John Howard told The Punch at Friday’s Liberal Party get-together in Mosman that Tony Abbott “hasn’t put a foot wrong” since becoming Liberal Leader in December. It now looks like in the past 24 hours that Abbott has done just that.

Ugly baby: Kudelka fires up the ridicule in today's Oz.

The reaction from surprised business leaders, a cynical public and his own irritated MPs suggests that Mr Abbott’s maternity leave scheme is a poor bit of policy which has also been badly managed politically.

While business has a tendency to complain about any new cost that comes its way, and the public a habit of being cynical about everything, it’s the political mismanagement of the issue, which saw Mr Abbott offer a qualified apology to his own MPs today, which may have done the most damage. It certainly gave Labor its first good Question Time of the year, after weeks of drift and distraction over the insulation scandal, and successive drops in the polls in the backdraft of the failed ETS.

Kevin Rudd and his Ministers had a terrific time of it in Question Time today, seizing on the criticisms from the Business Council and the Retailers Association that the paid maternity model unveiled by Abbott yesterday on International Womens Day will jack up costs to consumers.

It obviously will. By proposing a 1.7 per cent levy on all businesses earning more than $5m a year, to generate a $2.7 billion pool for couples earning up to $150,000, it’s clear how business will try to offset the impost. In hip-pocket terms it will have the same effect on the public as a tax increase. For business, it is a tax increase.

The policy side of it is bad enough but the atmospherics inside today’s Party Room - where it emerged that even Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey was unaware of the detail of yesterday’s announcement - were even worse.

Wilson Tuckey - surprise, surprise - was one of the first MPs off the leash. Then there was the more telling intervention from the level-headed Riverina MP Kay Hull who said the scheme could create two tiers of mothers - the more affluent employed mums and the stay-at-home mums who exercised their valid choice to concentrate full-time of child-rearing with no corresponding support from Canberra.

All Abbott could do was defend his decision as “the leader’s call”, saying: “Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than permission”.

It’s bordering on the kind of imperiousness which helped destroy Malcolm Turnbull, who acted more like a CEO than a political leader and alienated many of his one-time supporters in the process. While it’s hardly irretrievable for Abbott it has been a messy 24 hours and it should be recorded as his first major stuff-up in what’s been an otherwise strong start as leader.

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    • iansand says:

      03:59pm | 09/03/10

      The silly thing is that his whole Great Big New Tax nonsense is now completely blown out of the water.  He has neutered his best (albeit intellectually dishonest) argument against the ETS.  Really thoughtless politics, and he has revealed himself as a loose cannon.

    • PeeJay says:

      04:37pm | 09/03/10

      How about a loose canon?

    • Douglas says:

      09:07pm | 09/03/10

      I believe Abbott is unhinged. God help Australia if he gets anywhere near the Lodge.

    • persephone says:

      07:35am | 10/03/10

      And given that the big four banks will pay this levy, doesn’t that also put pressure on interest rates?

    • LemonandLime says:

      09:20am | 10/03/10

      Douglass your not the only one who feels that way, my cab driver asked me what I thought of Abbott . I said very cautiously oh um yeah. He told me he thought Abbott was evil. He said that man will bring Australia down. I must admit I agree with him about the bringing Aus down bit . He went on to tell me he spoken to many in his cab daily and Abbott is not well liked(.at least in my area.)
      If this is the conversation going on across Australia, I think Mr Abbott will find it harder than he thinks

    • Douglas says:

      11:18am | 10/03/10


      I can see only one ‘positive’ if Abbott by some awful chance becomes PM. (And it’s a positive outweighed by many, many negatives.)

      It’s that he would do such damage to the Liberal brand that they would be unelectable for a generation afterward.

      The negatives are all the damage he would do to Australia along the way…

    • susie says:

      01:50pm | 11/03/10

      LemonandLime - you have your own private cab driver? You’re lucky to find one that speaks English, let alone speaks to you. PS - all he wanted was a tip.

    • rohan says:

      09:13pm | 12/03/10

      @susie, what they all say fairdinkum, maccas etc?

      You are right, very hard to find english spoken in this country

    • Dave Gaukroger says:

      04:01pm | 09/03/10

      “Abbott’s first mistake”

      What do you call giving Barnaby Joyce the Finance portfolio?

    • Seano says:

      07:50pm | 09/03/10

      Or the way he’s offended:

      Women voters
      Gay voters
      Casual/partime workers
      People who don’t want to see their pollies in their budgie smugglers…

    • Seano says:

      07:54pm | 09/03/10

      PS. Did I mention the Shadow Cabinet?

    • Ryan says:

      12:38am | 10/03/10

      @Seano: another disgusting grub that likes to poke fun at what our surf lifesavers wear, let me guess, you think its funny what our firies wear also?

    • Seano says:

      07:14am | 10/03/10

      @Ryan: I didn’t realise Tony was also a surf lifesaver now, I should imagine super hero wont be too far away.

      The comment had nothing to do with surf life savers (well until your moronic attack) and everything to do with pollies desperately seeking photo opportunities.

    • Andrew says:

      08:48am | 10/03/10

      Not too clever. TA was photographed in his speedos as a member of the surf club taking part in the sunday morning training swim (note speedos are complusory).
      BTW he is also a volunteer member of the fire service.
      What community service do you do?

    • Ryan says:

      12:12pm | 10/03/10

      @Seano: if you do not know the context of which the photos of Tony in his speedo and the follow on filthy attacks by the media calling him the mad monk because of the SLSC cap and speedos that he wears when volunteering at the beach to SAVE LIVES.
      Before sucking up all the media BS and tarring yourself with the same filthy direct attacks on Surf Lifesaving they have been relentlessly perusing recently only because one of our members happens to be a politician, perhaps take a look at what you are attacking first.
      Furthermore you feel you have the hide to accuse me of a “moronic attack” when it is you that launched into an attack on the attire of Surf Lifesaving in a cheap attempt to attack Tony Abbott without a care for the people you are insulting, I would say the “moronic attack” is a label you should have used for your own original attack. Hang your head in shame!

    • Seano says:

      04:35pm | 10/03/10

      Oh please.

      I made no such attack on surf life saving. My grandfather was a surf life saver and I have always had a high respect for them and what they do.

      Your attacks are moronic simply because you put words and attitudes into my mouth that I neither said nor intended.

      I had a go at a pollie who is more interested in posing and posturing than policy. Abbott has taken every possible opportuntity for a photo op particularly one that positions him as an “action man”. What a hero. But then he wasn’t exactly saying to the press, “Hey this is what I do in my private life, how about you guys find some real news”.

      But don’t let what I actually said get in the way, rant on.

    • Ryan says:

      10:42pm | 10/03/10

      @Seano: Oh I am sorry, what part of “People who don’t want to see their pollies in their budgie smugglers… ” did I misconstrue? Those “budgie smuggler” photos you were alluding to, were they not the only images we have seen where the speedo is accompanied by the Surf Lifesaving cap? What words did I put into your mouth prey tell? What exactly was the intention of your statement then? It was an attack on the attire he was wearing was it not? Was the attire the same attire of the Surf Lifesavers?
      A big person would have apologised for offending the Surf Lifesavers and carried on with his dignity, then again a spine, some class and a bit of humility is rare these days.

    • Seano says:

      06:37pm | 11/03/10

      “Oh I am sorry, what ... did I misconstrue?”

