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FactCheck: is the Coalition’s paid parental leave policy similar to overseas schemes?

“Of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 33 offer paid parental leave schemes. Of these 33 countries, Australia is one of only two that fails to pay leave…

How generous is the Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme? AAP

“Of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 33 offer paid parental leave schemes. Of these 33 countries, Australia is one of only two that fails to pay leave based on a replacement wage.” - Liberal Party paid parental leave policy.

The Coalition’s policy for paid parental leave would provide mothers with 26 weeks' paid leave, at 100% replacement wage up to a maximum annual salary of $150,000, or the minimum wage if greater, and will include superannuation contributions. The proposal would also allow two out of the 26 weeks to be dedicated paternity leave, paid at the father’s replacement wage (up to the same maximum of $150,000) or the minimum wage if greater, plus superannuation.

This means that the maximum payment under the Coalition’s policy will be $75,000 over the 26 week period. This stands in contrast to the government’s current scheme, which pays a flat-rate benefit equivalent to the minimum wage for 18 weeks or around $11,200 before tax.

How does Australia’s paid parental leave compare? This table is based on information in the Liberal Party's Paid Parental Leave document, which quotes the OECD Family Database report.

The accuracy of the above claim depends on how one interprets “leave based on a replacement wage”. Appendix Two of the Coalition policy is a table downloaded from the OECD Family Database, which among many other indicators of family policies and outcomes includes analysis of “Key characteristics of parental leave systems”.

It shows that the USA is the only OECD country without paid parental leave, and that Hungary and Australia are the only countries that pay flat rate entitlements. All other OECD countries base their payment on the previous salary of the mother, so the Coalition is right on this fairly narrow point.

But the relative generosity of different schemes depends on the proportion of salary replaced, whether there is a ceiling on payments, how high that is, and also on the length of time payments are made.

Nine OECD countries pay full replacement wages without a ceiling: Austria, Chile, Estonia, Greece, Germany, Mexico, Poland and Slovenia. Norway also pays 100% for nine weeks, but this is part of a broader parental leave scheme, where the replacement rate varies with the total leave taken. In all of these countries, paid maternity leave is for a shorter period than the proposed Coalition scheme, although Estonia and Poland are nearly as long.

Nevertheless, it is fair to say that these nine countries could have more generous schemes than the Coalition proposes for a small number of very high income mothers.

In the case of Chile and Mexico, this generosity is probably more apparent than real, because the majority of mothers are not in the formal labour market, so in Chile 52% of payments go to the richest fifth of women and just 5% to the poorest fifth.

There are three countries - Italy, Japan and Portugal - that pay less than 100% but also have no ceiling. But in Japan a mother would have to earn the equivalent of more than A$465,000 to get as much money as under the Coalition proposal.

There are eight countries that pay 100% of the mother’s wage but with ceilings like the Coalition proposes. However, the ceilings are lower, so they are less generous schemes. There are 11 that pay less than 100% but also have ceilings, so they are definitely less generous the Coalition’s proposal.

For example, New Zealand bases payments on previous salary and pays 100% but up to a very low maximum of around NZ$460 a week or a maximum payment of NZ$6420 over 14 weeks. Canada pays a replacement rate of 55% of the mother’s salary for up to 18 weeks with a maximum payment of CAN$485 per week or a maximum payment of around CAN$7,760. Both of these payments are well below the level currently paid in Australia of A$11,200.

Generally speaking, the payment ceilings in other countries are well below the Coalition’s proposed level in Australia. For example, the Netherlands has 100% replacement of salary, but the maximum payment over 16 weeks is under 22,000 euro and the ceilings also produce a maximum payment over 16 weeks of around 13,000 euro in Spain and 12,000 euro in France.

The highest payment amount in countries with 100% replacement but also a ceiling on the amount appears to be Luxembourg, where the maximum payment over 16 weeks is around 36,000 euro – approximately A$53,000, so still less generous than the Coalition proposal.

Verdict

If you interpret “leave based on a replacement wage” as one with some relation to the previous salary of the mother, the Liberals are right. But if the intention of the statement is to indicate that Australia will simply become like most other OECD countries, it is incorrect. The maximum level of assistance under the Coalition proposal will be one of the highest in the OECD.


