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Removing the childcare rebate for parents who do not fully immunise their children is unnecessarily punitive and could have repercussions. Oksana Shufrych/Shutterstock

Forget ‘no jab, no pay’ schemes, there are better ways to boost vaccination

Immunisation in Australia isn't compulsory – and doesn't need to be controversial. Most Australians recognise the incredible benefits that vaccination provides to prevent serious disease.
The Productivity Commission’s report on childcare will help inform the Abbott government’s soon-to-be-unveiled ‘families package’. AAP/Paul Miller

Productivity Commission childcare report shows blind faith in market

Many of the Productivity Commission's proposals derive from assumptions that the funding of these services should ensure minimal interference, with a classic, market-based model for meeting "demand".
The social norm of women as care givers has a big impact when women return to work after childbirth. Shutterstock

Returning to work after childbirth: still a case of ‘managing it all’

The return by women to paid work after maternity or parental leave plays a crucial role in driving our workforce and economy. There is growing recognition of the link between supporting employees with…
Time to go back to work? Toddler via Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Why free childcare is not helping many mums back to work

Over the last 20 years, early childhood education and childcare for the under-fives has become a major policy priority in the UK. Get more mothers into work, it’s argued, and we can start to close the…
Nordic nations enjoy regulated working hours, substantial welfare provision and strong economies. www.shutterstock.com

We can learn a lot about public policy from the Nordic nations

At the end of this month Australia’s Productivity Commission will issue the final report of its inquiry into Early Childhood Education and Care. The inquiry was limited from the outset by the requirement…
The proportion of women in the Australian news media has grown, but in general men still rule the newsrooms. EPA/Yoon S. Byun

Why men still run newsrooms, defying the influx of women

As I write this I can hear a clique of blokes guffawing at morning news conference. Not a woman at the table … We are marginalised and excluded by the blokes' club because admitting women would change…
The Productivity Commission report reflect the limits set by Tony Abbott when he announced terms of reference focused on economic benefit. AAP/Alan Porritt

PC logic: let the market solve childcare market failure

The Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Childcare and Early Childhood Learning shows the serious limitations of market economics for analysing social policy. The report’s 900-plus pages offer a collection…
Do you think your Mum and Dad made the right choice? John Stillwell/PA

What should parents look for when choosing a nursery?

Choosing a good quality nursery is one of the most important decisions any parent will make during the first years of their child’s life. In a recent report, UK school and childcare regulator Ofsted acknowledged…
My mum could use that extra cash. Peter Macdiarmid/PA

New childcare accounts help those who already afford quality

The coalition has placed a series of new plans on the table with regard to childcare and early years education. Most eye-catching is the new “tax-free childcare” scheme: from September 2015, for every…
Too many two-year-olds. Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Very few schools are ready to take two-year-olds into class

Proposals to allow schools to start looking after two-year-olds go to the heart of a long-standing tension in education policy: is early childhood provision about childcare for working parents or is it…
What’s wrong with the policy picture? Private childcare operators' priorities are driven by profits, not social needs. AAP/Joe Castro

Failed market assumptions are undermining care for our children

Can the Productivity Commission review commissioned by the Abbott government recognise the possible failure of the market-model funding of many early childhood services? This rather broad term now covers…
A roundtable of academics have reviewed family and work policies proposed by the major parties in the lead up to the 2013 election on September 7. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Major parties fall short on work and family policy: experts

Australia is approaching a “care tsunami” in which more people will find themselves juggling work with care of children and…
Caring is part of everyday life; it taps into our vulnerabilities and allows us to turn possibilities into material outcomes. Image from shutterstock.com

Election 2013 Issues: How we grow and care for each other

Welcome to the The Conversation’s Election 2013 State of the Nation essays. These articles by leading experts in their field provide an in-depth look at the key policy challenges affecting Australia as…
The vast majority of childcare workers are women. Childcare image from www.shutterstock.com

Childcare wage reforms stop short of real change

The federal government’s announcement this week on pay equity for the early childhood workforce is an important step for the childcare sector. But in the long term, it will provide little more than a stop-gap…

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