      You’ve continued to DELIBERATELY misconstrue my having a go at a posturing pollie with an attack on surf life savers after I have repeatedly told you that no such attack was made nor intended.

      “Those “budgie smuggler” photos you were alluding to, were they not the only images we have seen where the speedo is accompanied by the Surf Lifesaving cap? “

      Completely untrue. There have been numerous images of Abbott in the press sans SL cap but with budgie smugglers in place. Oh look here’s one genius: all of about 2 seconds searching to find that one.

      “What exactly was the intention of your statement then? It was an attack on the attire he was wearing was it not?”

      To have a go at a posturing pollie. As I have repeatedly demonstrated.
      Do I also have to appologise to swimmers because you CHOOSE to be offended by my bugdie smugglers comment? Genuis, I had a go at Abbott for posing on a quad bike last week? Do I have also apologise to motorbike riders, cyclists and farmers now?

      “A big person would have apologised for offending the Surf Lifesavers and carried on with his dignity, then again a spine, some class and a bit of humility is rare these days. “

      It does take a big person to apologise, but only a fool would apologise when they are not wrong.

      As I’ve demonstrated absolutely that you are wrong, that the connection between my comment about Abbott and an attack on surf lifesaving is one you’ve CHOOSEN to create, I should be receiving an apology any time now.

      I wont hold my breath.

    • Ryan says:

      12:20pm | 12/03/10

      @Seano: You cannot have a go at what a person is wearing when just about every picture ever taken of Abbott in this attire was taken while he was representing Surf Lifesaving. So if he was wearing a firemans outfit while representing firies and you decided to make fun of what he was wearing that it was an attack on the pollie and not the attire that fireies wear.. Yeah right, pull the other one!
      IF your attack was nothing more than an infantile attack that was put down without thought of the offense you create against Surf Lifesavers then I understand, still, there is an apology required to the Surf Lifesavers for ridiculing their attire. In posting that apology you receive my apology for my assumption that your intended ridicule implies Surf Lifesaving.
      You would also be well advised that if you decide that this infantile attack is something you wish to do in the future, that you explain fully that you do not mean to cause offense to Surf Lifesaving and explain your reasons why “budgie smugglers” aren’t offensive on Surf Lifesavers but are on a politician that is participating in Surf Lifesaving, I know I still look forward to that explanation.

    • Seano says:

      06:13pm | 12/03/10

      Budgie smugglers are not the sole preserve of the surf life savers.

      I have disproven your connection between surf life saving and my comment about ABBOTT’s budgie smugglers; therefore offence is one you’ve created in your own mind.

      I gave you an opportunity to be a “big person” and hardly surprising considering the virulence and stupidity of your attacks you didn’t rise to the occasion. And as you sir a fool you wont be receiving an apology from me any time soon.

      Nor will you seem me commenting again on this thread. Rant on.

    • Ryan says:

      01:02pm | 13/03/10

      @Seano: I believe I was being a big person, I believe I illustrated the FACT that the attack on the attire of the pollie in question was being directed at a pollie who has been photographed in this attire while representing Surf Lifesaving. I also gave you the opportunity to be man enough to admit that your attack on the attire was misguided and / or should have come with an explanation on how “budgie smugglers” are offensive on a pollie taking part in surf lifesaving and yet not offensive on any other Surf Lifesaver. I was man enough to offer an apology for taking you the wrong way if you cared to explain that which I have pointed out. Kay Sera, I guess you care only about scoring nothing more than infantile and quite frankly, pathetic, snide remarks on the leader of the opposition without a care for who it offends. Perhaps you should grow up and stick to attacking the oppostion with substance rather than lowering yourself to the standards of Kerri-Anne Kennely.

    • Sherlock says:

      04:05pm | 09/03/10

      Like it or not it seems that we are heading down the path of taxpayer funded paid maternity leave. Accordingly Abbott’s scheme is as good as any I heard. There are some good things and some bad things.

      Why shouldn’t we pay a percentage of wages up to an upper limit. Why is a woman earning $150,000 a year less deserving of receiving 75% of her salary as maternity leave as the woman earning $50,000 a year?
      Remember here that we’re talking about a replacement of lost salary not a baby bonus. If we’re not going to pay a percentage of salary are we going to pay a woman earning $20,000 a year a payment of $40,000 to have a child? If so then why?

      To have a levy on businesses earning a certain amount is just plain dumb and Abbot deserves every bit of stick he’s getting. Just call it a tax and be done with it and if need be raise the company tax rate. The money has to come from somewhere and sooner or later the taxpayer is going to have to pay for it so stop deceiving yourself and make the decision.

      Abbott announcing a policy (even as non-official) this big without clearing it via the shadow cabinet is just dumb, dumb and even more dumb.

    • Rob r Charteris says:

      06:01pm | 09/03/10

      The simple fact is, why should taxpayers pay a mother nearly 4x the amount of a mother that chooses to be a stay at home over the same period. Why should the taxpayer fund a woman to like of $75,000.00 this is a redistribution of wealth to the rich from big business, and something Abbott has previously accused Kev 2010 of. Having a child should be a personal choice based on the knowledge you can afford to rear the child. Not a hand out to the rich.

    • Rob r Charteris says:

      06:03pm | 09/03/10

      The simple fact is, why should taxpayers pay a mother nearly 4x the amount of a mother that chooses to be a stay at home over the same period. Why should the taxpayer fund a woman to like of $75,000.00 this is a redistribution of wealth to the rich from big business, and something Abbott has previously accused Kev 2010 of. Having a child should be a personal choice based on the knowledge you can afford to rear the child. Not a hand out to the rich.

    • Andrew says:

      08:51am | 10/03/10

      do you honestly believe a person who earns $150K/yr is rich?

    • persephone says:

      09:46am | 10/03/10


      well, they’re not poor.

      It’s well above the average income, even for families.

    • John A Neve says:

      10:05am | 10/03/10


      Asks is “a person who earns $150K/yr rich?”

      In this town the average wage is $37,000, so many people would say Yes.

      On another of your posts Andrew you ask “What community sevice do you do?”

      Tell us what has that got to do with this or any other argument?

      I note you have still not responed to my question yesterday !! Too hard?

    • Andrew says:

      11:39am | 10/03/10

      John & Persephone,
      My point is that a person on $150k per year is not rich. Certainly they are better off than a person on $37k per year but what you need to understand is they pay significantly more tax than a person on $37k/yr and are in effect subsidising all of the welfare benefits of zero to low income earners.
      The $150k/yr person probably went to university and had a hecs debt when they finished then worked long hours to put themselves in a position of being a high income earner. They don’t clock in at 9 and out at 5.
      To be frank, the rich, in my view are people who have investable assets outside of their family home of $3m+. Those people, through the use of trusts and tax minimisation schemes pay little if any tax.
      I for one worked three jobs to pay my way through 5 years of undergraduate and post grad university. I then worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week for 7 years. After that I risked my own capital to start a business which I took no salary from for 2 years and built from a two man operation on day one to employ 60 people (and I paid well above award rates). Last year I sold the business and over the past 5 years have paid over $3m in tax. Now I have some time on my hands and can afford the finer things because I educated myself, risked capital and worked hard. I find it amazing that Labor afficianados don’t give credit to the people who earn the right to earn more money.
      If you don’t want to push yourself, fine don’t, but don’t complain about earning less or worse whinge about those who earn more to the extent that you claim an entitlement to their earnings above your own meagre contribution.
      The problem I have with your comments is that I believe it wouldn’t matter what the Liberal party came out with you would immediately attack it because of your political beliefs. Frankly that is as bad as Christian, Muslim etc fundamentalism.
      In relation to the community service matter I was merely making the point the you are castigating TA for wearing the uniform required by the community service organisation he is a member of.
      Re the question yesterday, please let me know what it was and if I have time I will respond.
      Finally, back to the rich $150K/yr income earner. I think the divisive populist constant criticism of these people is very dangerous. Ask yourself this, what would happen if those people suddenly said, I’m sick of being targeted, I’m sick of paying more than my fair share, I am not going to make the effort anymore, I’m not going to take risks with my assets to employee other people etc. Where do you think we’d be then? Some sort of utopian socialist paradise or up the proverbial creek without a paddle?
      We need to embrace these people, to encourage others to acheive as they have so we can generate more income to pay for the social schemes we all want but can’t afford.
      P.S. If the average wage in your town is $37K/yr I’ll let you in on a secret, but don’t tell anyone ok. They’re hiring truck drivers in Karrutha (men and women) 6 days on 4 days off at $120K/yr.

    • John A Neve says:

      01:05pm | 10/03/10


      Te fact that you had to work your way through uni, is which governments fault?

      The fact that we have an unfair taxation system is the fault of all governments.  Why Oh why don’t we have a Financial Debits Tax?

      The fact that most families need two incomes to keep up with current trends, is more the fault of right wing governments, then Labor.

      Try telling me this is not true Andrew.

    • persephone says:

      01:04pm | 10/03/10

      Er, Andrew, John A Neve is not pro Labor.

      And I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that if Labor came out with a scheme like this, you wouldn’t attack it just because it was Labor’s.

      I would remind you that we’re discussing Abbott’s proposal to put an extra burden on the very people you’re saying shouldn’t have extra burdens put upon them.

      As for your little ‘come the revolution, the middle class and the wealthy will rise up against their lower class oppressors’—- good luck with that one.

    • John A Neve says:

      01:10pm | 10/03/10


      I missed out on the last part of your post, sorry.  But sad to say, while the average wage in this town is $37,000, unlike years ago, most people just won’t move. This is not a political thing, it’s a society mindset. Based on what I have read about the 1930’s people tramped the country side for work. Not any more peole want the work to come to them, yet another reason why these handouts aren’t good for society.

    • persephone says:

      01:47pm | 10/03/10


      you really do seem to think that all people care about is money.

      It is quite possible to raise a family (especially in a country town) and live quite well on less than 40k a year.

      If the people in John’s town are happy with their lives and enjoy living where they’re living, why should they move to make more money?

    • Andrew says:

      01:58pm | 10/03/10

      You just don’t get it. Worse, you don’t want to get it.
      The “burden” as you put it is not being placed on “the rich” who earn high incomes but on businesses that generate income of more than $5m per year.
      And your defence of stating I would oppose all labor policy as a matter of principle so you should therefore oppose all libel policies on the same basis is ridiculous as is your come the revolution line.
      I guess what they say is true: Only a fool argues with an idiot.
      Nuff said.

    • Andrew says:

      02:07pm | 10/03/10

      I don’t hold any government at fault for having to work my way through uni. In fact I think it was incredibly good preparation for professional life. My point is that if you opt out of making the effort don’t then attack me for my success.
      Secondly, I agree that all governments are to blame for our current tax regime. I would love to see what the Henry tax review has to say.
      Finally, I have no issue paying taxes, it certainly assuages my social conscience, in fact I would pay more if i thought it wouldn’t be lost in an ever expanding public service.
      What I like about this policy is that it encourages people who should have children to have children and the money goes directly to the intended person not to create a massive bureaucracy unlike the intended ETS and Federal Health plan.

    • persephone says:

      09:51am | 11/03/10


      and how is this going to happen, without a bureaucracy involved?

      Will intending mothers just ring up BHP?

      And I point out again: both Abbott’s ‘Divert Attention from Climate Change’ and ‘Two Word Solution for Australia’s Health Problems’ create bureaucracies.

      And sorry, I’d like people to have children who are good parents, not just rich ones.

    • Andrew says:

      10:57am | 11/03/10

      We already have a department that handles social security benefits. I’m sure your familar with it.

    • persephone says:

      01:01pm | 11/03/10

      As are most parents, Andrew, but just go on slurring large sections of Australian society, that’s OK.

      You can’t impose more work on an existing workforce without that workforce getting larger. I’m sure when you expanded your company and employed more workers (and good on you for doing so) you did so because you could no longer do the extra work yourself.

      Strangely enough it’s the same for government departments.

    • Andrew says:

      01:46pm | 11/03/10

      I’m not suggesting the department won’t have to employ more people but c’mon you really think you’d have to employ a lot?? You don’t have to crerate a whole new department.
      By the way not slurring anybody, just thought you might be familiar with it because as you said yesterday your life experience has revolved around low income disadvanttaged areas. Sheesh, talk about a chip on your shoulder.

    • erbert says:

      04:06pm | 09/03/10

      It reminds me of Mark Latham. Remember how strongly he started by forcing John Howard’s hand in curbing Members’ superannuation, as well as forcing the Libs to put a clause in a trade agreement with the US that protected our PBS medicine scheme from US drug companies putting in spurious patent claims that prevented us from getting cheaper generic medicine. It didn’t take long for the Government’s allegations of Latham making ‘policy on the run’ for him to live up to that criticism, culminating on his disastrous Tasmanian forestry policy just before the election. As I recall that was announced on the hop without consultation with his colleagues. All the present Government needs to do is to adopt that same strategy.

    • Red Barron says:

      04:06pm | 09/03/10

      I dont think he has put a foot wrong. The paid maternity leave has to be funded and there are two ways to do that. Firstly Rudds way as he always does and that is to TAX everyone. And secondly Abbotts way and that is to LEVY businesses. For my money a levy is the best of two evils given that it has to be funded so Abbott is spot on once again ! Rudd just keeps taxing.

    • Forde Montgomery says:

      04:24pm | 09/03/10

      You may call it a levy all you like, but its just a tax that we will all end up paying for.  Here is a better idea, parents save up money before having a baby and fund any time off themselves.  If my business ever gets to +5mill I’d be upping my prices by 1.7% straight away.  Welcome to the real world.

    • Brad says:

      05:08pm | 09/03/10

      Agreed Forde,

      It’s just typical of society of today to expect something for nothing. All this will do is put doubt in the minds of large business thinking of entering the country.

      If you can’t afford a child than don’t have one. Who really believes that it’s CBA, NAB, IBM or Holden’s job to fund your maternity leave. Cause that’s basically what people are saying.

    • Crooked says:

      06:30pm | 09/03/10

      Also agreed, Forde and Brad, I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking this.

      I just want to know why we are so keen to butter up all women to pop out more kids. With the baby bonus and all that stuff. If you can’t afford the damn kid, don’t have it. I realise accidents happen, but there are options for that too, if you’re so desperately under-prepared that you need to rely on govt handouts and stuff.

    • John A Neve says:

      06:44pm | 09/03/10

      Red Barron,

      A levy on businesses is just a tax on the people by default, they just pass the costs on. How stupid can one man be?

