that way for a very very good reason.... it doesn't work in the long run. Its suicidal since people become lazy / entitlement dependent.
      Their needs to be some incentive in life, some hardships, otherwise laziness causes muscles to atrophy. Hardships forces the body to strengthen.

      Breeding? Well it works, just look at the winners of horse races compared to the nags.

      the list goes on & on as to why socialism has never worked & will never work (in the long run). Especially since it relies on the workers to fund the lifestyles of the non-workers.

      Self interest? EVERYONE has self interest, even socialists.

      report
    6. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Robert Attila

      I agree the middle class pay the most tax, but handouts should be about need. Not a privilege that is available all and sundry. It seems to me that the wealthy cry poor so loud that the real poor can't be heard, and when they are there will be a liberal there saying they are not entitled.

      report
    7. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Robert Attila

      If people find their entire financial situation at risk with the loss of one income, then they have planned very badly indeed, and have no business even considering children.

      If you cannot service your debt, without two incomes, then you need to reassess your lifestyle and wants, and get back to reality.

      If, (and I don't necessarily agree with your assertion), inflation is much higher than official rates, then again, people need to take a good hard look at their lifestyle and debt. From the retail sales figures and the slump in the housing industry, I suspect this is exactly what is happening.

      report
    8. Stephen Greenwood

      Director lobbyistonline.com.au

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      I think that is what the debate is about. The Labor left wing and ultra conservative right wing of the Liberal Party want to label it as welfare when others see the policy measure as no different from annual leave or long service leave where women are paid full salary. They say why should women not get their full salary when on parental leave. I don't think it is about welfare and the needy at all. It's about not disadvantaging women who want to have careers. We may not be able to afford it but once the promise has been made it should be kept even if delayed in implementation. Surely we have had enough of politicians broken promises.

      report
    9. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Robert , please note the industry that I come from. There are people who work long hours and make enormous sacrifices so they can be the working poor. We probably have different ideas about what is middle class and what is wealth. Yes the poor will benefit from the scheme but so will many others. The others will benefit to a greater extent. It just isn't sensible.

      report
    10. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      They are not the same. Focusing on the act rather than the cause leads to misleading interpretations.

      While i question the exorbitant bonuses in many cases it is nevertheless the shareholder the foots the bill, not the tax payer, & certainly not the poor. So its not a welfare 'handout' but a dubious income which is for the shareholder to decide.

      If someone performs above the call of duty (so to speak) at their job they deserve more pay than someone who doesn't irrespective of whether they…

      Read more
    11. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Robert, even Abbots own party is embarrassed by this policy. Surely this says something? The disabled make sacrifices, the single parents make sacrifices, the unemployed are sacrificed. Whatever happened to compassion? It is stomped out by the liberals.

      report
    12. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Janeen

      Everyone could benefit from some time with Father Bob and I am an unapologetic atheist.

      I agree with the sentiments that as circumstances change so too does a person adapt and change their original intentions. I believe PM Gillard has demonstrated this by winning government despite a minority by her negotiating skills, skills which she has continued to use and develop, such as her abilities in international politics, in spite of her original claim that she lacked confidence in international…

      Read more
    13. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Robert Attila

      " To get some of THEIR tax back is not unreasonable."
      If that were the case - then why not just tax them less??

      Many middle class people do not have families - and don't want to pay the way of those who do.

      report
    14. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Stephen Greenwood

      Hi Stephen, I think it's a mistake to continue with poor policy just because a promise has been made. Having a baby is not the same as sick leave or long service leave or holidays. It's also not necessarily a choice, but it can be planned for and so I don't believe that paid parental leave is in the same category these. there are many other systemic issues that can be put in place to ensure that women who want to can have careers, which will benefit society by encouraging inclusion, not benefit the wealthy, who have enough already without asking for handouts, especially when there is a housing crisis for low income people, and a woefully inadequate unemployment benefit.

      report
    15. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Stephen Greenwood

      How is it not welfare??

      That's the second time I've asked that question here. Still waiting on an answer.

      report
    16. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      No evidence at all. I would like to see him on Q&A to see if he can actually speak without a script. I think he would seriously put his foot in it if he did.

      report
    17. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Janeen, why are TA's PPL plans 'obscene'? How is he kicking the poor? You've thrown around a fair bit of Abbott bashing rhetoric but havent managed to support it with ANY facts. This is the sort of blind, hyperbolic criticism that the author of the piece is railing against.

      report
    18. Julie Roccisano

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Robert Attila

      The socialism topic seems a side issue... but here I go :) My understanding is that socialist welfare situations work best when the predominant culutre is also 'socialist' rather than 'individualistic'. The countries with much higher levels of social welfare than Australia also tend to have much higher rates of workforce participation and a culture of contributing and 'doing their bit'. When people don't have this attitude of course it doesn't work as yes, then the paid workers end up having to support more unpaid workers than is sustainable.

      report
    19. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to John Phillip

      Grumpy, I personally find giving charity to people who don't need it, and obviously don't need it , obscene. The Abbot bashing comes from the fact that welfare cuts over recent times, done with bipartisan support, seem to me, to reek of liberal thinking. Even the labor party listen to the liberals too much. If the poorest of the poor are expected to manage with less, I would like to see the leadership setting the example. Instead they take whopping pay rises. We can see coming, surely, a liberal govt. bringing in austerity measures that will harm the most vulnerable, cut lower incomes, [remember work choices, and that was in good times] saving money no matter what the social cost. Also, though not a christian myself, I find it upsetting when someone says they are but then spouts elitism and when something comes up about inequality , makes accusations of class war in defense of the wealthy. I find his beliefs bazaar.

      report
    20. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Janeen, this isnt about charity. One of the repondants has noted that she spends $850 per week on childcare - that's $44200 per year and you would hope that she is earning a lot more than that to justify working. You are saying that, because she's not on minimum wage (or near it) that she doesnt deserve the compensation that would apply to a low wage earner?

      report
    21. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith, I completely agree. I can't imagine deciding to have children without having made preparations, especially putting money aside since you started your first job. What next, employers should have to pay the deposit on your first house!?

      report
    22. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Thompson

      Well, to be fair, children aren't always planned. However, when buying my first home, I looked at my ability to service the mortgage. I looked at the worst case scenario, that is, losing my job, becoming sick or injured, or just not having the same income as I had when I purchased the house. I then only looked at properties that I could afford if the worst case happened.

      If the worst happened, I would still be able to pay the mortgage, and if the best case scenario happened, (getting a better paid job, winning lotto etc), then I would be able to pay the mortgage off even quicker.

      I saved my deposit, and did not plan on having any more children, but if that had happened, I still would have been able to service my debt.

      I didn't buy a big fancy house, but a very modest home in a modest suburb.

      This is what I mean by planning. Plan for the worst, and hope for the best, and live within your means.

      report
    23. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Hmm, we all see things based on our own prejudices etc which is natural of course, but we should be specific. My opinions have moved from the left to the right over the yrs as i have learnt how the world really works.

      There r plenty of mouth pieces making the case for the poor, its PC to do so, few want to look like scrooges standing up for the wealthier types. I see the poor demanding more handouts, while the non-poor wanting to pay less tax or to make sure their tax is not wasted on silly projects…

      Read more
    24. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Robert Attila

      The thing that frightens me about this no welfare push is that single mums have kids, disabled people are now dole bludgers and people between jobs are demonized and degraded by having such a low income that very little time can pass after being dismissed that they can become homeless, unhealthy both mentally and physically, and without the resources to adequately look for work. By the way , some of the biggest bludgers I've ever known have been employers.

      report
    25. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Robert,

      The precious metal fetish as a notion of true value is a big mistake. It would make more sense to peg the dollar to the worth of an hour's manual labour than it would to peg it to a gram of silver. Without floating national currencies, markets are unforgiving and inflexible creatures. With floating, sovereign, fiat currencies, inflation and deflation correct buying power in accordance with real production. Any loss of buying power on the part of US citizens spending US dollars reflects…

      Read more
    26. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Julie Roccisano

      Great points. Are you talking about the Nordic countries per chance?

      The jury is still out.

      Many dodgy things can mask the true state of an economy, EU and US is a prime example of bloated and debt ridden public sectors with gi-normous social cost liabilities. Debt was masking their situation till 2007 when all their dirty laundry became apparent to those that aren’t fooled by the unelected technocrats in power.

      It’s a tough balancing act of maintaining ‘incentive’ to not bludge whilst keeping people safe n secure with social security. Human nature and psyche will always make this difficult.

      I tend to trust in nature & its lessons, since it has the runs on the board unlike our human designed systems. ;)

      report
    27. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      Agree, less tax means more $ spent in the economy where the people want, not where the govt & select groups want.

      report
    28. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      I agree & see your point/s Janeen.
      Its a gray area as to what is each class. Its clumsy IMO but convenient i suppose.

      i cant comment on the specifics of the policy since i dont know them, i'll leave it to teh supposed experts. i can only talk about principles...

      Its not just about hard work though. Its not good enough to get a menial job & expect that your responsibilities end there. Its about if u aren't making enough then rather than relying on handouts, find jobs that pay more, get an education…

      Read more
    29. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      I should have also said that i appreciate how low paid some in your industry are paid. And that they have it tough relative to others in Aus & some make sacrifices, etc etc. I dont mean to unde-represent their situations. cheers

      report
    30. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      My issue is not with concept of helping people, i believe its our duty as a human family of 6-7 billion souls to help each in times of need & to keep the planet/environment healthy. However, 'need' does not cover the lifestyle choice of preferring not to work or those who choose not to work hard enough . In that case they can starve to death for all i care to make way for people who do want to act responsibly & deserve our help when they experience things outside of their control or reasonable expectation…

      Read more
    31. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Great comment and I share your lack of concern for people that dont prepare for life.

      Let us keep in mind though that we are all a product of our environment, like you highlighted, if the parents didnt instill their children with a work ethic then the child most likely will not succeed - but thats not their fault they were born into that situation and unless someone comes along and teaches them it is not likely that they will pick it up themselves.

      We know that we are a vicious little species…

      Read more
    32. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Robert you do have a problem with helping others, and the problem is your own prejudice and attitudes.

      I have never actually met someone who would rather be on the dole than work, I have never met a bludger that was poor, (have met plenty who are happy to take money from those who actually need it though).

      You are like so many others in this country that lack any sort of compassion or empathy. People in this country have become greedy and selfish, and this can only lead to the destruction…

      Read more
    33. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Thx for your kind words Michael & i appreciate your views.

      I have no issue people disagreeing with me as long as its on logical factual grounds rather than on emotional airyfairy grounds. In fact disagreement is great for finding different perspectives on the one issue. As an analyst that solves problems or makes processes more ‘efficient’ i have to look at situations not from 1 or 2 perspectives but from as many as i can. 360 degrees. It also helps that i keep my emotions & personal preferences…

      Read more
    34. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      As a reference, you say that you disagree that poverty causes crime, that poverty is actually decreasing since times gone past.....Did you know that crime is decreasing as well?

      Read Steven Pinkers Angels of our better nature, poverty whilst not the sole cause of all crime, does create crime

      I'll say it again, the key to the abolishen of poverty is the empowerment of women - its already been tested, it works, you educate women and give them rights and the crime rate drops, the infat mortality rate drops, the literacy rate increases, etc

      report
    35. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Michael Shand

      But Michael if you kindly men educate us, won't we then want 'higher calibre' men?

      Some men might be a little incensed at this idea.

      :P

      PS

      Ayn Rand - I don't believe in hell but I'll make an exception for her and her followers. She also proves that educating women does not solve all our problems - but better educated people will be better equipped to deconstruct flawed and irrational ideologies.