Review

The article is correct in saying that if interpreted narrowly, Australia’s current paid parental leave scheme is one of only two in the OECD that fails to pay leave based on a replacement wage. To clarify, this is referring to a woman’s replacement wage. Thus, while the scheme is called a paid parental leave scheme, it is for the most part based on the assumption that the mother will take the leave.

As the article points out, only two countries have a flat rate maternity leave payment. Many of the countries have different arrangements, ranging from a proportion of the mother’s salary (55% to 95%) to a mix of 100% for a period of time, plus a flat rate for another period, often capped at a smaller amount.

Of the nine countries that base their payment on 100% wage replacement without a ceiling, the duration for each of these countries’ schemes is less than the 26 weeks proposed by the Coalition: Norway’s is nine weeks, Germany 14 weeks, Slovenia 15, Austria 16, Greece 17, Mexico and Chile 18, Estonia 23, and Poland 24 weeks. In total, therefore, mothers could be receiving less in these countries if we could compare their incomes directly with Australian mothers.

It is difficult to directly compare generosity of schemes because of the differing architecture of the schemes. One other element that has rarely been mentioned, but which is central to understanding how inclusive schemes are, is the eligibility requirements for schemes. This is not compared in the OECD table or the author’s article. - Marian Baird.

The Conversation is fact checking political statements in the lead-up to this year’s federal election. Statements are checked by an academic with expertise in the area. A second academic expert reviews an anonymous copy of the article.

Request a check at checkit@theconversation.edu.au. Please include the statement you would like us to check, the date it was made, and a link if possible.

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116 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Andrew Barratt

    Firefighter

    Are all mentioned PPL schemes paid by the state or are some a legislated duty of an employer (like annual leave)?

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    1. Hardy Gosch

      Mr.

      In reply to Andrew Barratt

      Good question.
      I am afraid the LNP will not give you the answer before the election date. The reason? They just wouldn't have a clue! They haven't had time to think that far. QED

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    2. Graeme Smith

      Citizen

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      No, in fact they've had plenty of time to think. This is the same PPL policy as taken to the 2010 election exactly three years and two days ago!

      I doubt that Abbot, Truss, big business, small business, and especially family run small and rural business are slow on the uptake of where the benefits lay for each.

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    3. Stephen McDonough

      Business Process Analyst

      In reply to Andrew Barratt

      This is where the comparison between annual leave and sick leave become disingenuous. If you genuinely believe they should be workplace entitlements - enshrine them in IR laws.

      Avoid gender discrimination by making the full amount available to either partner, up to the maximum allowance, and make it pro-rata. That way a woman can have replacement wages while recovering from childbirth, and it is the couple's choice if the father will also take some time off. Keep the levy on large corporations to provide some other easing on small business.

      Otherwise, it's welfare, plain and simple. And welfare should be means tested, not means rewarded.

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    4. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Stephen McDonough

      Precisely Stephen.

      Eva Cox started up this story a while back - that the Abbott plan 'enshrined' parental leave as an industrial condition. It doesn't. It does exactly the opposite. Under the revised arrangements and the proposed company tax cut, this scheme effectively socialises the cost of the scheme to taxpayers, consumers and retirees alike. It's a dog. Sorry Buster.

      Australia has a rather sensible if cumbersome apparatus for doing this sort of business - along with setting other conditions of employment. It's a Hills Hoist sort of contraption... simple, ugly but it works.

      Now if the nation's employers want to get generous and start handing out paid leave deals to their workers beaut... but I haven't seen much evidence of that ... yet here they are ... all lining up to 'enshrine' such entitlements as an industrial condition? Smiling?

      Yep ... all such victories should be so simple and agreeable. As if.

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    5. Hardy Gosch

      Mr.

      In reply to Graeme Smith

      On second thought, you are probably right! Releasing this scheme now just before the election I guess is their devious intent. Doesn't allow much time for the average voter to understand the full consequences and the impact on them. Not that I think even ordinarily they would bother!
      Interesting times ahead if Murdoch's IPA/LNP mob gets in.

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    6. Liz Minchin

      Queensland Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Graeme Smith

      Fellas - Graeme, Terry and Peter - please keep it nice.

      By all means praise or criticise Coalition, Labor, Greens etc MPs on their policies, but making up nicknames/making fun of Barnaby Joyce's appearance isn't really necessary.