      Bottom line Red barron is YOU will pay.

    • persephone says:

      08:13pm | 09/03/10

      “Levies’ of this nature should have some kind of rhyme or reason to them.

      They should either encourage/deter certain kinds of behaviour - so the Medicare surcharge encourages high income earners to take out private health insurance, and alcohol and tobacco taxes deter people from harmful behaviours - or they should be a ‘fee for service’ (so various industries are levied to provide funds for research).

      Arbitrarily taxing a certain section of society for something which is a benefit to society as a whole makes no sense at all.

      If you want employers to fund maternity leave, then all employers should be levied, not just some.

      Alternatively, you could use a carrot/stick approach, where employers who did not employ large numbers of women were levied to support those who do.

      Or, of course, you could just take it out of general revenue, meaning that all taxpayers shared the burden.

    • Ron L says:

      08:38pm | 09/03/10

      Levy, tax, call it what you like, but if business incurs additional expense, in the form of a “great big new tax”, then it will pass it on and why shouldn’t it?.....After all, business should not be expected to cover the cost of a community responsibility…..So in the end it will be paid for by us, no differently to Rudd’s, albeit less expensive, scheme…..

    • Ben says:

      09:26am | 10/03/10

      Does everyone here realise that most big businesses (NAB, CBA & BHP are examples) already have paid parental leave schemes in place?  Granted it is usually only for 12 weeks (though for BHP, 18 weeks).  Still, an imposition of a 1.7% levy is not going to affect these businesses too much, considering that under this scheme leave payments, superannuation and workers comp liabilities will be eliminated or reduced.

    • persephone says:

      09:53am | 11/03/10

      Ben - superannuation maybe, but the others?

      And figures out today show that there is very little difference between the amount paid by big business under this scheme and the ETS -and with the ETS, businesses can reduce their costs by adopting ‘greener’ practices.

    • Ned says:

      04:45pm | 09/03/10

      Some things are worth paying more for - be that by a levy, or a tax. If supporting women having children isn’t worth paying for… what is?

    • Ben G says:

      05:28pm | 09/03/10

      Why do you assume that it’s my job to pay for your doe-eyed little tax breaks?
      You’re having them, you plan for and pay for them.

    • Crooked says:

      06:42pm | 09/03/10

      What is?

      I dunno, something that’s not a personal choice? Health care?

      If a woman can’t support herself (by savings, non-work earnings, partner’s earnings) she should damn well make the CHOICE not to have that child at that time. End of story.

    • The Drover says:

      09:01pm | 09/03/10

      Ben G., because they will be paying for you in your doterage, or havent any of you intellectual giants worked that out yet. Demographics is destiny, if we dont have children we are dead as a nation, encourage it.

    • John A Neve says:

      06:25am | 10/03/10


      Can I reverse your question and ask, why do you feel society should pay to support anothers choice?

      For generations people have brought up their own children, what has suddenly changed?

    • formersnag, no laberal stooge. says:

      04:47pm | 09/03/10

      The question is will he handle it in the same arrogant manner as Malcolm Turnbull, refusing to back down, admit he may have been wrong, etc. Or will he apologise to his party room, conservative coalition supporters, etc. Mea culpa?

    • Norma says:

      05:08pm | 09/03/10

      He is reported to have done the apology bit. I await the policy reversal which must happen if he is to regain my trust.
      This could result in a win-win. It would show women he cares about them (contrary to opinions out there) because he tried, and would show he is a team player. Then the “I promise never to do that again”. Could work a treat.
      Then, I think he (make that the team) shoud support the Rudd scheme, and improve it. Promise to move it to businesses over a certain size paying for it, partially, then completely over a predetermined time frame, so the tax payer is eventually only left funding it for the very small businesses.

    • iansand says:

      07:53am | 10/03/10

      Or it highlights, unnecessarily, something about the Liberal Party that may be an electoral liability.

    • Brendan says:

      04:53pm | 09/03/10

      As I read his speech published elsewhere I was of the impression that the big “Policy” was a work in progress. It was a considered idea put out into the public realm in order to inform the public of his thinking and to allow resolution of the details. In this Abbott differentiated himself to the PM by not landing form another planet with a “complete” take it or leave it situation (health policy). The Levy he says would be best introduced in conjunction with a reduction in the underlying company tax rate.

      I think that like it or not in the next 10 years paid maternity leave will be introduced. The ACTU was pushing for 2 years unpaid on top of 6 months paid in the heady days of the new Rudd Government. I consider Abbotts speech as a generator for the wider debate the community should have. Once again in a week where Rudd should have been the leader to generate discussion and debate it seems Abbot has stolen his thunder.

    • persephone says:

      08:14pm | 09/03/10


      his original intention (expressed in his speech) seems to have been just to put it out there. However, events ran away with him (or his ego did) and it has now been approved as official policy by the party room - though by all accounts they were not happy about it.

      Certainly there was no doubt in Parliament today that the Opposition regard it as done and dusted, with several speeches in support of the proposal from people like Joe Hockey.

    • Jason says:

      04:58pm | 09/03/10

      Big mistake too. He has alienated his natural constituency on this one. He has allowed himself to be critised by all sides and no-one believes that he will go through with it. If he does manage to get business onside then Labour and the unions will unleash the a scare campaign that will dwarf Workchoices. “What has he promised business to get them to agree with this new tax?’ Workchoices Mark II.” He may have just gifted Labour the next election by trying to be too popular.

    • Let's Breed Quality Australian's says:

      05:04pm | 09/03/10

      Maternity leave is something that I’m afraid as tax payers we must get used to, most countries have it already and it will come in after this election no matter who wins.

      As for Tony’s scheme I’ve got to say that I like it compared to Rudd’s. Kevin’s answer is money for everyone, even the house of ferals that live down the street who have had 7 kids to get the baby bonus. But it won’t end at 7 they will see the dollar signs and sign themselves up for another new TV.

      Now if I compare that to the young couple that live in the duplex next door, who are paying off an investment property, in the process of buying a new house after their impending marriage and are out of the door at 6am every morning and not home until 6pm, I would have to say I know which ones I’m going to be encouraging to breed.

      The problem with the baby bonus was it got the wrong people to have kids. The government needed more people to pay taxes for the amount of baby boomers that were going to retire in the coming 20 years. And what happened is that all the families in low socio - economic area’s said, “great let’s jump on the gravy train and make a quid”. Now those kids are under performing like their parents.

      I am all for encouraging citizens who contribute to society to have children… Just as long as their not that pack of ferals down the road

    • The Dove says:

      05:39pm | 09/03/10

      WOW!!!  How did you slip through the net? Perhaps we should limit the ferals up the road further… ban them from health care,university places,public forums,voting,breathing etc…
      Bitter little pill aren’t ya.

    • Ben says:

      07:46pm | 09/03/10

      Congrats,an excelent summation of this issue. Welfare recipients breed welfare recipients, it’s not a pleasent pill for many to swallow, but a bitter fact, being politicaly correct wont make it go away.
      So, in a country with rapidly increasing aged healthcare costs, and with a large portion of the working population (Baby Boomers) retiring in the next 10 years, we have two choices, both of which will be funded, in different ways, by the avarage Australian.
      1) Support Kevin’s plan and encourage the next generation of welfare recipients, compounding the problems we are already facing.
      2)Support tony’s plan and encourage the next generation of heavy lifting taxpayers.