      Cheers

      report
    36. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Who is proposing NO welfare Janeen?
      I have not heard anyone push for that.

      Its disturbing that that is what you think you hear/read.
      It means you are not 'listening' to what people are saying, but are filtering it with your preconceptions. Everyone does that to some degree, but in my job doing that is very very risky since it undermines finding the best solution or process, my personal prejudices or preferences or tastes r irrelevant to finding a solution.
      i sometimes implement systems that…

      Read more
    37. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      I briefly touched on it, but anyone with an ounce of common sense knows their assets & lifestyle & dependents r vulnerable if 1 or both of the bread winners becomes long-term sick/injured/death or divorced, house burned down, etc etc.

      Income insurance covers the disablement side & financial contingency planning covers divorce. i set up our financial structure so that both of us r safe till we get back on our feet if we split up.
      wont be easy but life is never easy or without trials & tribulations…

      Read more
    38. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      BTW, lol, i'm at work atm to swap out some servers that cant be done due to production occurring almost 24/7. I'd rather be with mum on mothers day but responsibility has me here. Oh well i'll see her next week, with flowers & apologies. She lives 100 km away.

      maybe i should do whats easier .... hmmm ;)

      report
    39. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      LOL, yes, that's my point, that men are better than women and we should recognise this and try to educate women out of their stupidity

      The reason it is more important to educate women than it is men is that women have the babies, using trend analysis it is a well established fact that an educated women will have less babies than women that are not educated.

      The poverty Cycle is such that if you are a female from an unfortunate background, you are less likely to have the skill set needed to…

      Read more
    40. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      i have every right to judge, we r not in a totalitarian state, yet. plus everyone judges, just like u just did/ ;) We judge, if its safe to cross the road, to eat food, art, in fact we judge every second of our lives. I think u may be referring to being 'judgmental' . In that case i agree 100%. But that doesn't mean allowing 'anything goes' in order to avoid making rational judgements.

      Of course nothing is as straight fwd as presented in this forum, we dont have 1000 pages (or time in my case…

      Read more
    41. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Where do u get these fanciful ideas about disabled people etc being demonized?

      Please try to keep exaggerations out of this debate.

      Let me repeat for the umpteenth time:

      1) genuine applicants should not be denied welfare.
      2) non-genuine applicants should be denied welfare.

      Genuine:
      anyone not capable of working for medical reasons. These may be short or long-term recipients, depending on circumstances.
      And people who (genuinely) cant find work, eg recession.

      Non-genuine:
      people…

      Read more
    42. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Tja, of course you can judge, you're entitled to your opinion, and now with the context you're judging the "hubby" (no marriage ever took place, just procreation) whereas before it was the bludging single mum you had no time for and you're now in favour of income support for her, if his "garnished" wages are insufficient. This comes as no surprise to me :-) I'm wondering here also how in a properly free market anyone's going to garnish wages without court actions that cost more in lawyers' fees…

      Read more
    43. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Unfortunately Robert , the disabled being put on newstart is a reduction in their living standards and is happening right now to people with significant physical disabilities. The decisions are not made by doctors but by people with a checklist and no medical training. Mistakes are inevitable. As for the opinion that Australians don't know what real suffering is, maybe you should look into the history of the first Australians.

      report
    44. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith, YOU ARE ON NOTICE!!!!

      You r being defamatory stating i "have a problem with helping others" & i "lack any sort of compassion or empathy", “greedy and selfish”.

      You r mud slinging & off topic, thus in breach of forum guidelines.

      I find it completely offensive to be denigrated just because u think u r in the right. You show a lack of respect, & a lack of compassion (making you hypocritical), which brings into question your intellect.

      You are clueless about me & r treading on…

      Read more
    45. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Get over yourself Robert, your post is exactly what I would expect from a greedy, selfish person, without compassion and empathy. In fact the vast majority of your many posts in this discussion are exactly what I would expect from someone who really has no clue about how life really is in this country for many poor people.

      You simply repeat the stereotypes and prejudice that is all too common today.

      report
    46. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      We r pretty much on the same page Michael. Of course education is critical, so is wisdom since the 2 r not the same. KNowledge is much easier to acquire.
      Yes, I agree about empowerment etc.
      A lot of good outcomes have occurred since poor women in India etc were given small business start up loans for cottage industries. I think there r several big orgs doing this.

      People always have a choice. While i dont want to dismiss your book i already have the facts & evidence to prove my point. Depends…

      Read more
    47. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      hehe, u know what i mean. I cant qualify everything. So no, i dont mean the first Australians, or those b4 them.

      As for newstart, whatever, the specifics r irrelevant to my points. Yes, they should be properly assessed by doctors if necessary.

      Must go to bed, the misses is demanding my presence.. i stay up too late.. . ciao

      report
    48. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Yeah, your using terms in a way I disagree with but I think you are correct that our agreeence's are greater than our difference's

      report
    49. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Jonathon, i havent changed opinions recently, you are therefore either misunderstanding or misrepresenting what i have said.

      - The male is still financially, morally, & personally responsible for the product of procreation.

      - i never said single women or parents (SP) r bludgers. Another exaggeration. I did say they need to take responsibility for their situation & actions. Not just expect the tax payer to step in at the drop of a hat. SPs were not forced to marry or have kids or divorce or…

      Read more
    50. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      You have ignored my hardships & my experience mixing with the poor. You have ignored my charity & environmental works. Instead u pretend the opposite. You have not mentioned what u have done for the poor thus obviously u r hypocritical.

      Since u have not read or acknowledged what i have written I must therefore question your intellectual capacity. I will therefore not report you for breaching forum guidelines & ethical standards of personal abuse.

      But good on you for trying to overcome your obvious disabilities Judith. keep typing.

      But i wont waste my precious time on you any further. tata

      report
    51. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I am so busy that time is a luxury, hence my less than ideal communication. Only relaxation time is when i have dinner in front of the TV, otherwise i'm working or researching or cleaning etc etc . Also, communication is so fraught with inaccuracies that its easy to be in total agreement yet still think the other person is wrong.

      i like these forums though since its another source of viewpoints on top of the many business, environmental, etc journals i skim thru.

      BTW, i used to be a concept developer, using MS Access & VB. Still do it a little here n there.

      report
    52. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Going by what you have written in your posts Robert, you are so full of yourself Robert, pompous and self aggrandising, that surely you don't need any more confirmation of your greatness from others, you have more than enough from yourself.

      I don't believe you have suffered any real hardship, or you would not display the lack of empathy or compassion that you do in your posts. I think you are full of BS.

      I have read the posts from others that have very neatly and comprehensively demolished your arguments, that I see no need to repeat the words of others who have done such a good job.

      Bye now Robert, is that the missus I hear calling you???

      report
    53. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Its getting very hard to track teh sequence of replies. And time consuming. Oh well.
      Anyway, Fettish? You need more evidence than that word my friend.

      PM's have been used for thousands of yrs as REAL $.It has all the qualities of real $. Portability, intrinsic value/known rarity, etc. But stability is its biggest feature, or result of its characteristics. .

      The only it fluctuates wildly is because of high level intervention by central banks/govts & the likes of JP Morgan. All have vested…

      Read more
    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ian Rose

      It seems Eva is certainly on the money
      " Even if it is Tony Abbott offering it. "
      And then those who want to ridicule certainly display their own colours.

      report
    2. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Ian Rose

      Try reading Eva's article.

      Even she is saying that the poor will benefit, & very few rich will.

      report
    1. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      - You can't plan ahead for sickness.
      - Nobody is saying maternity leave is a bad thing. We're saying paying wealthy people MORE because they are wealthy is a bad thing.

      report
    2. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      To be fair Andrew, YOU are saying that. Pennie is saying something rather different!

      As usual the debate around this topic in Australia always descends into "it's your choice" nonsense. That argument is illogical. Without the contribution of women of childbearing age the economy would be a mess, without the provision of future tax payers the economy would be in a mess. I'm not saying that Abbott's plan is the most well thought out parental leave plan, I am saying that provision of parental leave is vital for the continued development of the economy.

      report
    3. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Exaclty how is our economy dependent on women of child bearing age?

      and if it is, isnt that disgusting that we treat this segment of society as farm animals rather than individuals

      report
    4. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Ummm, because women aged between 18 and 45 make up a large percentage of the population....

      Who said anything about farm animals? Paid parental leave is allowing parents the opportunity to work and also have a family... I suspect you might be trolling Michael!

      report
    5. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      "Ummm, because women aged between 18 and 45 make up a large percentage of the population...." - Olivia that doesnt make our economy dependent on women of child bearing age

      If thats all you need to support your assertion that our economy is dependent on women of child bearing age then surely our economy is also dependent on men of old age and men of young age and women that are disabled, etc, etc

      Basically all you said is that the econoimy is dependent on people....dum dum dum, obviously but that makes your comment that highly redundent. your point then isnt that the economy is dependent on child bearing women at all, ist that its dependent on population

      your reply is self defeating

      report
    6. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      And yet this & every other country in the world has survived & prospered without this scheme for thousands of yrs. So paid parental is not critical for an economy.
      Families used to be able to have a good lifestyle on just 1 wage.

      But due to high taxes & inflation( via incessant govt intervention in economies distorting the markets causing asset bubbles & high real inflation) families needed the wife work as well, & when that was no longer enough by 2000, people started borrowing on very low int rates to fund their lifestyles.

      By ridding all these 'schemes' & handouts tax would be much lower enabling people to 'save' for everything like they used to in my parents generation.

      report
    7. pennie scott

      Senior Consultant - Food Security and Risk Manaagement

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Whether one likes it or not (or actually recognises this) COMMERCE and TRADE are what make the world go around and there's a severe lack of entrepreneurial understanding on this very topic.
      With the constant call for 'more jobs' there's an underlying assumption that this is the critical aspect of a 'healthy' economy when what is needed is more entrepreneurs unfettered by regulations and red tapes and compliance costs which absorb so much time there's precious little left to actually 'do' business…

      Read more
    8. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      "The population and the economy both are utterly dependent on reproduction." - Are you serious? your point of correction to me was that the economy that humans have built is dependent on humans.....really, tell me more

      report
    9. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to pennie scott

      Utter nonsense - we are endeavouring to maintain a mentality that recognises the interconnectedness of all element sin a society, as opposed to simplistic, almost psychotic endeavours to separate business from its environment and argue that it, and it alone, achieves anything of worth. Ever been to a doctor or needed help from the police?

      there is, rather more importantly, an escalating spiral of unaccounted-for externalities of business that remain unpaid by business itself but fall onto the…

      Read more
    10. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      "I am saying that provision of parental leave is vital for the continued development of the economy."
      Olivia, the issue here is not parental "leave".

      report
    11. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Olivia, parents have had "the opportunity" to work and also have a family for over 200 years now.

      report
    12. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to David Thompson

      If this is all so important to the economy why on earth are we letting children bludge away some of their more productive years at child care centres, suckling at the breast and the like? What a sensless waste of infant career oportunities!

      Instead of pitching in as useful members of society down pit - paying rent and the like, contributing to the mortgage - we let them watch telly and play bloody video games... learning to be layabouts. And they grow up to vote Liberal and nothing's ever good enough any more.