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    7. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      It's just a bit hard to say anything else about the bloke when one cannot follow a word he splutters, Ms Liz ... but you are right - even Barnaby is entitled to basic human kindness and respect - not like he just popped up in a boat is it?

      I consider my wrist firmly slapped. :)

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    8. Liz Minchin

      Queensland Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good on you Peter - you're right, we're just keen to maintain some minimum standards of respect for everyone, whether they're a fellow commenter or a politician. Makes it a better conversation for everyone.

      Must say, I've interviewed Barnaby and I didn't have any trouble understanding him! He's had more impact on federal politics than many of his colleagues in recent years, especially in leading the charge internally that reversed the Coalition's stance on an emissions trading scheme, which then led to Turnbull & Rudd's downfall...

      Anyway, thanks for understanding about why we need to look out for community standards https://theconversation.com/au/community_standards

      Hope you have a good day.

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    9. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      "He's had more impact on federal politics than many of his colleagues in recent years, especially in leading the charge internally that reversed the Coalition's stance on an emissions trading scheme, which then led to Turnbull & Rudd's downfall..."

      And what a positive impact that was...

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    10. Graeme Smith

      Citizen

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      I did not make up the nickname, nor did I make fun of the appearance of a Mr B T G Joyce. Agreed, it really isn't necessary. However, I see below there are some politicians we end up being on first-name terms with and Barnaby Joyce is the latest addition... except for the fact that hasn't happened for me as yet so it will have to be the full handle here on in, right and proper.

      https://crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/news/2009/normana_2020091231.pdf

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    11. Graeme Smith

      Citizen

      In reply to Stephen McDonough

      "This is where the comparison between annual leave and sick leave become disingenuous. If you genuinely believe they should be workplace entitlements - enshrine them in IR laws..."

      Right. Would IR laws suitably fit with the arbitrary income shifting available within family business structures? Income shuffled a woman's way at $150k p.a. rate in the qualifying pre-term period then shuffled to zero as the PPL $75k subsidy kicks in.

      Would IR laws fit with a medieval B A Santamarian agrarian…

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    12. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      Liz Michin, for three years Ausrtralians and the world have suffered Barnaby Joyce and his Coalition colleagues mocking and abusing PM Julia Gillard and her Queensland Deputy PM and Treasurer with Barnaby constantly describing her Government as "the worst ever", "the Government that got us into deep debt our children won't be able to pay off". All the time he is rolling around on his seat on national TV, rolling his eyes like a circus clown, mumbling his words and constantly shouting over the top…

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    13. Graeme Smith

      Citizen

      In reply to Graeme Smith

      'I talk to Tony all the time. And we have a very constructive relationship, and a very open relationship. Sounds like it. And not a sexual relationship … We're basically in the same team together, so we chat all the time.'' - (that) Mr B T G Joyce http://loonpond.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/barnaby-joyce-nice-uncle-who.html#.UhbN-dd-9hE

      Regarding that Mr B T G Joyce, and the stated relationship advantages of his and a Mr A J "Tony" Abbott's PPL, the homonymous Joyce in "Dubliners" has Mr Duffy similarly…

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    14. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Graeme Smith

      If you want to see an agrarian socialist I reckon Bob Katter's far closer to the mark.

      Not really since Black Jack held them over a barrel could you say the Country Party - let alone these Real Estate agent Nationals - have fitted the bill.

      One by one they have diluted, abandoned, privatised, deregulated and demolished most if not all the barricades, structures and institutions Black Jack and his predecessors built. Strewth, we don't even fool about with cloud seeding any more.

      They do it all the time ... rolling over, making way for the greater good, perhaps even the odd futile protest. But, in the end they are really only there for the perks and pomp and to make up the numbers. The Libs (normally) keep them on a pretty short leash.

      And perhaps we should all be thankful for that.

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    15. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      "So far the claims made against Slipper have spectacularly failed to materialise and are down now to just abusing his expenses privileges by $900 in a 25 year parliamentary career with the Nationals and later Liberals."

      And yet somehow Tony Abbott has managed to escape prosecution for his travel rorting used to promote his book simply by paying back what he wasn't entitled to when found out.

      Two standards going on here.