    • persephone says:

      08:18pm | 09/03/10

      If they’re out the door at 6 am and back at 6 pm, when are they going to have time for kids?

      They need more than six months of care, you know.

      Another sprog who gets whacked straight into childcare and only sees their over tired parents on weekends.

      And that kind of parent knows in their heart that they’re cheating their kids, and over compensates by fulfilling their every little material whim, resulting in one of those spoilt brats who think they’re God’s gift.

      At least the 7 down the road have people to talk to.

    • Let's Breed Quality Australian's says:

      08:43pm | 09/03/10


      Don’t worry mate, The 7 down the road will have people to talk to in jail too

    • Stephen says:

      08:54pm | 09/03/10

      Well said.  Welfare breeds welfare!  Go to any small town and you will find three generations of welfare recipients living under the same roof.

      Bart Cummings wouldn’t use a lazy old mule to breed a race horse, he uses the best stock he can find.  Unfortunately the Federal Government has encouraged the bottom feeders to breed while discouraging the people who have excelled in life. 

      Personnaly, my wife and I never received handouts and we managed our finances to ensure we could provide for our children. However, if somebody is going to receive a handout I would prefer to see it go to a hard worker, and not a bludger who will feed the money into pokies and drugs and let their snotty nosed offspring run wild.

    • Andrew says:

      09:02am | 10/03/10

      Persephone, go live next door to the welfare dependants and see if your attitude changes.
      Another chardonnay socialist.
      I hope didums politically correct mantra hasn’t been offended by reality.
      We are so lucky we have people like you to tell us how to think.

    • Liz says:

      09:16am | 10/03/10

      It’s fantastic that these people work hard and have an investment property.

      And they may make excellent parents.

      But I object to them receiving welfare. If they can afford an investment property they can affort to look after their own kids! If they can’t, then don’t have them.

      Tony Abbott’s great big new tax will end up hitting all of us. Do you really think that if you tax Westfield, for example, they won’t pass on the costs to the small businesses who have shops in their shopping centres and in turn those businesses won’t jack up their prices?

      It’s fantasy land to think anything else. Big business has to deliver profit for shareholders. If you whack a tax on them, they’ll pass it on to us.

    • Andrew says:

      09:49am | 10/03/10

      Obviously you haven’t understood this post. What the writer is saying is the hard working, forward thinking, financially responsible couple ought to be encouraged to have children not the welfare dependants down the road.
      As for passing on the levy have you not researched the plan. the company tax rate is to be LOWERED.
      I bet if Rudd had come out with this policy every labor lap dog on this site would be praising it and saying, “yeah its about time that evil big business paid for working families”. Now their just unhappy TA stole their thunder.
      I bet labors policy would have a $100k cut off and ensure the minimum payment would be say $500 to encourage losers to have more sprogs to clutter up our jails in another 18 years.
      Labor - beaten to the punch again.

    • persephone says:

      09:55am | 10/03/10


      I grew up in a town which had one of the highest welfare dependency rates in the country.

      I now live in a town which has one of the highest (second, I think) number of public housing dwellings in the whole of Australia.

      I work in a town (different to where I live) which has one of the highest rates of single families and one of the lowest family income levels in Australia.

      Don’t drink chardonnay, although they make a nice drop in these parts.

      Another Earl Grey tea sipping conservative who has never ventured out of the confines of the ‘right’ suburbs.

      And I’d guess a Sydneysider, since you don’t think you could make ends meet on a measly $150k.

    • Ben says:

      10:07am | 10/03/10

      Oh no, Westfield lessees are going to pass on the additional 1.7% cost of rents to their small business lessees!  Think about it in dollar terms please.  If the average rent for a small business renting these premises is $50,000 per annum, that equals an increase of only $850 per year.  Now in the great majority of cases, that shop would be retail, usually clothing.  How many items do you think they would sell each year?  Spread that $850 cost over all those items, and what kind of increase are you really looking at to buy that new shirt?

    • Andrew says:

      11:56am | 10/03/10

      Persephone, Given your background you should be well aware of the welfare merry go round that Labor constantly tries to promote.
      As for Earl Grey, sorry never had a cup of tea in my life.
      Have left the comfortable confines of Sydney’s North Shore a few times in my life, including a 5 year stint in rural Australia. Don’t live in Sydney now but wouldn’t want to try to get by on $150K in that state which has been run into the ground by State Labor.
      Look, I don’t think Labor or Rudd or Swan or Gillard etc are evil but I really have an issue with people who refuse to see anyone else’s point of view.
      Finally, you keeping rabbiting on about Abbott flip flopping. I really hope all politicains have the ability to change their mind if they realise they have been wrong in the past. I think it shows character and intelligence. You won’t see Rudd do it with his ETS or any of his other failed policies. He will just make another announcement on the run and sweep his failures under the carpet unless he gets caught out like with the insulation scheme.

    • Let's Breed Quality Australian's says:

      01:55pm | 10/03/10

      Thank goodness some people have a commonsense. Andrew & Ben in particular.

      Liz this is going to happen so for god’s sake get it right, the couple next door would never ask for a handout yet the ferals line up every Thursday.

      If we’re going to give it away let’s give it to the people who have actually put in for society.

      As for you persephone I’m afraid you are a perfect example of my point. You grew up in a tough area and now you live in a tough area, if there were less kids to the unfortunate we would NOT have to pay for their housing commissions!

      As for the Earl Grey I would rather my Chivas Regal in my Royal Doulton tumbler thankyou.

    • persephone says:

      04:25pm | 10/03/10

      Tough neighbourhood?

      No one here locks house doors or car doors. There is no theft.

      Everyone looks out for each other. I can get someone to look after my kids within 5 minutes if I need to.

      It’s one of the best communities I’ve lived in (and I’ve lived in some very posh areas) and my city friends (from the posher suburbs in Melbourne) are pea green with envy.

      Poor does not necessarily mean dishonest, or violent, or anything other than poor.

    • Andrew says:

      06:00pm | 10/03/10

      Pers, WOW! No theft, no crime, “posh” people” pea green with envy. Utopia! What is the name of this commune? And the fact it has only just become this way since Rudd was elected in 2007 is amazing. It must have been absolute hell though under 11 years of Liberal government, right??
      But seriously if you live in rural Australia it is not uncommon, particular in small towns, for people to leave there doors unlocked etc. I lived in such a town. Crime was minimal. Educational was terrible, youth unemployment and drug use was high. You could find a babysitter easily because hardly any woman had a job. Welfare dependance was not only rampant it was celebrated. The baby bonus was embrace as a windfall to stick in the pokies or buy grog.
      Pregnant mothers smoked and drank and one in every 2 children went on to finish year 12 and 1 in every 20 of them went to university.
      Rural Australia has its own problems.
      Maybe those are the issues the words tough neighbourhood are directed at.
      Oh and by the way, if you think criminal activity is not contected to welfare dependancy or low income go and check out our jails one day.

    • Let's Breed Quality Australian's says:

      08:23pm | 10/03/10

      persephone -

      Are you writing from heaven??? If so please say hello to Sir Robert for me.

      As for this Utopia you speak of, I can tell you where all the criminals are. In a suburb that actually has something worth stealing.

    • persephone says:

      10:05am | 11/03/10

      I did say the incomes aren’t high, but I don’t hear much bitching about it.