      I wonder what sort of parental leave scheme those Bangladeshi garment workers were on?

      report
    13. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to David Thompson

      I'll think you'll find that 'fathers' have had the opportunity to have a family and work....that opportunity for women and now for modern families is more elusive and has only been made more probable because of parental leave schemes.

      report
    14. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      You just simply cannot state that women dont have the same rights as men when it comes to parental leave without buying into the idea that the mother has to stay home with the baby, cos thats hetero normal, thats what breeders do, the women stays at home with the baby....why not the man? cos thats not hetero normal

      Children of gay couples do alright without a women at home, im sure children of staight couples can as well - face it this is about the mother wanting her cake and eating it too

      I notice your concern doesnt extend to adopted babies or gay couples - what about a lesbian couple? should both mothers get paid leave for special "Bonding" time

      again it comes back to the point, why are we paying people to breed, if you cant afford to then dont, if you can afford to then why are we giving you a handout

      report
    15. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to David Thompson

      Some may argue that men get to be full time parents and full time workers - thats only true according to the hetero normal view from the 1950's, why is it more demanding for mothers? given that men can bottle feed, change diapers, sway them to sleep...apart from pumping milk what is it exactly that the mother does that the father cannot? nothing - they want to claim 1950's style parenting is obviously true, the mother is more important than the father but at the same time cry victims of the situation they put themselves in

      Olivia's logic is almost entirely self defeating

      report
    16. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to pennie scott

      Well stated. Couldn't agree more Pennie.

      Nature/physics always wins out in the end, its an immutable law.
      Thus the chickens will come home to roost eventually as it has for thousands of yrs of human history/civilzation.

      The smart will be prepared, the rest will be shocked & as usual blame everyone else but themselves.

      report
    1. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      did u read Eva's article in full?

      She said few wealthier women will bother to use the scheme since they will either be too old to have kids or have already had them.

      report
    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      How does Eva know this?

      It has been my experience that the more affluent in society tend to make more use of entitlements, deductions, grants, etc.

      Most people who have money didnt get it from not taking advantage of every oppertunity they can.

      I mean imagine you are a working women earning 5,000 a week and you get pregnent - you are entitled to keep your wage going - do you refuse the money or do you take it?

      I'll give you a hint, those that are wise with their money take it

      Its the…

      Read more
    3. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Good points, but selective.

      To my mind its dangerous to think rich vs poor.

      I prefer workers vs non-workers - both of which have people from all classes.
      All classes have good & bad people if i can so simplistic. Each class has people who steal, or r generous, etc etc.

      I'm not arguing against regulations but 'excessive' regs.
      These cost $ which is passed onto the consumer who then needs higher income. Nothing is free in nature or economics, someone or something has to create it 1st.

      BTW, we haven't had free market economy for a century. The west is centrally planned & only pretends to be capitalist, in parts.

      report
    4. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      If you want to call it "Those who are employed versus those that were not able to gain employment" - thats fine but it doesnt change anything except the semantics as I was replying to the comment;

      "She said few wealthier women will bother to use the scheme since they will either be too old to have kids or have already had them." - you are the one who framed the discussion here and I was merely responding to your comment....so...maybe take your own advice

      As for this idea that the west doesnt…

      Read more
    5. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      My point with the regs is that it needs to be balanced, not continually increasing. Problem is that civil & criminal law is too descriptive or prescriptive, creating loop holes. No perfect answer though, where there r humans there will be those escaping their responsibilities.

      The regs we adhere to must be logical & critical, not nice to haves. Otherwise its an unnecessary cost passed onto the consumer.

      ATm, its very labour intensive to assemble this data. This company has no desire to do…

      Read more
    6. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Also, most companies r going well beyond regs to reduce their impact on the environment. The shareholders push for it too.

      I work in that area in this company as well. We save the environment & $ (in most cases). Its a win-win.

      report
    7. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      "Also, most companies r going well beyond regs to reduce their impact on the environment. The shareholders push for it too." - This is fantasy talk, it may be true for your company but we just passed 400ppm in the environment the highest concentration in over 3 million years so for anyone to push the idea that business in general are pushing to save the environment is laughable - even if it was true they are failing miserably

      Really good at making profits.....not soo good at protecting the environment

      report
    8. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Ok, i'll rephrase, most large Ausi companies r going beyond the regs.
      This is fact since i have access to the govt data & i have a major role in this site's environmental programs. if you disagree then provide more substantial facts than 400ppm. Nothing Aus does will affect the 400ppm in any substantial way.

      The regs r very stringent here as well. much has been accomplished over the last 10 yrs, but it is impossible to do very expensive & very time consuming environmental based projects…

      Read more
    9. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Keep up the good work!

      Of course long-sighted businesses are going beyond the regulations, even at the same time their legal departments fight for the regulations to be made less stringent. They plan to stay ahead of the curve. The significant partial exception is those "trade-exposed energy-intensive industries" who postponed many practical measures to improve energy efficiency until their "current" emissions levels were grandfathered into the carbon pricing legislation. Now they're free to move, and they're doing so.

      report
    10. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      You have gone off the rails as far as I am concerned, strawmanning and moving the goal posts.

      I can't see anyway that this is going to be productive as it is no longer an honest discussion

      report
    11. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Good reply, thx i try, i've loved nature since i was a child watching nature docos almost every week. So have recycled & saved since then. EG, i have 20 yr old stack of used A4 paper i'm still using in my printers. connected gray water tubes at mums 25 yrs ago. etc
      here i do research into latest technology & present them to our engineers to review for applicability here. All depends on 3 yrs payback criteria though. No business will do something with a 50 yrs PB, it could kill the company.

      i cant comment on cap ntrade etc since i'm flat out trying to keep up with what i am currently doing.

      I know that our energy costs have increased significantly, & we spend millions each yr.

      Wish time stood still while i did more research etc... sigh....

      report
    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Mills

      I think you will find Terry that the Tony Abbott policy is all about payment being a leave provision rather than that of a welfare payment or government benefit.
      As a leave situation, it certainly means a mother who is not in the workforce is ineligible for leave from an employer.

      report
    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Terry Mills

      Terry, it's not about wealth redistribution in order to be (in)equitable, rather it's about compensating families in order that one member can afford to stay at home during the most formative period in the child's life. It's a method by which some part of the collapsing institution of the 'family', with its attendant social benefits, can be maintained.

      report
  3. Andrew Vincent

    Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

    "if the rationale behind the move is to ensure that lower income families have the money to allow the mother to take that vital time, then we’re drifting into the realm of welfare policy."

    So if you pay the money to people who don't need it it's not called welfare?

    report
    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Bronwyn Hanna

      Great points, also, if you werent employed before you got pregnant then tuff titties for you - you get zilch, hows that for womens rights and equality among women

      Eva Cox does not understand what the hell she is talking about

      report
    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Bronwyn Hanna

      We can not always compare ourselves to what other countries do, even the Scandanavian ones Bronwyn.
      As for the policy on leave entitlement, if you are earning $156,000 p.a, yep, you get $3000/w when you take your annual, long service or sick leave etc. and the person earning just $15,600 p.a will get $300/w, simple arithmetic.

      It is a leave entitlement that is the policy, not a welfare or benefit payment, all be it a capped entitlement and funded by virtue of government action.
      You may claim that the policy is the bright idea of an odd fellow but then as a pedalling pollie doing a lot for charity and communities including the indigenous in a hands on approach, Tony does do a lot of things your more mundane average politician likely does not, there being many who do benefit from that oddness.
      As for research, consultation and development, the parental leave policy was first aired back in 2010.

      report
    3. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Bronwyn Hanna

      I agree with your second point, paid parental leave based on salary seems a bit weird. In the UK the government pays a statutory amount and businesses have the opportunity to top-up. I got full pay for 6 months, it's a huge drawcard for companies to attract the best employees.

      On your first point about babies needing 12 months together, well I have to disagree. Unless you are reading stuff published by Dr Sears and his ilk there really is no evidence of an optimal time for mothers and babies to be together. I believe 6 months is fair, so long as parents have the option of extending (without pay) if they wish.

      report
    4. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Correct me if I am wrong Michael, but if you were not employed prior to pregnancy would you not be entitled to various benefits? Benefits that are not an option for people currently in paid employment?

      report
    5. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      I dont even know how to start to inform you of how irrelevant that is to this policy discussion.

      if you are in favour of providing extra government support ot women who are pregnent then Here's the point; you should provide it to all women regardless of age, employment status, income, race, etc

      you shouldnt make it dependent on them having a job and you definitely shouldnt give more to those who are already privaliged in this society

      report
    6. Bronwyn Hanna

      Historian

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Hibbitt's response stating that she believes that six months is enough time for a mother to spend with her child underscores my last point, that the policy needs research and consultation for its proper development.
      I am no expert in baby development but I remember that when both my babies were six months old, they were being fully breast fed and had barely eaten a bite of solids, and that I had not yet had an uninterrupted night's sleep. I was experiencing time differently from the commercial…

      Read more
    7. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Bronwyn Hanna

      You have an excellent point Bronwyn, at 6 months my twins were taking solid food, had been formula fed and had slept through the night from 11 weeks. I was perfectly happy leaving them with a nanny and their grandma for 3 days a week while my husband and I worked compressed hours.

      Every family is different, and I suppose that is the hard thing about making a policy that effects all. Where I worked in the UK I was able to access full pay for 6 months, I then had the option of a further 3 months at stat pay only....and after that a further 3 months without pay. I suppose that makes it more flexible, but leaves those families needing the extra time without much support.

      I suppose it has to come down to a utilitarian solution, what would be of the most benefit to the greatest number. I'm not saying that Abbotts scheme does this, in fact I will happily eat my stapler if it is brought in, but there has to be some cut off.

      report
    8. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael, thank you so much for trying to inform me. I know I have absolutely no grasp of grammar, human biology and the welfare state!

      However, one question I am absolutely struggling with....why is providing maternity leave to employed women and benefits to unemployed women not providing extra support to all women regardless of etc?

      Abbotts scheme would provide maternity leave payments that equal current pay, this would actually benefit the vast majority of working women who earn below 100k. Now, perhaps I've not read it right, but where does it state that women currently unemployed would not be able to access the benefits currently available to them?

      report
    9. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Olivia, do you have any evidence that "full pay for 6 months, it's a huge drawcard for companies to attract the best employees"? And one wonders why you decided to have children at a time of your life, when you were only prepared 6 MONTHS with them, before giving them to somebody else to raise!? The idea that people who have the get-up-and-go to start and build a business are then responsible for paying somebody else to raise YOUR children is appalling.

      report
    10. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to David Thompson

      Ahh, the old....you are terrible for outsourcing your children's upbringing argument....big fat yawn David. The 1950s called, they want their outdated sexist opinion back!

      My husband went back to work after 5 weeks, shall we call out the lynch mob, or is that OK because he has a penis and therefore much more to contribute to the office?

      Last time I looked at my bank balance it was me paying to raise my children in childcare fees, nobody else, I don't even claim the tax benefit I'm entitled to....

      But I quite agree, I am an appalling example of woman, I will tell my parents what a terrible job they did with me!

      report
    11. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      I didn't mention your husband because you said it was YOU who was "perfectly happy" to palm your kids off at 6 months. No, I am not going to presume to judge your parenting, as I don't know you from Adam. But if you want to get on your high horse demanding that people who set up businesses should fund this sort of parenting, you're going to have a bit of a struggle convincing people there is a social benefit to encouraging this new style of mini-parenting.

      report
    12. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      So your question was "Why is providing two different sets of support and payments to mothers depending on their current employment status considered descrimination?"

      Well, I dont know how to explain this but imagine your a IT contractor at the start of a 6 month extendable contract earning $150,000 a year and you get pregnent - your entitled to a pay out of $75,000 so you can raise your child

      Now imagine your near the end of a 6 month extendable contract earning the same....your entitled to…

      Read more
    13. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Olivia, why aren't you claiming childcare assistance? $850 per week is more than most women earn. How can you manage this? I don't think anybody in my industry earns this amount except top executives.

      report
  4. Michael Shand

    Software Tester

    Eva Cox you should be ashamed of this article.

    What a rubbish, the idea that femenists should always be in favour of more privalages for women regardless of the cost or the fairness of those privalages is such a blatent misunderstanding of what femenism is.