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  2. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Professor Whiteford, the Coalition statement is "baloney" and is designed to mislead.

    The basis of all these payments is two-fold, rate of payment and number of weeks. None in the world are as remotely generous to higher income earners as what Abbott has come up with.

    His proposal is as silly as "work choices", designed to benefit the well off and screw the average Australian.

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  3. Hardy Gosch

    Mr.

    Thanks for shedding some light on the LNP's grandiose thought bubble. We simple can not afford such a scheme at the present, and they know it! It is simply not going to happen!

    It should become patently obvious by now to everyone that not only in this election context, nothing Murdoch and his stalwart Tony Abbott says can be believed.
    The NBN will be de-constructed (fraudband), school reform will be dismantled, climate change action will fizzle out and so on and so on ......
    If they succeed, our country will be in deep strife. Full stop.

    So ask yourself: Have Murdoch and his minions made up my mind how to vote?

    Do the right thing and put the regressive conservative "tea party operators" last!

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      "Have Murdoch and his minions made up my mind how to vote?"

      Maybe his daughter-in-law is thinking of having another baby. $75,000 wouldn't go astray.

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  4. terry lockwood

    maths/media/music/drama teacher

    Is the 'elephant in the room' that the coalition's scheme seems designed to get educated and elite abreeding? I believe there are figures that suggest an inverse relationship between fecundity and education levels?

    I think there are also figures that suggest the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be attracted to Tony's jingoism. Humm. I am surprised that Tony thinks his recently inherited 'Howard's battlers' would like his scheme.

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to terry lockwood

      "I am surprised that Tony thinks his recently inherited 'Howard's battlers' would like his scheme."

      Useful fools remain useful fools.

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  5. Janeen Harris

    chef

    Abbot should look at some of the economic disasters that are engulfing some of the countries paying parental leave. Surely Greece and Spain can't afford to pay women to increase the population. The blind lead the blind.

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  6. John Phillip
    John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Grumpy Old Man

    Wow! Not a lot of love for a scheme that will actively reduce sexual discrimination AND meet the suggested guidelines for breast-feeding mothers (https://theconversation.com/the-choice-to-breastfeed-demands-more-time-off-work-17320#comment_207027).
    I do doubt, however the assumed omniscient powers claimed by some respondants. Their ability to see the 'future' or the 'truth' or read the minds of LNP policy makers must surely be opened to question

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Phillip

      I wonder how many shares John Phillip owns? (directly or indirectly) Either he doesn't own many at all (or none) or he simply doesn't understand what will happen.

      "a scheme that will actively reduce sexual discrimination"

      Where is it written in stone that actively reducing sexual discrimination REQUIRES more welfare for the better off?

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Phillip

      Social progress? Ha! More like Liberal Party progress.

      So where, pray tell, is the personal expense on the vast majority of taxable income income in this country, i.e. the taxable income other than dividends?

      BTW, as if social progress comes from giving $75,000 to multimillionaires.

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    3. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Phillip

      Ah yes, the "wrongs being extreme makes a right" argument. Heard it before. It's a waste of time.

      "How many 'millionaires?"

      Yes, the "small number of wrongs make a right" argument. Also a waste of time.

      So you think there are no millionaire mothers in Australia? Amazing.

      Still haven't seen any reason why there should be no personal expense for the sake of social progress on taxable income other than dividends.

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    4. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      By the way, as I said before, I still haven't seen any reason why there should be no personal expense for the sake of social progress on taxable income other than dividends.

      Obviously the Coalition policy is not based on reason.

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    5. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Phillip

      Also by the way, since when are extremes not part of reality?

      I think I know who's out of touch with reality.

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    6. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Phillip

      I'm already aware that you're totally useless. But thanks for the useless advice anyway.

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    7. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Phillip

      You can make as many ad homs as you like, the fact is you have zero defence for a regressive, unjustifiably discriminate big new tax.

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    8. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Had a read of Peter Martin's piece you linked ... and I'm a bit confused.

      So is Martin actually I suspect.

      He references a previous SMH 'fact check' to support his contention that Abbott's PPL will not be too bad ... it's worth a read ... seems to undermine Peter's subsequent enthusiasm really, ending as it does with ...' without seeing the Parliamentary Budget Office costing it is impossible to be sure ...But until (we) see it, (the SMH and Politifacts) has to rate the claim "half true".