      And you’re right, Andrew, small rural town. Brilliant. Still knows what it means to be a community.

      Wrong about education. The local school is so small that it can cater for my kids’ individual needs - they arranged the whole of the Year 11 & 12 timetable around the need to provide more challenging subjects for my eldest; my youngest works in the same class as his peers, but on more advanced work than they’re doing.

      I could move them both to another, bigger school with a better overall academic record, but so far there’s no need to.

      And where they are, they’re learning - unlike Andrew - that just because a kid comes from a disadvantaged home and struggles with school, doesn’t mean that they’re worthless as a human being.

      Rates pretty well on MySchool too, considering the number of disadvantaged kids in the community.

      Life’s cheap here - the MEDIAN house price is something like $150k, which means mortgages are on average less than $250 a week. Needless to say, the rate of home ownership is very high, so people feel secure and - whilst their incomes aren’t high - have a reasonable level of disposable income.

      And the scenery’s spectacular, the water tastes great, there’s a huge range of sporting and other activiities and the people are friendly and welcoming.

      We have a lot of people who come here on holidays and stay forever, and lots who - like me - came here for a short period to live and are still here.

      I’ve got a very limited income (casual work, and it’s the down season)  but I don’t owe any money to anyone, own my own house and land, grow my own fruit and vegies and have all the social life I want.

      Don’t know why anybody’s silly enough to live in the city, let alone a suburb.

    • Andrew says:

      10:56am | 11/03/10

      Look Pers, I think that’s great, seriously, but that is an exception that proves the rule. Low income Australia does not generally live like you do. Kudos to you. No debt, great scenery etc but no party created that for you and the kids in Blacktown, Campbelltown, Mt Druitt etc will continue to stay on the welfare roundabout.
      I don’t mind you insulting me, it demonstrates desperation and an inability to correctly make your point.
      You keep saying I think this person or group of people are worthless. I celebrate people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make a positive contribution to this society, whether that contribution is financial, social or as in most cases both.
      I know you want to pigeonhole me. Maybe it’ll help you sleep better at night.

    • persephone says:

      01:04pm | 11/03/10

      Well, letting them be born is a great start. Not judging them by their parents is even better.

    • Andrew says:

      01:46pm | 11/03/10

      1. No one is stopping anyone having kids,
      2. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree ... which is basically what i’ve been saying for 2 days now.

    • The Dove says:

      05:24pm | 09/03/10

      So Abbott wants to levy business at 1.7%. How is he going to sell this one? Answer: Tell business that he will abolish overtime and penalty rates waterdown unfair dismissal laws etc…
      Abbott forgets he has a track record on this issue as well as many others. Remember Abbotts comments about paid maternity leave a couple of years ago “over this governments dead body”. ETS=backflip….Climate Change is “crap’ ,workchoices,RU486,Bernie Banton is “not pure of heart” even his own catholic religion has not escaped the “death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances” and homosexuality intimidates him. Firstly if homosexuals intimidate him he is weak as p#ss, secondly I have never seen a politician backflip as much as this bloke.Perhaps an appropriate image for Abbott is not the budgie smugglers but a trapeze artists leotard.

    • Andrew says:

      09:13am | 10/03/10

      He already said he was going to lower the company tax rate (something all federal governments have been considering doing now for some years).
      You’ve clearly got an overactive imagination and a mindset that won’t allow a non labor thought to penetrate.
      You seemed very concerned to put TA down but seriously why don’t we consider the non-performance of the Rudd government.
      You can try and distract from the labor non-performance with pathetic monickers like “the mad monk” and “will reintroduce workchoices” etc but at the end of the day one thing is very clear, Labor is scared of Abbott and they are desperately trying to undermine him. One other thing is very clear, he is gathering massive amounts of public support and the next election will be close.
      You know you have a government on the run when they spend all of their time attacking the opposition rather than trying to govern.

    • persephone says:

      10:00am | 10/03/10

      Evidence for your statement, please, Andrew?

      Have tried to find a reference to Abbott lowering company tax rates and can’t.

      Is this Liberal party policy or just an Abbott thought bubble?

      From yesterday:

      TONY ABBOTT: Certainly over time, once we have repaid Labor’s debt, once we have been able to give people personal tax cuts then I would like to hope that we could start reducing other taxes. That would mean that this increase, thanks to the levy, is a temporary increase.

      Certainly sounds like he’s admitting to this being a tax rise…and that lowering personal taxes will happen before he lowers company taxes.

    • Antenna says:

      05:29pm | 09/03/10

      Tony Abbott 2002.” Paid maternity leave, over my dead body”
      Smells like “No GST in my time” once again
      Was tony lying in 2002 or is he lting now?

    • Peter says:

      07:40am | 10/03/10

      Yeah, right up there with Krudd’s “I’m a fiscal conservative”.

    • momentum says:

      05:54pm | 09/03/10

      Tony Abbott has it ALL going for him!
      The momentum is with Him!
      The voting public are so very tired of ultra sloppy jobs from the ALP!
      Now some sound off about Tony taking orders from others well who do the ALP take their orders from?
      washed up recycled trade unionists and lefty leaning women who want to rule the world!
      obviously Tony has the ALP rattled!
      see at last with Tony, Australia has a fit toned leader so very fit to lead the government!
      Rudds government definetly needs sound leadership at the moment!
      So sock it to em Tony keep throwing those punches for all the voters who find you such a refeshing change from the control agents of the ALP
      Choice for the ALP is always their narrow minded view self serving view of choice so now Australians near years end you too will have a choice too ie vote Abbott In!  Vote Abbott in! vote Abbott in! Confound the ALP, confound the ALP!

    • Crooked says:

      06:53pm | 09/03/10

      Fit, toned leader? It’s not an athletic competition, momentum. And I think “self serving” is a pretty tough criticism to throw at the ALP when the specific reason Abbot has done his classic backflip manouver on this issue is because his daughters are now getting to be old enough to take advantage of paid mat leave.

    • Douglas says:

      09:19pm | 09/03/10


      Haven’t you got some WorkChoices you should be getting back to?

      Better get to it; you can be sacked without reason or warning if Abbott gets in.

    • Ebony says:

      10:24am | 10/03/10

      Fit and Toned is not a term I feel we need to use with the leader of our country. I honestly thought Joe Hoking who is neither fit or toned would make a better leader. But hes disappointed me with the obvious fervor he’s launched into this debacle on maternity leave. By his own words, he knew of this policy before Abbott released it so that tell me hes not a good finance minister either

    • mike ferguson says:

      05:54pm | 09/03/10

      Can’t afford babies?  Use contraception.  Its simple really.  Did I miss something?

    • Ben says:

      08:12pm | 09/03/10

      Those babies will be paying taxes to fund public transport (when your too old to drive), hospitals, aged care facilities, and pension aged welfare throughout your retirement. Its simple really.  Did I miss something?

    • Alex says:

      09:18pm | 09/03/10

      Ben or they may be on welfare and we may have to continue to pay for them for the rest of their lives

    • Andrew Goff says:

      10:28pm | 09/03/10

      Hey Ben…

      What you have just described is also known as a Ponzi scheme. How about we take responsibility now for putting aside enough money to support ourselves in our retirement rather than placing the burden on our children?

      You are missing something: the idea that sponging off your children in old age is wrong.