    Money for women - femenists should be in favour of this - idiot, thats not what femenism is about, its not about demanding more for women regardless of all other factors and paid parental leave doesnt even benefit all women, it only benefits pregnant women.

    As a femenist I think paid parental leave of up to $75,000 for six months is an insult, It only benefits pregnant women that were employed before they got pregnant

    report
    1. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Dear Michael,

      Could you re-read the community standards of this site:

      •We welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), abuse and defamatory language will not be tolerated. Nor will we tolerate attempts to deliberately disrupt discussions. We aim to maintain theconversation.com service as an inviting space to focus on intelligent discussions. Be courteous.

      Please, do not describe a contributor as an 'idiot'. It is rude and unhelpful to civilised…

      Read more
    2. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to christopher gow

      I dont have spell check software installed and you focus on the trivial says more than anything else.

      It is a common online trolling tactic that if you have nothing else to write you will attack the spelling, grammer, or tone of the person rather than writing anything of substance

      "Is 'femenist' your idea of a clever name for 'male supporter of feminism'?" - the fact that you think men can only be supporters of femenism and not femenists themselves also reflects your ignorance on this topic

      report
    3. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Hi Michael, you might want to consider the irony of calling a writer an idiot while posting a comment stacked full of spelling and gramatical errors!

      report
    4. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Hi Olivia, you might want to consider that spelling grammer and punctuation are presentational errors, ie. they are superficial, trivial compared to the ideas expressed

      You would be the same type of person that would dismiss a great scientific theory because the persons hand writing is sloppy - kudo's you are really getting to heart of the matter there

      I dont see any irony in it at all as I'm not that shallow

      report
    5. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Hi Michael,

      I would certainly be the worst troller in the world as I am using my real name and occupation.
      My concern about your post is that you, like some others who comment on this site, seem to ignore the point that this is a site for intelligent and polite "conversation" (hence the name). Disagreement is fine, rudeness is not.
      There is no shortage of sites where such language is tolerated, perhaps you should consider doing other readers a favour and make the small effort to be polite and…

      Read more
    6. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to christopher gow

      Trolling doesnt require you to hide your identity - this is called strawmanning, you dont know what you are talking about

      "I have found that I have reached my tolerance limit for on-line rudeness" - welcome to the internet, dont take it so personally, you have a choice as to whether you read and reply to rudness or simply ignore it

      ie. you are going out of your way to be feed up with something, calm down and take a walk, its fine, its just online commenst

      report
    7. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Well Michael it would all depend on the handwriting. It matters not how earth shattering the scientific theory is if nobody can read it!

      As for dismissing your ideas, well sorry Michael, all I saw was a poorly thought out, vitriolic rant calling a writer an idiot, along with some notion that to be a feminist you have to agree with every idea that might net women a bit more dough. Funny, the last time I looked feminism was about equality, and women were allowed to voice an opinion.

      report
    8. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      "along with some notion that to be a feminist you have to agree with every idea that might net women a bit more dough" - thank you for proving my point - thats what I am argueing against

      Also, you have desecended from asking me to be polite to just attacking me personally - congratulations, you have just done exactly what you accused me of doing, the hypocrisy is so sugary sweet my teeth hurt

      report
    9. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      We are wasting our time Olivia, in the face of such a precise and logical demolition of our concerns we can but apologise for wasting the time of a great mind, Lord knows what great scientific discovery is being delayed.
      As to Ms Cox's argument; it seems to me it does come down to deciding whether paid parental leave is a welfare payment or a leave payment, no-one suggests our holiday pay or LSL should be payed as a means tested welfare payment, so her point is a good one. But, holiday pay and LSL…

      Read more
    10. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to James Hill

      James, the only problem with your post is that Michael was calling Eva Cox an idiot, and clearly by your scholarly definition Ms Cox is not an idiot. He can call me an idiot, it doesn't bother me except that it goes against the very notion of The Conversation as a site, but apparently the internet confers a democratic right to ignore the clearly stated intentions of the developers of a site as opposed to going elsewhere.

      report
    11. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to christopher gow

      George Bernand Shaw, a noted intellectual, (Hint there, dear moderator of a supposedly "intellectual" site) wrote, a century ago that is his opinion "the specialist is, in the truest sense,an idiot".
      If the truest sense of the word idiot is to be removed by the moderator then we are being shortchanged somewhat.
      Originally and in the truest sense it could be argued an idiot was a person who abandoned their responsibility to attend community debates and consequently cast a vote.
      Shaw's argument…

      Read more
    12. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      You're going to have to point out exactly where I 'desecended' into personal attacks. Although I am unaware of the action associated with 'desecended', perhaps it is some new form of literary abseiling that I was previously unaware of?

      I think you might be confusing 'personal attack' with 'disagreeing with you'.

      report
    13. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      I think you might confusing commentry with trolling, what was that you said about you not being a troll?

      report
    14. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Olivia,
      There I was thinking I was the troller (or strawmanner, or is that strewmennar); I don't know whether to be jealous or relieved.
      There was a good review in a recent Guardian you might enjoy:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/04/does-spelling-matter-horobin-review?INTCMP=SRCH
      I also read an article recently in which Chomsky was quoted as describing the current system of English orthography as "a near-optimal system".
      Agree or disagree with Eva Cox, at least she can string a coherent sentence together.

      report
  5. Tony Grant

    Student

    The debate is really about "what population" do we wish for and the break-down of that population?

    I'll attempt not to cross the lines of "political correctness"...maybe I have given it away?

    The elephant in the room and it's not the 1950's?

    I see the "under attack policy from within the conservatives" as purely getting Abbott into the Lodge...the costs will come from a clean out of the DSP for starters, that will be easy. The tax threshold to be removed ($18,200) and the Super on the lowest income earners to be removed...easy?

    Votes lost now minimal, already locked in non conservative anyway! Abbott only wants the Guernsey he never got at Sydney University (only second grader) he just wants to have been PM...time is not an issue, he believes he was one that was born to rule...his upbringing!

    report
    1. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Thomas Stace

      Why do u think the poor r poor in Aus?
      Why do they always deserve to be spoon fed by the tax payer?
      Why didnt they work / get a job in the last 13+ yrs in the excellent Aus economy?
      Why r so many migrants (like my parents) who start with nothing, no english, & get no help able to do what it takes (ie make many sacrifices) to eventually create a wealthy household?? If they can do it there is NO excuse for Ausies being poor except by CHOICE. Of course those that cant work for health reasons must…

      Read more
  6. Gillian Cohen

    Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

    Dear Eva, I'm a feminist, and I'm against the scheme because it is a poor use of public funds which contributes to social inequity. I'm very much in favour of paid parental leave, however that needs to be covered by legislation and is a cost of business. No clever business is going to get rid of valuable staff because they want to have a baby. Women that work for businesses that cant afford this are assisted by the current scheme. There also needs to be means testing. Fathers/ Partners incomes need to be taken into account - middle class welfare is not good public policy. There are too many other real issues that need to be paid for within a limited budget.

    report
  7. Eva Cox

    Professorial Fellow Jumbunna IHL at University of Technology, Sydney

    Should we pay long service leave at one's normal rate? My question is whether this is a work related leave payment or a welfare payment. If we decide it is the latter, then we lose out on making parenting a part of workplace policies and the rationale for making a difference between those having babies who are in paid work and those who are not. I have a long record of fighting for welfare and equity but see this a different debate about changing workplace cultures so parental leave is seen as an entitlement, and maybe more fathers will feel able to take time out with their babies. I note it is often payments to women that are most criticised rather than those that benefit mainly men, eg the gross super tax concessions that go to mainly higher income males and cost more than $10B! A recent suggestion these be cut did not produce this vitriol .

    report
    1. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Eva Cox

      And what of those who can't have babies? you are discriminating against those.

      report
    2. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Long service leave is paid by the business - totally different thing. They benefit and profit directly from the employees continuing good service.

      "I note it is often payments to women that are most criticised rather than those that benefit mainly men"

      If the policy was paying FATHERS 6 months leave at their full wage I would be horrified.

      report
    3. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Did you meant "parental leave" rather than "long service leave"?

      I think that the reason that the super tax concession etc doesn't raise the same ire is because it is income forgone, and paid parental leave is an expense. While an expense and income foregone ultimately result in the same thing, there is a more visceral issue of payouts that worries people.

      report
    4. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Eva Cox

      What happened to your accusations of femenist hypocrisy Eva?

      report
    5. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Eva Cox

      I suspect that all that will happen is that women of child bearing age will no longer be employed at the same rate they are now, if business has to bear more of the burden of parental leave. Already business, (including small businesses which accounts for the bulk of employment opportunities in Australia), balk at having to find and train replacement workers when a worker takes parental leave. This costs money, and many businesses simply cannot absorb this cost. The easiest way out of having to absorb…

      Read more
    6. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Eva, one needs to recognise that the needs of employers are not the same as the needs of financiers.
      Employers could quite rationally embrace your argument,( and Adam Smith's), that sufficient payments would ensure that the next generation of "employees" were available to offer ther services.
      However the housing/banking financial cartel has intervened to bleed those necessary wages and salaries away into unsustainable housing debt, the cause of the GFC overseas and the cause of the GFC coming to Australia in the event of an Abbott ascendancy.
      A consequence, which in its effects will negate your arguments as irrelevant in a destroyed economy
      We live, as Winston Churchill predicted, in an Age of Consequenses.
      A time where we need to expand our arguments from the narrow to the broad, we cannot afford to do otherwise.

      report
    7. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      Why is it a totally different thing? Surely the business will continue to profit from a female employee who returns to work post baby?

      Why would you be horrified if the scheme paid fathers? Is that because you believe that a man's contribution to the workforce is more important than a woman's. Or perhaps you think that a man's contribution to child-rearing is less important than a woman's.... both points of view are complete sexist nonsense!

      report
    8. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Eva Cox

      This is one of the (many) things I find so frustrating about the rhetoric in this country. Other places I have lived have had maternity leave schemes that provide decent income support for parents, and last time I looked they were still fully functioning countries that had not sunk beneath the waves.

      Why is contributing to the reproductive future of Australia so unappealing? We have an ageing population, the next generation of tax payers is absolutely vital for the health and welfare of this nation. Providing parents with the means to have a family and still contribute to the economy is important.

      report
    9. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Different? Because long service leave is paid by the business that has profited from that employees service. This maternity leave plan is paid for by the taxpayer* - people who do not profit from this person's employment. Pretty simple.

      *(technically raised by a 1.5% levy which is apparently to be refunded in the form of 1.5% tax break = coming out of general revenue)

      "Why would you be horrified if the scheme paid fathers? ... are complete sexist nonsense!"

      Wow - chill out. We're talking about the public purse paying someone their entire wage for 6 months. You think we should pay BOTH parents for 6 months?

      Where would YOU draw the line? Ruling out grandparents would make you ageist I guess.

      report
    10. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to Andrew Vincent

      Ahh, I think I see where we are getting our wires crossed Andrew.

      No, I would not support any scheme that allowed both parents to take time off at the same time. I agree that would not be particularly intelligent. In fact all the schemes for parental leave that allow both parents to take time off stipulate that this cannot be concurrent.