      Seems Peter has decided to go with the belief and trust option sans figures.... a gutsy play for any economist.

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    9. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to John Phillip

      Arguments on both sides John ... putting aside the ubiquitous 'where's the money coming from? business' there is another central issue with Abbott's PPL proposal.

      Universal entitlements such as the model proposed here don't sit too easily with the Hockeynomics rhetoric of ending this golden age of entitlement, don't you think?

      You wouldn't like them, being ground down under the iron heel of social democracy - but quite a few of the European social security systems work on this sort of model…

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    10. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Phillip

      As I said, no defence for a regressive, unjustifiably discriminate big new tax.

      "pot calls kettle black"

      Where have I tried to defend a regressive, unjustifiably discriminate big new tax?

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    11. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Or not even tried to defend a regressive, unjustifiably discriminate big new tax even though I said it was a good idea?

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    12. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      I was referring to your accusations of ad homs, Chris. The fact you are trying to misrepresent the policy as a 'big new tax' only serves to identify your complete lack of understanding of it. Instead of critiquing the policy, you have simply resorted to parroting slogans.

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    13. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to John Phillip

      Martin introduces the bizarre notion that arbitrarily government mandated business costs (in this case maternity pay) should be shared by just the largest 3,000 businesses in general according to how much money they make - with nothing to do with what business costs actually are. Maybe we should do the same with sick leave and rec leave. Hey, why not just put business costs for the entire country in one gigantic bucket and fund them all out of one gigantic slush fund? Who said communism was dead…

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    14. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      One thing I forgot to mention is that the Liberal Party have no idea how much of their scheme will be paid for by their levy. One day it's 100%, then 50%, then 60%, then 70%.

      No matter, oppositions can make any financial promise they feel like. They don't have to keep them.

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    15. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Try reading the post, Chris. Then think about the words and what they might mean. I was referring to your accusation that I was leading with ad homs. It's not a big new tax, Chris. Read the policy. Saying it is like a new tax is like saying that superannuation are taxes.

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    16. Graeme Smith

      Citizen

      In reply to John Phillip

      But it is a new tax (other than in the sense that it has been LNP core policy for more than two years now), and it also is (massive tax subsidy more than age pension payments to the more affluent whilst forcibly depreciating current purchasing power of and taxing incomes of the less affluent to pay for the entire charade).

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    17. Liz Minchin

      Queensland Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to John Phillip

      Chris and John, please stop replying to each other if you can't avoid words like "idiot" and "looneys". Not helpful.

      If we do see language like that being used, we will delete those comments and, if it persists (which hopefully it won't), potentially lock accounts.

      We get complaints from other readers - the silent majority - when threads get taken over by a couple of people having a go back and forth at each other. That's because anyone else who's commented on this article and wants to follow the debate with notifications of new comments ends up with an inbox full of notifications of two people getting increasingly angry with the other... So those others are forced to opt out of the conversation altogether, which isn't the result anyone wants.

      I hope you can see why those comments have gone, and that if you can't agree to disagree, you leave each other in peace.

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    18. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Abbott's Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      "like saying that superannuation are taxes"

      My super contributions when I was working were paid for by my employer. They weren't paid for by ripping-off another employer. A tax is a payment you make for which you do not receive a benefit that has the same expected value as the payment. I expect that will be the case for all businesses that pay the PPL levy.

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    19. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Abbott's Great Big New Tax

      In reply to John Phillip

      I did not call anyone an idiot. I used the word "idiot" in an example to define what the term "ad hom" means. It's unfortunate that readers of "The Conversation" are not careful readers.

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    20. Liz Minchin

      Queensland Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "By the way, you are an idiot."

      You did Chris - please keep your comments abuse-free or they will be deleted.

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    21. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Abbott's Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      No, you are quoting out of context.

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    22. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Abbott's Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      In case there's anyone out there who reads carefully, the pronoun "you" requires context to establish who it refers to. My context (which was unilaterally deleted) was an example. It did not refer to any actual person.

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    23. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Abbott's Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Liz Minchin

      "You did Chris"

      By the way, this is libelling me.