    • BULMKT says:

      06:07pm | 09/03/10

      I knew Rudd was a Progressive, but I didn’t think (until now) that Abbott is one too. This is a bad policy.
      Abbott proposes a 1.7% levy (TAX) on any company with a taxable income over $5m. If this is introduced it’s only a matter of time before ALL companies pay this levy. You know this and I know this. I also can’t work out why Abbott has made himself a target of increasing taxes. The opposition has had the Government on the ropes over the ETS, the possibility of more taxes to “pay for health” and what may be lurking in the Henry Tax Review. Now you’re painted with the same “let increase taxes brush”.

      This is the type of socialist policy you’d expect to come from Europe, not the conservative force in Australian politics. This is a bad policy.
      So if a woman should have more than one baby, does that mean they get 6mths off for each one?
      Unless Mr. Abbott is going to lower the company tax rate, then this is a terrible policy. Is he going to get rid of FBT? You had better have something for business (Here’s an idea, if a business wants to pay for their employee’s private health insurance, make it FBT exempt!)

      Big business will pass the cost onto the consumer, which means small business so either way, we’re all going to pay. You also say that this Levy (Tax) will be removed once the budget is in surplus – sure, like a Government ever relinquishes a tax! Whether it is a Labor or Conservative Government – once the Levy (TAX) is in play it will never go away!

      Governments of both political bent have got to stop taxing the bejesus out of the wealth generators of this country – the businesses. Are you purposely going out of your way to alienate business?
      Add to the fact we are living with higher interest rates and the Risk of an ETS, why go after the wealth generators of this country?

      Corporate Tax Rates for Singapore 17%
      •  Zero tax for new Singapore companies on the first 100K annual profits for the first 3 years
      •  All companies to enjoy approx. 9% corporate tax rate for profits up to 300K
      •  Overall company tax rate is a flat 18% which will be further reduced to 17% from 2010

      Corporate Tax Rates for Hong Kong – 16.5%

      Does Abbott want to see more of Australia’s business leave Australia and set up shop in HK or Singers??
      This might a vote winner for the “working families” but this policy stinks on ice for Australian Businesses.

    • Nicki says:

      06:19pm | 09/03/10

      He lost us, no matter what he says now we don’t believe him anymore.
      Time to bring back Malcolm, otherwise Liberals and Tony are road kill at the next election.
      It is not too late, come on Liberals there must be someone with little sanes left.

    • Elbowgrease says:

      07:02pm | 09/03/10

      in all this tAlk about paid leave for mums, we hear no talk on how many people the world can sustain.

    • Dave A says:

      07:14pm | 09/03/10

      The tax payer should not have to sponsor anyones breeding programs , end of story .

    • Spana says:

      07:22pm | 09/03/10

      What the ALP is upset about is that Abbott has shown them up. He has proposed a far more generous maternity leave policy than the ALP and he is getting business to pay for it. It actually sounds like it could have been an ALP policy. He changed his mind. So what! Do all the critics honestly believe thet have never changed their minds? If you have not then you are probably stupid. I used to be a member of the ALP until I realised what a bunch of careerists who lack any principles they were. I changed my mind. It is a sign of maturity. I have never voted conservative but Abbott is far better than the Rudd bunch of managerial careerists.

    • Aitch says:

      07:25pm | 09/03/10

      The honeymoon is over. About time ...

    • Dallas Beaufort says:

      07:40pm | 09/03/10

      The Australian Liberal Party leader, Tony Abbott, has come to realise the importance of societies principle productive drivers, have on the economy and society in general. Its a pity the lemming like who wanted to be driven over the cliff encompassing the ETS, don’t see, the most important benefits to the human families ability to drive productive choice.

    • Amy Brunner says:

      07:42pm | 09/03/10

      I   t h i n k   t h a t   t h e   b e s t   t h i n g   t h a t   T o n y   A b b o t t   c a n     d o   i s     ”  f   a   l   l     o   n     h   i   s     s   w   o   r   d ”      o n   t h i s   o n e. 

      E v e r y o n e   i s   a l l o w e d   O N E   m i s t a k e.

      You are from the “RIGHT” side of politics in more ways than one, Tony.

      Hold the line ~ Stay the course Tony.

      Be brave ~  No gay marriage, No ETS, No IVF for same-same couples. No more social engineering. Homosexuality is not an alternate life-style. When these people can produce children naturally, then I will accept that it is within the natural order of things.

      No I am not a homophobic, I have a male and a female friend who both prefer to have sex with their own sex, but they refer to themselves as “Nature’s little hiccup”. Neither of them aspires to change the world, get married or for that matter have children.

    • Chase Stevens says:

      09:16pm | 09/03/10

      Well said Amy.

      While your at it Tony remove the right for women and people who don’t earn enough to vote. Enough with this social engineering, time to return to the natural order of things. Women aren’t smart enough to vote.

    • Paul says:

      07:50pm | 09/03/10

      makes me wish we’d held off on kids a bit longer - here was me thinking the Libs couldn’t pay out anymore than they were with the $5K bonus.  But on to more important things - saw pavement in adelaide on sunday and they were awesome.

    • Marsha Miller says:

      08:21pm | 09/03/10

      I think Abbott may lose more votes than he bargained for . I was talking to 2 investors today. They both invested in large Australian companies. Both said they had supported The Liberal Party all their adult voting lives but he had turned his back on them and they would not be voting Liberal again. The older lady was a scream she went on to tell me “Abbott was the Antichrist she said he sold them down the river to buy votes” I can’t say I blame them for being annoyed they sunk their retirement money into these companies and now they will be paid less dividends because of this tax., I definatly think its way over the top, isn’t it time parents looked after their own children finacially and stopped expecting us to supliment them?

    • Bretto says:

      09:05pm | 09/03/10

      I guess with his track record we will need to find out if this promise is a “Core” promise or “Non-core” promise!

      Hands up anybody who knows a business that will say “Yes we will pay this tax but not increase our prices/fees to prop up our margins!” ...anybody, anybody….thought not.

      The fact that he came up with this policy on the run on women’s day means that he still does not really think of their welfare.  If he did he would have spent some time on this before proposing to the public asa nice tight package.  But no he got sucked into the I want some attention on Women’s day maelstrom.

      Tony, Tony, Tony….to think that you are better than the Kevster when you play the “stick to the message” game.  When Kev ad libs it smells of dung, when you ad lib it inevitably become a dung bomb.  I really don’t like you and what you stand for (too dry) but that is the truth - you can be much more engaging.

    • Radical Chick says:

      10:56pm | 09/03/10

      I think this policy is great and I hope the liberals will start to look after families who actually vote for them rather than big business who will always say they can go abroad with their businesses…I saw it all in another country when a similar Parental scheme was introduced there. They kicked and screamed but nobody left the country…
      Go for it Abbott…I believe you can win. And it shows that liberals can keep arms length with big business… it is time for the PM to talk taxes too and what he’ll do in response to the Henry Report.

    • Ryan says:

      12:39am | 10/03/10

      In my opinion this is a bad idea, furthermore this policy is not going to have the desired effect, without a doubt this will further widen the gap between what men and women are paid and make finding work very difficult for a woman of child bearing age.

    • Paul says:

      04:07am | 10/03/10

      I thought the Coalition’s priority was wealth creation, not wealth re-distribution?