      I still don't get where you are coming from with the whole long service leave. Why is that seen as a valuable contribution to employee happiness whereas maternity leave is not? As a comparison, my long service leave that I got in the UK was an extra day leave which I didn't take because I was a scientist!

      report
    11. Sal Paradise

      Consultant

      In reply to Eva Cox

      Is this " a work related leave payment or a welfare payment."? It is neither, as I understand the distinctions. It should be a policy to redress the current disadvantage women face in relation to men arising from their reproductive biology. For as long as it is economically reasonable for an employer to take a women's potential pregnancy into account, women will be discriminated against, through no fault of their own.

      report
    12. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      Why is taking responsibility for raising YOUR own children so unappealing?

      report
    13. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to David Thompson

      As I established above, because I am a terrible example of woman...you know I'm actually wearing a skirt that shows my ankles right now!

      report
    14. Andrew Vincent

      Marketing . Communications . Multimedia

      In reply to Olivia Hibbitt

      I'm not saying maternity leave is not valuable. It's a question of who pays for it, how much and for how long. IMO if we are talking about tax funded welfare (yes welfare) I believe it should be minimal. If a company wishes to pay maternity leave in the same way as long service to attract high quality employees then they are free to do so.

      report
  8. Alex Njoo

    Architect/academic (ret.)

    I thought that Mr. Abbott's Parental leave bonus disadvantages the low income women. Why is Ms Eva Cox wholeheartedly supporting it without exception?
    All the same, let's remind ourselves that we are living in a lucky country; parental leave, baby bonus, new start, first home buyer's grant etc. etc. Try explaining all that to the ordinary Indonesian or even Chinese.
    By the way, I bought our family home sans first home buyer's grant. When our daughters were born, there was no baby bonus available and my memory tells me, that my wife had 12 weeks maternity leave.
    And when my wife decided that she'd be a stay home mum until our daughters reach kindergarten age, we became a one-income family. Nobody, as far as I remember, came to our door bearing entitlements.
    Now that I'm a self-funded retiree, because of the house-hold income threshold, I am not eligible for a Commonwealth health benefit for my medications.
    But then, we do live in a lucky country after all. Don't we?

    report
    1. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Alex Njoo

      You sound like you have been very fortunate indeed, you must have a pretty high retirement income, if you have an income above the level that entitles you to a Commonwealth health care card.

      Well done, and yes this country certainly has been lucky for you.

      report
    2. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith this myth about luck is irritating.

      Luck has very little to do with it & is a con perpetrated by those that have little to no idea about how the world works on an economic level, or any level for that matter.

      A con used to justify taking/stealing (ie tax) from workers to give to non-workers on the basis that everyone that is not poor is rich & did it easily while taking expensive holidays each year with expensive cars, big homes, cushy jobs, etc etc etc.Its a lie made by those who have…

      Read more
    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Robert Attila

      No Robert - what you are "proving" is that careful parent selection is essential to becoming rich .... by all means find yourself some dedicated hard-working parents who scrimp and save and accumulate assets. They then hand them on to the kids who fight and brawl and squander the lot in many cases.

      Good argument for death duties and inheritance taxes really.

      report
    4. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Wow Robert what a load of nonsense. Luck has as much to do with your available opportunities and eventual circumstances in life, as moving countries (assuming you can), as working hard, getting an education.

      You cannot choose where you are born and to what circumstances, you just happen to be born to hardworking parents, who cared about their children, rather than parents (for example), who were alcoholic, disabled, lazy, neglectful, uneducated, unwell, persecuted, or any number of other things…

      Read more
    5. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Robert is the one that is delusional Peter. Where, and to who, you are born, is the biggest lottery.

      report
    6. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Another thing bothering me in this current political elitist climate is all the self-righteous blaming and lack of care and understanding. We teach our children to share and care but at some age that becomes invalid and is replaced by contempt and abuse. If the govt. is going to manage paid parental leave it must be equal across the board. If it is to be wage based it should be managed by business. Govt. manages welfare, business manages income entitlements.

      report
    7. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      I think that this plan of Abbotts will see less money being paid out to women for parental leave, than the current ALP policy. With the majority of women working in areas such as retail and health and community services, (areas that are low paid, and often casual or part-time), that the majority of working women will receive much less than the minimum wage currently paid.

      For example, a woman working part-time or casual, in hospitality, will be earning less than the full-time minimum wage, so…

      Read more
    8. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Wow J, u just proved my point, which was that migrants are not luckier than Australians yet still manage with all their disadvantages relative to locals to out work & out succeed the long term Ausi poor.

      BTW, This debate is about A U S T R A L I A !
      Not other countries. Stick to topic.

      BTW, do u actually consider successful immigrants & locals to not have suffered as much or more than the long term poor?

      Do you think some successful people havent been born to abusive parents, alcoholics, etc etc etc??

      I dare you to say yes!!

      Check mate! ;-D

      report
    9. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      This debate is about the Australian system, not the world.
      As such your logic is misplaced/misdirected, & misrepresents what i say..

      Of course chance plays a role, i never said it didnt.

      Of course good luck helps to whatever degree, but you cant sit on your backside & expect luck to do much for you. You have to make it happen, any luck is just a bonus.

      Also, bad luck is not teh be all & end all. Bad luck, unless fatal, doesnt stop you from trying again, doing something different, etc…

      Read more
    1. Gillian Cohen

      Research Associate, School of Public Health, The Univerity of Sydney

      In reply to Sue Hanley

      Excellent point. And the reason that there won't ever be a payment for mothers (or parents) that pays the real worth of the job of parenting, (besides being completely unaffordable), is that it would have too many negative consequences..... the finance Dept will be considering the possibility of a blow out in single parent payments!

      report
    2. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Sue Hanley

      Sue, it's not about that. Rather the scheme is to compensate people for giving up the time to raise their child. The 'value' of a child is not the point - it is the value of the working income sacrificed in order to do so that is relevant and that varies considerably.

      report
    3. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to John Phillip

      Why should be compensating people for giving up time at work to raise their own child or children?

      If you cannot afford to have a child or children, and your lifestyle and income is more important, then don't have them.

      report
    4. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to John Phillip

      Depends John on what you think choosing a welfare dependent lifestyle is. If someone becomes unemployed through no fault of their own, and seeks unemployment benefit, this is hardly a choice. If someone becomes disabled, ill, or injured, again, this is not a choice. If someone ends up a single parent because of relationship breakdown, family violence, or the death of the spouse, this is also not a choice. Getting old is also not a choice.

      Having kids in the first place, is most definitely a choice…

      Read more
    5. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith, I lived in Woodridge, a suburb of Logan city in Qld for most of my life and there were many families of multigenerational unemployed. Maybe we come from very different backgrounds, but having grown up and lived in areas where the government teat feeds the apathy. I cant say i've got much sympathy. My wife and I both made conscious decisions not to follow that path. There are others who need to do the same.
      If you think that supporting a parent for the first six months of the child's life is important, I dont see how you can justify discriminating that support on the basis of someone's income. If you dont think that PPL is valid, then the point is moot. Your idea of single income families is a valid point but it is a problem for feminism as, generally, it is the woman who stays at home and has her rights diminished.
      I'm wondering how you could explain how a family can buy a house (say around the $240k mark) on a single income.

      report
    6. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to John Phillip

      I'm not talking about multi generational unemployment, and I doubt your assertion that there are many of these families anyway, this is what the media such as ACA or other dodgy current affairs programs would want us to believe, but their views are far from reality. There are requirements for looking for work for anyone receiving unemployment benefit, they just don't get given it without obligation.

      I'm not talking about the traditional single income family where the woman stays home, this could…

      Read more
    7. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Judith Olney

      In the first case, you are wrong. I lived there. I knew/know the people and your last sentence is simply wishful thinking.
      In your second paragraph, the feminist argument is that, because it is the woman who usually stays at home, her rights to choice and power have been limited. The single income model serve to reinforce the cultural 'norm'. I agree, that a cultural shift in this matter is necessary. As to the purchase of a home, many of the respondants here have intimated that they're on low incomes - your 200k example at 6% is worth about $600 pfn - an annual cost of $15600. On an income of 30-40k that shaves it pretty tight.

      report
    8. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to John Phillip

      Whether you know these people personally or not John, your assertion that there are many of these families is still wrong. It may seem like there are, and maybe among the people you know there are, but this is not the case across the population as a whole, nor the population of those that are unemployed. My last sentence is reality John, people who receive Newstart benefit are required to look for work, and must attend meetings, courses, or whatever their employment plan requires, or they will lose their payment. Single parents also have mutual obligations, these are facts John, not perceptions, if you doubt this go and checkout the centrelink website.

      As for paying my 200k mortgage, I didn't say it was not tight, it is when you are on a low income as I am, but it is doable. I made, and make sacrifices because having a secure roof over my head is important to me.

      report
  9. pennie scott

    Senior Consultant - Food Security and Risk Manaagement

    What a range of interesting views on this obviously hot topic.

    My original comment wasn't about inequity (although that is important) - it is about businesses and enterprises having to pay for maternity leave when this is NOT a direct business expense.

    What is more insidious to me is the overwhelming attitude to 'others should pay for what I want' instead of planning and saving up to have children and the real costs of raising them.

    If business has to pay someone while they are not there (sick, holidays, maternity leave) and pay someone who is filling their position, this is a double impost on the cost of DOING business and yet lower prices are what everyone wants.

    To ensure mothers have continuity, maternity leave for six or 12 months could be provided with the assurance their same position is there when they return. This happens at present, I believe. But, to be paid while undertaking what is fundamentally a personal choice, is daft and is unaffordable.

    report
    1. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to pennie scott

      Does a women have the right to introduce a child into a environment of scarcity, hunger and lack of support?

      No but thats what so many people are argueing for, I have a right to have a baby regardless of my circumstances and ability to raise that child...such entitlement and disregard for anyone else in society is always going to get us in trouble

      report
    2. Dan Smith

      Network Engineer

      In reply to pennie scott

      On the other hand, businesses receive fully-formed, educated and (sometimes) well-adjusted young people to join their ranks, keen and eager to produce shiny widgets. Isn't this an example of others (parents, teachers, taxpayers, friends, civic organisations ... an almost endless list) paying in time and money for what businesses want?

      I can see your point, but I think it's a one-sided and somewhat impoverished way of looking at how business and society interact. Motherhood, and parenthood more…

      Read more
    3. Olivia Hibbitt

      Medical Writer

      In reply to pennie scott

      Sorry Pennie, but this sort of economics is daft. Sure, if you are looking at a business model of 3 years then yes, it might seem like having to fork out for two salaries is an imposition.

      But we do not live in a vacuum. Womens involvement in the workforce is vital for the economy, as is the contribution of the future generations.

      In the UK, my employer provided full pay for 6 months and was rewarded with extremely high retention rates and the ability to attract very high quality staff. Just focussing on the bottom line is not good business!

      report
  10. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    In Adam Smith's telling two hundred and fifty year old arguments against slavery he asserted that given enough payments, "workers" could breed up the next generation of "workers" by themselves without the expensive intervention of slave supervisors, whose "services" would no longer be needed.
    So why do we need the expensive, and unnnecessary, interventionist services of Dear Tony the Overseer to ensure that the next generations ensue?
    Because the modern "slave masters" of the housing/banking cartel…

    Read more
  11. Sal Paradise

    Consultant

    A timely article. However, I think it misses a critical point. The more radical basis for arguing for parental leave isn't to set up it up just "as an ongoing workplace entitlement." It is to remove/reduce the structural disadvantage women face relative to men in the workplace caused by the impact of pregnancy. This includes the impact to salary, career progression, workplace planning etc, contributing to pay imbalances, lower participation and plain-old injustice. If this objective is made explicit…

    Read more
    1. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Sal Paradise

      Unfortunately Sal, that is exactly what employers do. Unless the woman is particularly highly skilled, or in a niche job, there will always be others that can do the job that will not require time off for having children.

      Have a look at what industries most women are employed in, and you will see the reality of the situation. This is grossly unfair, and inequitable, but it is the reality today.

      Unemployment is set to get worse, as Australia feels the effects of the ongoing GFC.