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    24. Liz Minchin

      Queensland Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      Chris, I am a careful reader and the reason I read the line, "By the way, you are an idiot." as more than just a way of illustrating your ad homs point was because of its context. It was part of a long, increasingly angry exchange between you and John, which also included this quote from you:

      "I'm already aware that you're totally useless. But thanks for the useless advice anyway."

      If I'd got onto moderating the page sooner, I would have asked you and John to cool it sooner - "useless" from…

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  7. Peter Boyd Lane

    geologist

    dead right Janeen, upper-middle class welfare has not benifited other countries, indeed quite the opposite, so what on earth are the arguments in support of this mad scheme?

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    1. Peter Evans

      Retired

      In reply to Peter Boyd Lane

      The Liberal party candidate in the ACT has clearly stated it is not welfare, merely a replacement wage like annual leave. The candidate was also unable or unwilling to explain why a woman with a very rich husband would qualify for this taxpayer funded money.

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Peter Evans

      "The Liberal party candidate in the ACT has clearly stated it is not welfare, merely a replacement wage like annual leave."

      Yeah, as if the parent is working for me.

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  8. Barrie Michael Machin

    logged in via Facebook

    The most important thing to emphasis for
    older people like me is that Abbott is going to cut tax credits on large companies to pay for his paid parental leave. He avoids this fact like the plague. This is a great big tax of as much as 40%. This is an absolute disaster for me as a pensioner and with my super pension investments in TLS AMP TAH this means my income will be slashed by about 40%.
    The company levy of 1.5 % has been nullified by the decrease of 1.5 in company tax. So who is left to pay for the scheme which benefits women who earn over $100000 dollars? The most vulnerable the pensioners.

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Barrie Michael Machin

      "So who is left to pay for the scheme which benefits women who earn over $100000 dollars? The most vulnerable the pensioners."

      True Barrie but I think the effect is that taxable franked dividend income will be reduced by 1.5%. Not as bad as you suggest but still absolutely and shamelessly unfair.

      "He avoids this fact like the plague."

      If Tony Abbott becomes Prime Minister, he will be the most dishonest Prime Minister in Australian history.

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  9. Peter Dawson

    Gap Decade

    I wonder how the countries which have similarly generous schemes as the coalition's compare in terms of distribution of income and wealth? It seems maternity leave schemes can be incredibly regressive innovations - the coalition's certainly will be.

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  10. Comment removed by moderator.

  11. Peter Boyd Lane

    geologist

    Barrie, not only will you lose through the loss of franking credits and/or dividends, but as these effective returns to shareholders are hit so will the price of the shares, ie for shareholders both income and asset decline.

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  12. Dave Satterthwaite

    logged in via Facebook

    I am rather stunned that some people think this policy is about 'gender equality' or similar warm fuzzy notions.

    I am even more stunned that one of the most obvious conclusions of this plan seems to be missed by everyone, from academics to the 'meeja'.

    Here's a hot tip you can take to the bank - one of the primary results of this scheme, should the Libs get in, is that women of childbearing age will get shuffled to the back of the employment queue, rapidly.

    Funnily enough, this ties in with…

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    1. Chris O'Neill

      Retired Way Before 70

      In reply to Dave Satterthwaite

      "a nonsense scheme aimed at buying votes from people who it will ultimately end up shafting"

      Getting votes from useful fools never goes out of fashion.

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    2. David Thompson

      Marketing Research

      In reply to Dave Satterthwaite

      "Late Stage Capitalism", eh? Not sure there's too many neo-marxists at the IPA!

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  13. David Thompson

    Marketing Research

    Could the authors please link to the exact page/graph they are discussing? Just linking to the cover page of a 500 page report is not helpful.

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    1. Peter Whiteford

      Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University

      In reply to David Thompson

      David

      The Coalition policy document is 14 pages long. The link to the OECD is to a webpage. You have to go down the page and click on the link labelled "PF2.1 Key characteristics of parental leave systems (.pdf) (.xls)

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  14. David Thompson

    Marketing Research

    Is there any reason why the author's did compare who pays the PPL in different countries - the government or the employer?

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    1. Terry Mills

      lawyer retired

      In reply to Peter Whiteford

      Hi Peter

      A couple of question you may be able to answer following your analysis:

      Do any of the OECD government funded schemes have a requirement for the recipient to return to work i.e. are the benefits tied in any way ?