      Abbotts scheme will do nothing but make it less likely that employers will employ women of childbearing age.

      report
    2. Sal Paradise

      Consultant

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Indeed. My point is that pregnancy should be taken out of the equation, from both the employer and the employees position. Women shouldn't have to choose between careers and children and employers shouldn't face extra costs for employing a woman. So, in order to remove the disadvantage women face, there should be 1) a publicly-funded payment scheme to ensure women do not lose financially from having children (and it seems reasonable to link this to their income) and 2) compulsory paternity leave so that men and women are an equal cost. The coalition's scheme seems to meet the first point.

      report
    3. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Sal Paradise

      Why do you believe it should be linked to income? Why should consumers (a tax levied on business will impact all consumers) and businesses have to pay the full wage of an employee because they choose to have a child?

      I agree that if we are going to make business pay for women to have children, then they should also have to pay men, if people are to be paid to breed at all, this is simple equality.

      Personally I don't think we should be paying people to breed at all, I don't think we should be paying any parental leave, to men or women, we should be looking at ways of having a sustainable population. The idea that an economy needs more people, and needs to be continually growing is wrong on a fundamental level. We cannot have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources.

      report
    4. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Sal Paradise

      Businesses already discriminate, by gender, and age, they just do it covertly. There is no requirement for an employer to even give a reason for not hiring someone, so it is easy enough for them to do this.

      I expect there to be more of this happening, particularly if the rate of unemployment rises.

      report
    5. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      > I agree that if we are going to make business pay for women to have children, then they should also have to pay men, if people are to be paid to breed at all, this is simple equality.

      The first part of this reply is also for Michael Shand and his "1950's hetero normal" comments.

      The legal wording in legislation and manuals covering the baby bonus, parenting payments and family tax benefits is structured to be gender-neutral. There is only an assumption that one parent in particular will…

      Read more
    6. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Thank you for a well thought out post. I realise there seems to be this fear of the baby boomer generation all hitting retirement around the same time, but this is an aberration and should be treated as such. Those baby boomers are not going to live forever, (even with longer life expectancy), so should we be looking to provide an equal amount of children just to supply enough money so that we can pay the pensions of this one generation?

      I understand that compulsory superannuation was brought…

      Read more
    7. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Good points about material expectations being higher today on average -- though I'm not sure my "typical family home" is quite the McMansion you seem to be thinking of, it's smaller than the one my empty-nest parents still live in. And it's rental. We'd love to buy, just for the sake of autonomy, but our timing has been all wrong.

      It's not *just* the Baby Boom cohort that's bigger than today's very old people; the cohorts following the Boomers are very nearly as large -- think about it : when…

      Read more
    8. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Good comment, thanks for taking the time to post.

      Just a quick question - apart from concerns about money, why do we care if the population shrinks?

      I understand the concern over an ever increasing population - resource constraint - but say the whole human population dwindled down to 2 billion people - whats the problem here?

      report
  12. Peter Dawson

    Gap Decade

    The idea that a woman earning $150k per year might be paid $75 of taxpayer's money to stay at home and care for baby for 6 months is truly abhorrent, and as such it is no surprise that Tony Abbott is supporting it. All the while Today Tonight and ACA, and the shock jocks and the tabloids, will continue to run their stories pillorying low income welfare bludgers at regular intervals.

    Also, it is a scheme perfectly suited to the kind of mainstream feminism which has evolved here in Australia - the hopelessly privileged kind.

    report
    1. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      > I don't think Eva is mainstream at all actually. Not any more. Self-interest, laissez faire economics and inequitable social policies make a very poor basis for hijacking a historical political movement.

      Quite a misrepresentation. Eva Cox is campaigning for equality for women with men in the workplace, which is what feminists have always done.

      The costs to employers of holidays, sick leave and parental leave are all proportionate to wage costs. The difference between holiday and sick pay, and parental leave, is that the cost of parental leave is disproportionately paid in respect of female workers, giving employers a financial incentive to discriminate against women. Sourcing parental leave entitlement costs from a common pool removes (most of) this incentive. It's a male/female equality measure, nothing more and nothing less.

      report
    2. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I think we are speaking at cross purposes.

      Can you *honestly* say that your "feminist mates" didn't, or don't, want men and women to have equal incomes and equal opportunities for professional advancement to those their male colleagues enjoy?

      As far as I'm concerned it's entirely consistent to, on the one hand, believe that patriarchy, sexual division of labour, class inequality and imperialist wars are the scourge of the earth, and on the other hand to want women to have rights equal to those of men in the workplace.

      Eva Cox's writings regularly and consistently address such concerns for fairness, peace, justice and social development above and beyond equal opportunities for men and women. Start here, perhaps : http://www.evacox.com.au/Civility

      report
    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Not really Jon - equal rights in an egalitarian caring society yes but an equal share in an iniquitous society - what's the point - just more upturned rhinoplastied snbouts in the trough?

      Why do the rich merit an extra slice of pie because Lucretia and Clive with the new baby Hamlet might see them forced to cut back on Wimbledon this year or just go over for a month? A style-cramping allowance?

      Worth remembering Jon that this wasn't "proposed by the coalition" - this was all Tony's idea…

      Read more
  13. Kate Newton

    logged in via email @ymail.com

    Should we care who proposes good policy even if it is totally out of character?
    My problem is that I don't believe Abbott would ever implement this policy. It was devised purely for political reasons and will be difficult to abandon pre-election, but easy to do so afterwards - the dreaded black hole leading to shortfalsl for other pressing needs etc etc. Why on earth would you trust Abbott to implement it?

    report
    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Detour alert!!!!

      John, we actually do not have a carbon tax in Australia. We have an emissions trading scheme - at least in embryo. There is a vast difference if you think about it.

      Personally I'd much prefer a carbon tax - much quicker, simpler and more likely to be effective. But also a bit harder to swallow economically for precisely the same reasons. Didn't seem to worry Ross Garnaut though who was a strong supporter of the tax option rather than this ETS business.

      More to this business than chanting slogans, mate.

      Now back to the issue de jour....

      report
    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Not really John - they operate quite differently in the economy. A tax is a far more blunt instrument with very different outcomes by virtue of the process and who carries the weight. That's why I like it - but I'm a back-of- the-axe kinda fella myself.

      To keelhaul this chat back to the topic a tad - see what Tony is proposing for his paid parental scheme is in fact a tax - and not just on Big Business. Where does Big Business get its money from? Small business and us. And the Government takes it and puts it out to Lucretia and Clive and little Hamlet while the rest of us just pay and pay and pay.

      It's a wrecking ball I tells ya. This Mercedes Subsidy Scheme.

      report
    3. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You've probably got a point there, Peter and you're probably aware of my usual stance on big government. It just shits me to tears that all those who've been bleating for months about the sky falling when (and if) Abbott gets the gig because of his (apparent) loathing of all things welfare, can't recognise a piece of welfare when they see it. If the same scheme was proposed by Gillard, the same folks'd be fauning all over it.

      report
  14. Norman Kupke

    Production Manager

    Eva,
    I would be very interested to know how you justify this funding model. If PPL is a workplace entitlement then surely it should be funded by the workplace - either by company contributions, worker contributions or a mix of both. A 1.5% lift in company tax is going to be passed on to consumers. This will mean that pensioners, the unemployed and low wage earners will have their cost of living increased.

    I am open to suggestion with regard to whether this is a workplace entitlement or not and whether it should be at full pay but the funding model is completely wrong.

    report
    1. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Norman Kupke

      All business costs, whether they be entitlements paid directly to workers (compulsory or otherwise) or taxes, are passed on to consumers. The funding model of getting large employers to pay for it has been proposed by the federal opposition, so I don't think it's necessarily Ms Cox's task to justify it.

      report
    2. Norman Kupke

      Production Manager

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Oh really?
      So it's a workplace entitlement paid for by government?
      Are there any other examples of a workplace entitlement that is paid for by government?

      report
    3. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Norman Kupke

      > So it's a workplace entitlement paid for by government?
      > Are there any other examples of a workplace entitlement that is paid for by government?

      This is explained elsewhere. Quoting myself, above:

      The difference between holiday and sick pay, and parental leave, is that the cost of parental leave is disproportionately paid in respect of female workers, giving employers a financial incentive to discriminate against women. Sourcing parental leave entitlement costs from a common pool removes (most of) this incentive. It's a male/female equality measure, nothing more and nothing less.

      report
    4. Norman Kupke

      Production Manager

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      We can pretty much agree on that. Or at the very least, I can see where you are coming from but sick leave, annual leave, long service leave and worker's compensation are all paid for by the employer or workplaces more generally.
      The common pool that you refer to is funded by a stealthy consumption tax on all consumers in Australia. Why not model it on the Worker's Compensation scheme where the burden is spread right across the workforce/workplace?

      report
    5. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Norman Kupke

      > The common pool that you refer to is funded by a stealthy consumption tax on all consumers in Australia. Why not model it on the Worker's Compensation scheme where the burden is spread right across the workforce/workplace?

      To be honest I don't really follow your objection. I had understood the proposal to be structured as a payroll tax on the country's largest employers. Or have I completely misunderstood, and it's a percentage of profits or turnover, not wages (which wouldn't change the fact…

      Read more
    6. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Norman Kupke

      Better still, parents should be eligible for the same benefits as the single parents benefit. If they want any more money than that, they could access a HECS-style arrangement.

      report
    7. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      What decile? the top 1% or the top 1% of the 1%.
      Or just anyone with $150k?
      $1 isnt worth what it used to be worth.

      You conveniently ignore income tax, where the higher the income the higher the nominal tax paid but also the higher the tax rate.

      yes add a 75% hate tax like the french, on the successful & see what happens. People with intellect arent lemmings that just roll over & play dead. Tax too high & they leave the country taking with them business, jobs, & wealth. France is finished in part because of this.

      BTW, its a disgrace that low income earners had to pay income tax on as little as approx $5000. Should be no income tax till $30,000.

      report
    8. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Nothing is paid for by any govt. Govts dont earn $, they take it by force from the workers. They spend tax payers money or create debt & spend it.

      report
    9. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Robert Attila

      > Nothing is paid for by any govt. Govts dont earn $, they take it by force from the workers. They spend tax payers money or create debt & spend it.

      Where'd you get that, Nozick or Rand? It's unadorned bullshit either way.

      There is no discussion of government spending or priorities to be had if you define taxation or public ownership to be theft. This places private wealth above the law; but there is no private wealth outside the law.

      Private wealth as we know it exists thanks to governments…

      Read more
    10. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      1. No idea who Nozick or Rand is.

      2. Fact: govts take tax by force. See what happens to you if you refuse to pay tax. You go to jail. If you resist, you will be physically forced to obey. But no, i'm not arguing against tax whatsoever, its very necessary for public works etc & i dont see anyone arguing against that.

      I should not have used the word 'theft' since govts can pass whatever laws they like to do whatever they like. USA is a prime example, but so are totalitarian regimes. So i wouldn't…

      Read more
    11. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Rand is Ayan Rand who is the Author of Atlas shrugged and The virtue of selfishness, she is an awful neocon that would blame the poor for being poor and dumb and praise rich people for being rich thinking that both groups earnt and deserve the outcomes they got

      which totally ignores reality

      report
    12. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Robert Attila

      I think you'll find that historically the concepts of freehold title, freedom of contract, and constitutional limitations on the state (habeas corpus and other "basic human rights") are no more nor less than laws, established long after the start of government and taxation by several thousand years at the very least. Sure there has always been some artisanship and some barter even in "ungoverned" communities, but honestly, we've never witnessed or found evidence of a society primitive enough to…

      Read more
  15. John Tebbutt

    Researcher/Lecturer

    Strange line this Eva... "...the far too common workplace cultures that demand women behave like male employees..."
    Many of these workplace cultures can certainly be called patriarchal (some good egs otherwise will help destroy these joints).
    But systemic patriarchal bias impacts on all employees. You'd agree that male employees who understand the import of this change will support women accessing extended parental leave as well, wouldn't you?
    But it's a clumsy phrase isn't it: systemic patriarchal bias, so old fashioned. Do you have something more elegant?

    Re Abbott - don't trust him. Its about image. I'll bet he drops it if he's ever elected!

    report
  16. Eric Ireland

    logged in via Facebook

    I support Abbott's scheme, because I believe women should not have to choose between having a career and having children. It's not about welfare, it's a matter of equal rights for men and women.

    By ensuring that successful women are encouraged to stay in the workforce, it will also improve productivity and economic growth.

    report
    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Eric Ireland

      No women should have to not have to choose Eric - but parents should don't you think? One of them. Or a bit of both. Or is the idea that we just slot the whole family business into our busy money-earning lives - catching sight of the kids on odd occasions between the wet-nurse, the governess and the child-care centre.

      No one gives up anything any more. We want the mortgage sorted by the time we're 30. We want our holidays in the South of France. We want the Lexus and the 4WD and the jet…

      Read more
    2. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Eric Ireland

      Eric, how about the right of people to start a business, without that meaning they have to pay to raise the kids of anybody they employ?

      report
    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Eric Ireland

      Workplace creches would be very helpful for parents, especially single parents who want to continue to work.

      report
    4. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Well said Peter. Kids have become an accessory. Both parents work full time to pay for the dream home, and all the seemingly required accessories like two new cars, multiple phones and TV's, quad bikes for the weekend, private schools for their other accessories, whatever the latest fashion in pets is, and a myriad other WANTS.

      Then they want everyone else to pay for these lifestyle choices and WANTS.

      No one wants to make the CHOICE of having all this stuff or having a family they actually raise themselves.

      Why is the childcare rebate not means tested? This world has become a consumerist insane asylum.

      report
    5. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Who is this "everyone else to pay for these lifestyle choices and WANTS"?

      The poor who pay very little or no tax?

      report
  17. Norm Mazlin

    logged in via Facebook

    Abbot's policy is basically flawed at a moral level - he advocates that some woman deserve more money for the birth and raising of their children then others. This ideology smacks of the crudity of the Nazis. Does the Coalition really believe that the higher income earners provide Australia with a better gene pool???

    report
    1. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Norm Mazlin

      Depends on what you mean by "better" gene pool I suppose.

      report
    2. Norm Mazlin

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Thompson

      One that we are willing to pay more for.....(maybe they come with blond hair and budgie smugglers!!!)

      report
    3. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Norm Mazlin

      Who is worth more to an economy, a single parent who has never worked & never wants to work & thus extracts $ from the system, or a single person who is qualified & works & pays tax??

      One gets $ for free, the other pays their own way & puts $ into the system for all to share.
      One is a slave driver, the other a slave (in effect).

      Did you notice Eva's point that this is not meant as welfare but as work entitlement just like other leave which is paid at a % / rate not a fixed amount?

      BTW, which would you rather work for your business? Case closed.

      report
  18. Peter Dawson

    Gap Decade

    Any government scheme should offer pay, for the agreed upon amount of time, for all new mothers, at the minimum wage. Paid for by a levy on big business (thank you Tony for that idea), but no accompanying reduction in the company tax rate (thanks Tony for another good idea).

    *There* is a scheme for a country that isn't exactly living in a time of economic abundance.

    report
    1. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      I hasten to add, those new mothers who aren't working won't be included - they'll have to make do with what is currently available to them. Sound fair?

      report
  19. Sally Boteler

    customer service officer at health & leisure

    "This is Abbott’s opportunity to show he has changed."
    Now that Abbott has clarified his aim of encouraging women of a certain calibre to procreate, i think we can safely say that there is not much change evident.
    But you are right; this is not about Abbott's personality, or character.
    Nor can it be just about ideology either.
    There is an economic aspect too. If we can be guaranteed that the cost of the scheme will not have a negative economic impact on low income people via businesses passing on costs, and in particular on women of lesser calibre and their children, i might feel more comfortable about it.
    Until then, the current plan is at least a start, and i wish a great deal more focus would be given to the women and children struggling in genuine poverty, and to the horrendous and much ignored issue of domestic violence.

    report
  20. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    All is explained. Tony Abbott said today (reported on 9 News online) : "We do not educate women to higher degree level to deny them a career," ... "If we want women of that calibre to have families, and we should, well, we have to give them a fair dinkum chance to do so. That is what this scheme of paid parental leave is all about."

    If we're discussing equity or privilege, then Tony Abbott's scheme gives more to the wealthier. This is consistent with his approach in other policy areas, such as health and education.

    report
  21. pennie scott

    Senior Consultant - Food Security and Risk Manaagement

    Robert Atilla articulately describes his parent's efforts when they arrived in Australia in 1965 - and there are a few words which have disappeared from our present lexicon including -
    survival,
    sacrifice,
    vision,
    personal responsibility,
    delayed gratification,
    going without,
    putting off
    frugal (one of my favourites)
    saving for a rainy day......
    and I'm sure others can add to this list.

    These days oft used words include -
    expectations
    demands
    rights
    entitlement
    mine
    want and
    now!

    The examples we provide to our own children will determine how they behave / react / respond in situations and whether or not they are resourceful and givers, or (possibly deliberately) helpless and takers.

    report
  22. Nick Parr

    Associate Professor in Demography at Macquarie University

    Thanks for a nice article Eva.
    The implication of the proposed revenue measure for balancing the cost an improved paid parental leave scheme is that the Coalition believes an extra levy on big business wouldn't have too much of an adverse effect. If so then why shouldn't Wayne Swan announce measures to raise similar amounts of revenue from big business next Tuesday? Rather that as a way to reduce the deficit than some of the measures (cuts to universities, no increase to family tax benefits etc.) which have been announced in recent weeks.

    report
    1. Anthony Spawton
      Anthony Spawton is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired Academic

      In reply to Nick Parr

      This middle class welfare is an insult to the families who have prospered without levies and taxpayer funding. As a $10 pom my wife and I have reared 2 children - with private school and university education. It was a struggle and both our children and my wife and I have a great deal of satisfaction at their and our achievement. We are insulted by this mollycoddling of the well to do at the expense of the taxpayer and ultimately the consumer as the cost of the levy flows through to the selling price…

      Read more
    2. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Nick Parr

      Nick, i understand what you mean but big business is not a cash cow. Abbott should know better.

      Tax them too much & they simply go off shore.
      Burden them with endless regulations, & they go off shore.
      Mining projects r being cancelled here because of the high cost of labour & regulatory burden in Aus. Was sustainable (just) when commodity prices was high but that is no longer the case. China is faltering with its false credit created real-estate boom & is looking to softly land its economy…

      Read more
    3. pennie scott

      Senior Consultant - Food Security and Risk Manaagement

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Robert Attilla -

      Thanks for an excellent explanation and your experience is a vital contribution to your knowledge.

      A few years ago I had a paper published 'The differences in decision-making processes between self-employed and salaried' and the theme and information is still relevant.

      Someone who is self-employed and/or running a business lives or dies (financially) by the quality of their decisions. Their decisions and actions have consequences. Sharp financial edges are usual territory…

      Read more
    4. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to Robert Attila

      From what I could see, Abbott's proposal was to introduce a 1.5% levy to pay for maternity leave, and coincidentally to reduce the company tax rate by 1.5%, so the net effect is giving taxpayer money back to the companies so they can pay for the new maternity leave scheme. No cash cow, just smoke and mirrors.

      report
    5. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to pennie scott

      Pennie, an awful lot of people work in non-profit organisations: schools, universities, hospitals and other research, service and charitable institutions are the things which come to mind. While these workers most certainly do generate wealth, it's not wealth in the form of dollars in the fist of the employer. Nor should it be.

      report
    6. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      Sorry Pete, i dont know the details of the proposal so i cant comment, my comment was in response to someone else.
      However, i seem to recall someone here mentioned that small/medium business will end up paying, or at least those who dont have many women on staff, or some such.

      Any any event, nothing is free. If what you say is correct then seems like the govt will collect less tax. Essentially it means they will have less to spend elsewhere or will need to make up the difference from tax raised elsewhere. The result is always the tax payer (personal & business) pays more for all these fancy schemes.

      report
    7. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Jonathon, you assume Pennie is only thinking about $.

      Pennie wouldn't be downplaying non-profit organisations. What makes you think she would. Life revolves around making $ to buy goods to survive & prosper, its not a luxury but a necessity, thats a fact you seem to ignore or imply is wrong.

      Of course their work is valuable. Value can be defined in many ways, charity is one of them. Its not just $ that she means. Its any 'output'. Your output has to be sufficient to at the very least pay for your cost of your pay. If you r free to the employer (be a charity) then that issue doesnt apply.

      BTW, there is only so much space & time for people to write here, they cant put every 'if & but' in to clarify to ensure no misunderstanding takes place.

      report
    8. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to pennie scott

      Thx Pennie, kind words,

      my aim is to try to provide some extra 'perspective' for people born here.

      That my parents & those like them are not 'special', they dont have extraordinary intelligence or skills beyond what we have here.

      What they do have that most here dont is experience of far greater hardship than anyone born here has EVER experienced. And because of that they have an much greater or broader appreciation, perspective, & respect, for life & opportunities if i can put it that…

      Read more
    9. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Robert, there was absolutely some luck in the circumstances of your parents' migration here. They were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity by the Australian government to come to one of the wealthiest countries in the world with an explicit policy of rapid population expansion through immigration (but whites only, thanks).

      Australia was in the business of getting bigger, as fast as it could. Of course there was opportunity here for hard-working migrants.

      But there was no notion at…

      Read more
    10. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      LOL, Everyone has good/bad luck, so what? I said luck was not much of a factor for success. besides they had far more bad luck in their lives than good.

      Luck or chance is an event which occurs beyond one's control, without regard to one's will, intention, or desired result. . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luck

      Whatever jobs immigrants got here was typically laboring since unions made sure the best jobs went to Anglo whites. So people cant claim immigrants had more luck than locals for jobs…

      Read more
  23. Jack Bloomfield

    Retired Engineer

    I find it interesting that even after all the learned analysis and comments on the inequity of the LNP's paid parental leave scheme;

    e.g. "a scheme deliberately designed to ensure that the greatest benefit goes to the most affluent!" to quote but one of the many erudite commenter's pointing out it's many equity defects, Eva Cox has not changed her opinion one iota. Her outspoken public advocacy on Sydney broadcast media of this flawed policy continues in complete disregard of analysis in this TC forum.

    The impact of sensible argument presented here, expressed in such a clear and logical manner has had no practical effect on Eva Cox's views.
    She has apparently dismissed the inequities revealed here as acceptable and in no need of change or modification.

    That says much to me about her social ideology.

    report
  24. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    “We need to change the far too common workplace cultures that demand women behave like male employees in attempting to separate paid work from other parts of life.”

    I’d like to see some statistics regards this.

    Were men asked about it, or was this statement about men simply made up?

    “Feminists have long argued for parenting time to be recognised as a legitimate employee entitlement, like holiday pay, sick pay and long service leave, as part of a wider effort to normalise parenting in workplaces.”

    Which feminists did this?

    “So why have so few feminists been openly supportive of the Abbott scheme?”

    Which feminists have supported it and which haven’t?