      Do any of the OECD schemes you studied make any provision for non-working /stay at home mothers ?

      Are any of the schemes funded by specific levies or taxes or do they generally come from general revenues (I had thought that such schemes were generally part of national insurance schemes) ?

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    2. Peter Whiteford

      Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University

      In reply to Terry Mills

      Terry

      You can get the available information on different schemes at http://www.oecd.org/els/family/PF2.1_Parental_leave_systems%20-%20updated%20%2018_July_2012.pdf

      I am not aware of any country having a specific requirement for mothers to return to work.

      On pages 8-10 of the link above there are descriptions of supplementary schemes - the vast majority of countries either have lump sum payments like the Baby Bonus was or an ongoing allowance for non-working mothers. It looks to me that…

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  15. Chris O'Neill

    Retired Way Before 70

    "The maximum level of assistance under the Coalition proposal will be one of the highest in the OECD."

    Regardless of whether you think it's fair to give $75,000 to multi-millionaire mothers, the fact remains that it will be paid for by Tony Abbott's Great Big New Tax on shareholders, big and small.

    Why is it that shareholders (both big and small) should be singled out to be the sole source of revenue for this tax? Whatever happened to fairly sharing the burden of taxation?

    Welcome to Tony Abbott's Great Big New Tax on shareholders. (as if he cares about Great Big New Taxes being imposed. Ha!)

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  16. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    A full list of maternity leave and paternity leave systems worldwide is available here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave

    I’m still waiting for a reason why the liberal party scheme will pay a father at the lowest payment level possible if he is the stay at home parent after 2 weeks (ie he is paid at the mother’s wage or the minimum wage if it is lower)

    This does not make the liberal party scheme a “parental leave scheme”, but a “gender prejudiced, bigoted and discriminatory scheme”.

    The scheme seems to be built around the feminist philosophy of "women and THEIR children"

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  17. Vin Stanislaus

    Project manager

    The details presented here regarding the various countries' PPL schemes may not be recent and/or accurate. For example, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave, Norway does not provide a mere nine weeks but 56 weeks at 80% pay or 46 weeks at 100% pay for parental leave, of which the father takes 12 weeks of paternity leave. Big difference. This information is also verified in Norway's official website for Australia www.norway.org.au.

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    1. Peter Whiteford

      Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University

      In reply to Vin Stanislaus

      Vin

      Actually the article does say above "Norway also pays 100% for nine weeks, but this is part of a broader parental leave scheme, where the replacement rate varies with the total leave taken."

      If you look at the link to the OECD website will see that the OECD distinguish between leave primarily for the mother around the time of birth and longer parental leave schemes in many parts of Europe. This distinction is made by most of

      The Coalition claim was specifically referring to the maternity leave component, which is what is in their policy document, so it is this component which was checked. Another good source apart from the OECD is http://www.leavenetwork.org/

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  18. Dana Mccarthy

    Retired

    In Canada, workers contribute a percentage of earnings to the Employment Insurance Commission and paid parental leave is a component of this insurance scheme.

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    1. Eddie Jensz

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dana Mccarthy

      And maybe if we had a similar self funded scheme here we would all support it but the generosity of this scheme which is government financed in effect means that we all pay for something that most of those of us past child-rearing age would have ever expected or received during our own periods of child rearing.

      My major problem with this is there is no means test and to my mind the means and needs of the recipient is the main reason for any type of welfare payment and assessment.

      I worked in…

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  19. Chris O'Neill

    Retired Way Before 70

    Here is Chris Berg's take on the Coalition's PPL: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4688026.html

    It begins:

    "The Coalition's parental leave scheme is founded on dubious claims of long-run economic growth and blurs the distinction between work and welfare, writes Chris Berg.

    There's an easy test to see if a politician is spouting nonsense: they use the word "productivity" a lot. ..."

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    1. Graeme Smith

      Citizen

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      "Here is Chris Berg's take on the Coalition's PPL: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4688026.html "

      ... Headline news heard on ABC this morning: large corporates have withdrawn support of the IPA. Maybe the ABC will follow?... As if.