    This article doesn’t give much detail, and I think a lot of it is just made up.

    report
  25. Tracy Heiss

    logged in via Facebook

    We NEED children; all of us. We should all contribute in any way we can, as a society, to ensure we keep having children. Until robots are future doctors and arse wipers, this is a fact. Why we keep saying it's a choice of individuals, as if to have children is akin to buying a car, is beyond me. No one thinks fixing infrastructure such as hospitals and roads is welfare, so why do we think funding maternity leave is? The easier we make it, the better off we'll all be when we are spending the last ten years of our lives in dependency, lamenting how, maybe we shouldn't have bothered funding all the anti smoking, anti drinking, anti junk food programs, since we are all living so long, but don't have enough arse wipers because we resented a wholly supportive maternity leave support system.

    report
    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      I listened to Eva trying to justify her enthusiasm for this "scheme" on ABC radio over the weekend - a rather disingenuous appeal to incorporating "family life" into the workplace. That's not what this does.

      By all means include a parental leave system into the workplace. We are uniquely placed to do this with our system of awards and regulated employment conditions. Make it apply across the board and make it fair... a condition of employment.

      But that is not what this proposal does…

      Read more
    2. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Far too much common sense, Mr O.

      Well, at least we have a new addition to the Dictionary of Doublespeak:

      'High Calibre; ability to earn lots of dosh.'

      Addm;

      Also used as a method for grading armaments.

      report
    3. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      "We NEED children; all of us. " - Says the heterosexual female from the 1950's

      report
    4. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      The idea that anyone but the parents are decision makers when it comes to breeding is a bit laughable.

      Governments have never been able to do much to promote or deter people from having children. Various child endowments and baby bonuses and maternity payments have nudged birthrates up a tiny bit. India's mass sterilisation programs had almost no effect at all. China's draconian one-child policy, rather variably enforced from province to province and (shamefully) depending on connections, had…

      Read more
    5. Tracy Heiss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Oh I agree about population! Humans are indeed a blight on this planet. The sooner the species' demise, the better. However, my point is, that in our from the perspective of OUR imminent future, unless no-one needs someone younger than themselves in their future (to drive a bus, fix the stairs, provide care)...then we do all NEED children in our society. Sure, we could just keep importing, if everyone prefers. But never the less, we need children. From that angle, why isn't it every one's responsibility, rather than child bearing females alone? A whole shift of thinking needs to occur.

      report
    6. Tracy Heiss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Michael - even you will be depending on people younger than yourself.;) Can this be argued against?

      report
    7. Tracy Heiss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      I wouldn't want it to happen overnight ;) But...really, as a whole, haven't we done so much damage in the blink of an eye? And now, even Stephen Hawkins acknowledges that the species only long term hope lies in inter planetary colonization. And that annoys me too!.

      report
    8. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      Nonsense, absolute nonsense

      You are responding to a comment of mine where I disagree that we ALL NEED to have babies by stating that no man is an island

      Yes, I am dependent on others as I am part of a social primate species but that is not an argument for the position that every women and every man should have a baby

      I remember listening to my great grandmother when I was younger talking about the struggles of the femenist movement when she was a young women

      And for a women today to be exclaiming that all women NEED to have babies would make my grandmother vomit - it should make you sick to your stomach

      report
    9. Tracy Heiss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Did I say ALL women need to have babies? Seriously. I know many, many amazing men and women who have chosen to not have babies...I said we all need babies; not all women need to individually have babies.

      report
    10. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      "I said we all need babies; not all women need to individually have babies"

      Well then your comment is highly redundent and confusing.

      You say we all need babies but what you meant is that we dont all need to have babies?....Clap clap clap

      report
    11. Tracy Heiss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Sigh. The collective WE need babies. Our society needs to keep reproducing so that there are people in OUR future.

      report
    12. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      Yes Tracy but your statement is highly redundent because

      We NEED Children

      but We also NEED immigrants

      but We also NEED men in society

      but We also NEED women in society

      None of these statements justify giving handouts to adults or handouts to immigrants or handouts to men or handouts to women

      Whilst its true we NEED men in society - how does that justify giving a handout to all the males?

      Whilst its true we NEED children in society - how does this justify giving handouts for children?

      Its a tautological statement, hence, it is highly redundent

      report
    13. Tracy Heiss

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Shand

      I don't believe maternity support should be seen as a handout /welfare; that was my original point. Just as we don't consider funding for essential infrastructure to be a hand out.

      report
    14. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      Interesting concept, basically socialism. No doubt has some benefits, but also pitfalls, like any system.

      Where is the incentive to work? Why would i continue to do 15+ hrs a day when the next guy puts in 7 or less for the same amount? I wouldn't. Instead i'd start enjoying my life, taking holidays to visit all the ancient sites around the world, or just relaxing for a change?.

      Pitfall 1:
      "Hayek emphasized a minimum income in the far future, and stated clearly that no wealthy countries such…

      Read more
    15. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Tracy Heiss

      You have equated Essential Infrastructure here with maternity leave, I dont see it as comparable.

      I think the main difference here is that you see adults choosing to have babies as them doing everyone else a favour, I disagree.

      If you dont invest in infrastructure - it wont be built

      Whether we give money to parents or not...they are still going to have babies

      People having babies is not dependent on the government paying for it and it shouldnt be, we shouldnt be relying on the government teet so much

      Buying holdens is important to keep the manufacturing industry going? should the government give people money if they buy a holden? no, if you cant afford it then dont buy it

      Why should babies be any different? people are goign to have babies anyway and I resent the government collecting a portion of my pay each week to subsidise others lifestyle choice

      Having babies is a choice, to state it is not is to let go of all personal responsibility

      report
    16. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jonathan Maddox

      I agree with Robert,

      Basically communism and free markets are 2 side's of the same delusion

      Communist ideals like you suggest assume that humans are inherently good, only take what they need and contribute fairly out hteir own free will

      We know this is not true

      Free Market Ideals suggest that corporations (Run by the same humans we just talked about) are some how better than the people that run them, some how corporations will always do the right thing, take control of their externalities, provide fair working conditions and ensure their products and services are of the highest quality

      We also know this not to be true

      report
    17. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      If you want to look at an example of 1984 - take a look at America

      Money = speech

      93% public support for a bill and yet it cant pass in congress

      Corporations are people my friend

      and judging from all the factory fires and collaspses in the less fortunate countrys you mention, safety regulation might actually be a good idea lest workers dont have to worry about whether today is the day that the building will collaspe or the machinary explode

      report
    18. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Indeed, the US is edging closer to outright totalitarianism.
      Constitutional right r killed off by the current govt.
      No modern democratic country allows its military act as police for the very real dangers that it creates.

      Yet US has passed laws allowing this. It now states that anyone that disagrees with the govt can be classified as a terrorist.

      Anyone can be named a terrorist & jailed with legal representation or access to family, etc - for life.
      You can be disappeared legally now…

      Read more
    19. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Robert Attila

      My rotten typing skills,

      has become the new Massive class

      should be:

      ....has become the new massive middle class.....

      report
    20. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      So you completely agree with me except you still felt it nessacary to make a statement about over regulation

      Why dont you ask those that died in the latest factory fire whether they would prefer to have their job or be alive?

      better yet, why dont you ask their family?

      or is this just the price of capitalism for you? sure, some brown people might die but if they want us to build a factory there then thats the price they have to pay

      report
    21. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      All the fouls you speak of can be traced back to money in politics, defense contractors, gun lobby's, private protection companies, private prison industry, big banks that are deemed too big too fail too big too jail, HSBC got caught laundring money for Alqueda - did anyone go to jail? no, they paid a fine which was a small percentage of the profit they made from doing it in the first place

      Its a corporatocracy and you keep peddling this idea that the big problem is regulations....that there are…

      Read more
    22. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      i didnt say the big problem was regs. Just a problem, when it there is over regs...

      report
    23. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      thats how it works. people here want lower prices. thats why production goes to the cheapest countries. i'm not defending it, just saying how it is, & what the repercussion is if you drive up costs.
      they will just move to a cheaper country. conditions always improve, in time. sad but unless u can come up with another 'viable' option then being angry about it is meaningless.

      report
    24. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      have u seen how many OHS etc rules there r? if u havent then u cant exactly make an informed comment, can you? Besides, as u mentioned if a company is really nasty rules mean nothing, it only hurts the legitimate companies, & indirectly helps the naughty ones by killing off the honest companies..

      Also, govts r far from perfect, thus they inevitably make some stupid regs, if not too many.

      Seen the tax codes lately.? No one can understand it, its too big. Too clunky. ATO even admit that companies…

      Read more
    25. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      "have u seen how many OHS etc rules there r? if u havent then u cant exactly make an informed comment, can you?" - ohh agreed, if you dont know how many OHS rules there are then you cant make an informed comment....but like your previous posts you automatically resort to assuming that I am not aware of these things so that you can then go on about how uninformed I am rather than just asking me

      Its known as strawmanning, its dishonest and it makes the discussion useless.

      report
    26. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      "i didnt say the big problem was regs. Just a problem, when it there is over regs..."

      followed by

      "have u seen how many OHS etc rules there r? "

      ohhh ahhh thats really a big concern isnt it, its not the corportocracy nooo, its not that our government is following the path of America where big business have bought and paid for the government outright nooooo, its not that corporations have stolen Federal democracy in the US and are following suit elsewhere, its not that we have impending…

      Read more
    27. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      R u ok there Michael?
      You seem to really want to get stuff off your chest.You're preaching to the converted.

      I already pointed out how naughty corporate America & govt is getting. Why r u saying i dont know this when i;ve already pointed to many nasty things happening?

      And i never said Regs r the be all & end all, just that it is 1 of many elements that affects things, it affects my ability to research environmental projects. Just because its small relatively speaking doesn't make it irrelevant.

      As they say, take care of the small things, & the big things will take care of themselves. well, sort of....

      report
    28. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Have a gander at this, though i dont necessarily agree with all of it:

      " The BIG Warning Signal to Stocks That 99% of Investors Are Ignoring"

      Bill Gross, who manages the world’s largest bond fund, has indicated that the 30+ year old super cycle bull market in bonds has ended. This is very bad news for the markets.

      First and foremost, if bonds fall, rates will increase. With higher rates, it will be harder to meet debt obligations. This will be the case for corporations as well as sovereign…

      Read more
    29. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      Completely agree with this post

      "" The BIG Warning Signal to Stocks That 99% of Investors Are Ignoring"

      I think you are on the money here

      report
    30. Michael Shand

      Software Tester

      In reply to Robert Attila

      You seem to have backed down a lot from your "too many Regulations are destroying the joint" commentry

      now its only too many regulations preventing environmental project research

      Where as before it was a blanket statement about regulations in general

      "R u ok there Michael?
      You seem to really want to get stuff off your chest.You're preaching to the converted." - Yeah I'm a big boy, I'll be just fine thanks, do I want to get stuff off my chest? yes and no, I want to make sure people are aware of whats going on, despite everything I'm glad at least that there are people out there like yourself that understand the F*ckery society is creating

      report
    31. Robert Attila

      Business Analyst

      In reply to Michael Shand

      LOL, no i'm not backtracking at all. i;'m just trying to be quick since its taking a lot of my time, so i havent been explicit at all. Regs/specs etc r very important & r a must for not only safety etc, but also for efficiency, it does business good to do things properly the 1st time.

      But i wasnt going to state the obvious otherwise where do u stop.

      although i've been taking advantage of the 'good times' since i finally cracked into proper employment back in 1999 & so buying & renovating houses…

      Read more
  26. Blair Silverlock

    PhD candidate

    Back to the 50s, back to the home for the working women of Australia!

    Isn't this policy paid MATERNAL leave only., and representative of Tony Abbott's sexism to the highest degree?

    Can the father take the leave? And, heaven forbid that a gay or lesbian couple have a child (or any other non-"traditional" family). Any "maternal" leave for them?

    report