      "But corporate sources said it was hard for multinationals and big companies to continue supporting the institute due to its hardline positions on many issues. One described its position on climate change as ''nuts'' and ''lunacy'' and embracing ''fringe'' elements."
      http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/big-donors-dump-ipa-on-climate-scepticism-20130824-2sigt.html

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  20. Matt Corey

    Accountant

    http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/PF2.1_Parental_leave_systems%20-%20updated%20%2018_July_2012.pdf

    Terrible fact checking by this site. The above is the actual OECD Family Database report on Parental/Maternity Leave.
    The suggestions on some of these numbers also given in the article are based on false numbers given that each country has higher or lower wages and standards of living. IE NZ and Canada both have a lower income level than Australian (minimum wage is a lot less as well - so this should…

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

      Farmer

      In reply to Matt Corey

      Not so much a feeling of being gazumped Matt ... rather than no economists in their wildest flights of drunken fancy would ever consider a tax specifically targetting 'large companies', nor would they pretend that such a tax will affect only those companies.

      And now - with the concession of a 1.5% tax cut to calm the horses, the PPL is in essence directly funded on budget. Plus some.

      Aside from that basic design problem - there is also the issue of middle class welfare. We don't like that…

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    2. Chris O'Neill

      Victim of Abbott's Great Big New Tax

      In reply to Matt Corey

      "which then negates"

      No it doesn't negate the levy because the plan is to not give franking credits for the levy. So shareholders will receive a smaller tax refund for the same franked dividend. It's equivalent to a 1.5% pay cut. Hopefully the Greens will prevent the removal of franking credits as they promise.

      "it mostly is going to be paid by the 1.5% on companys earning over $5mil"

      i.e. a 1.5% pay cut to their shareholders

      "while reducing the burden on smaller businesses"

      Indeed, it's a subsidy to smallish businesses wage costs paid for by someone else. Virtually all political parties are socialist parties. The Liberal Party is a smallish business socialist party.

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

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris O'Neill

      'The Liberal Party is a smallish business socialist party.'

      Yep ... and a friend to giant mining companies, tobacco empires, the battlers in struggle street, the old, the young, the weak and the enfeebled, Rupert Murdoch and Aboriginal Australians... all things to all men ... anything to anyone at all with a vote really.

      They believe in nothing Chris - other than being government by right - and they (all of them) will say anything to anyone to scrounge a vote... Fast Trains, NT Economic Zones, 100 new dams, cloud seeding, underwriting Osama with backdated 'compensation' ... what would you like?

      Such shallow grubby porkbarreling is an insult to the electorate.

      I'm really having trouble voting at all lest my preferences suggest I am satisfied let alone represented by either of the two travelling medicine shows on offer.

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    4. Peter Whiteford

      Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University

      In reply to Matt Corey

      Matt

      Currently Australia has a scheme that is towards the lower end of the OECD scale. What we fact checked is the Opposition proposal - not the current system. What we are saying is that the proposed scheme would be one of the most generous in the OECD. So unless you have some other arguments your comment misses the point.

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    5. Graeme Smith

      Citizen

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "They've been too busy creating a climate opf crisis and panic to do the serious policy work that this side of pork really needed."

      Not really as the 'necessary' policy work is at least three and a bit years old. You've mentioned that in regard to the noalition's PML. The policy on budgeting for that, on anything, is also the same as 2010, save for this time them having the unreleased 30 pages of cuts pre-committed for a Can'tDo it 'independent' commission of audit post election. Bowen used a…

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    6. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Graeme Smith

      Yeah Greame I know this ' revelation' came unto Tony in 2010 ... but they've done nothing to fix it, nothing to nail down the costs or the impact of the 'levy' on the wider economy ... just dusted it off, wrapped it and stuck it under the tree ... like recycling old presents isn't it?

      It was broken in 2010. It is still broken. Gift wrapped junk.

      Lazy, arrogant bastards.... just serve 'em up last time's slop warmed up.

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  21. Chris O'Neill

    Victim of Abbott's Great Big New Tax

    By the way, in case anyone is interested in a definition by example of what constitutes an ad hom argument, here is one with a bit of history, http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/what-is-ad-hominem/#comment-63493 :

    ad hom: you are wrong because you are an *.

    NOT ad hom: you are wrong because of x, y, z and BTW you are an *.

    * I'm not allowed to mention this word on The Conversation in case the editors think I'm calling someone that word. Even worse, an editor might verbal me that I did.

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