    • Peter says:

      07:45am | 10/03/10

      Keeping skilled women in the workforce, while allowing them the fiscal freedom to have kids, is a good step toward wealth creation.

    • S.L says:

      05:31am | 10/03/10

      The argument over Labor MPs all being washed up Trade Unionists wears a bit thin after a while.
      Name say half a dozen Liberal MPs who aren’t solicitors?
      One of our best Prime Ministers since WW2 (Chifley) was a train driver! What they do before their public service is irrelivent.
      Rudd has kicked a few own goals lately but there are now a few chinks in Abbotts armor developing so the next election will be very interesting!

    • ~Bug Catcher~ says:

      07:12am | 10/03/10

      Tony, I am a bit disappointed in this policy, not well thought out at all!!

      It is very discriminatory. Women who work hard in the workforce and can’t have a child, Gay women and non-working mothers will feel it.

      *Firstly, if you want a kid,  have a plan and pay for it yourself. You get the baby bonus. Use it wisely.
      *Secondly, if I was in business, I would only employ menopausal women, gay women and blokes.
      *Thirdly, bring on the single female who can have a paid six month holiday, baby bonus and whatever else is on offer and then run back to Centrelink.

    • Andrew says:

      09:42am | 10/03/10

      If you think the first 6 months of a childs life is a holiday then you’ve never had a kid

    • Ben says:

      10:40am | 10/03/10

      Firstly, as of January 1, 2011, anyone receiving paid parental leave will not be eligible for the baby bonus.  This means that you cannot get both the bonus and parental payments.

      Secondly, it is called “parental” leave.  That is, it applies to men and women.  You had better be careful not to employ men that want to stay at home.  You had also better hope that those menopausal women do not want to adopt, as they too are eligible.

      Thirdly, a single female taking a holiday in the first six months of having a new baby?  Of everything you just said, that is the dumbest.  Let’s hope that you never become eligible for any kind of parental leave.  That would be a complete travesty for the gene pool.

      And who is really going to run to Centrelink if their pre-baby income was even $50,000 per annum, let alone $150,000?

    • Dave Sag says:

      08:08am | 10/03/10

      The tone of some of the comments above is, even to me, a jaded old executive, quite shocking.  My company, Carbon Planet, has always paid 3 month parental leave for the primary care-giver, and 2 weeks for that person’s partner.  Over and above this we give the rest of the year off as unpaid leave should that person wish it and we guarantee them their job when they return.

      Why?  Well part of the basic ethos of our firm is that the world must be a better place because of our actions.  The first few months of a child’s development are critical and it’s been shown that children who experience close bonding with their parents in these first few months go on to live better lives.

      All this bitching about the cost to the taxpayer disgusts me.  What is the long term cost to the tax payer of children ripped from womb and into day-care without so much as a good morning from their parents?  What is the long term cost to our society of a generation of children whose parents are so stressed from the tension between their need for an income and their need to care for their child?

      Having a humane childcare policy means our staff are more loyal.  You can measure that on a spreadsheet if you like, or you can just feel it when you walk into the office.  We have created a workplace that is fair, that is fun and that gets things done.  I am proud of that.  I lobbied personally for 12 months paid leave as they have in many European countries but we settled on three months as a compromise.  If a government were brave enough to introduce paid parental leave extending to six months we’d wholeheartedly support that move.  The costs to business are trivial compared to the long term societal costs of making parenthood harder for staff.

      Clearly the policy is working too as we have a constant stream of babies issuing forth from our staff.  And that’s a good thing right?

    • FlashLite says:

      09:29am | 10/03/10

      And no wonder A stream of babies is issuing forth. With the baby bonus and access so easily available to IVF, That stream has turned into a flood. Mothers getting double and triple the baby bonus ( having twins and triplets) that we as taxpayers pay for

    • Andrew says:

      09:59am | 10/03/10

      Well said.
      Unfortunately most of the people who post here are blind followers of political parties and won’t entertain a good idea from a pary they hate.
      Well done to you and your company.

    • Ben says:

      10:43am | 10/03/10

      At last, some common sense.  Most big businesses already have these schemes in place, as it helps retain quality staff members.  All this policy is doing is shifting the responsibility of making the leave payments from the company across to the government.

      It also promotes fairness across the economy, as those employed within small business can now also access some paid parental leave, in line with those employed with larger companies.

    • persephone says:

      10:45am | 10/03/10

      Says Andrew, whose every post sounds like it comes from a blind follower of the Liberal party….

      How mistaken one can be.

    • H of SA says:

      10:49am | 10/03/10

      Nice one Dave, I’m guessing you don’t have too much trouble retaining staff and getting some good work out of them… you sound like the kind of boss I would want to give over and above for.

    • Andrew says:

      12:00pm | 10/03/10

      Persephone, really positive comment. Its people like you who get people like me interested in joining the political debate. So much so I just requested a membership pack from the Liberal party. Here’s the link in case you ever wake up to yourself:

    • persephone says:

      01:12pm | 10/03/10


      You’re remarkable. You make a negative comment, I counter it with another negative, and I’m the negative person here.

      Join the Libs, you’ll feel very much at home.

    • H of SA says:

      08:55am | 10/03/10

      Abbot’s first mistake?

      Penbo did you miss the reappointment of a front bench Australia had clearly stated it wanted rid of at the last election?

      Or Joyce as finance minister?

    • Henry T says:

      09:15am | 10/03/10

      How about you BIG new tax on Big business? How about all the Australian investors who will get less dividends for their investment. Self funded retirees, mum and dad investors who you will rip money from to buy votes? Do you seriously think these people who paid to raise their own children should now pay to raise the rest of Australia’s kids? I am sure many big companies will go off shore, to operate in Australia puts them at a disadvantage, jobs will be lost. Its not a well thought out plan at all and I wondering who does understand finance on the Liberal side of the fence?

    • Andrew says:

      10:03am | 10/03/10

      I would be willing to bet not a single firm will move overseas as a result of this levy, particularly given it will be offset by a lowering of the corporate tax rate, or didn’t you know that.

    • persephone says:

      10:44am | 10/03/10


      you keep saying this, but there is no evidence for it.

      Abbott has admitted that he is raising corporate taxes by imposing this tax and that he will lower personal tax rates before he will lower company tax rates.

      Mind you, that was yesterday morning….

    • Nick says:

      10:54am | 10/03/10

      ‘Paid to raise their own kids….’ Who are you kidding!! We have had a welfare state in this country since the war. Every generation has received huge payments from governments to bring up children - family allowances, family benefits, school dental services, child medical services, taxation discounts, youth allowances, student grants, free milk, baby bonuses, free education services, day care services….. etc etc. That’s what a civilised country does for its citizens. The reality of today is that most families need two incomes to survive - not so a generation ago - whatever class you come from. We need to encourage women to work and to have babies. Abbott’s plan is certainly worth consideration, it’s the best scheme of its sort I have seen so far.

    • John A Neve says:

      11:36am | 10/03/10


      Says “Every generation has received huge payments from governments
      to bring up children”. Perhaps Nick you could start by defining “huge”?

      Ar you really suggesting that because people cannot live within their means governments should keep increasing the handouts?

      Why do we need to “encourage women to work and have babies”, don’t they have minds of their own?

      Based on your post Nick, I see you as a product of the social security system.

    • John A Neve says:

      12:26pm | 10/03/10


      Says “Every generation has received huge payments from governments to bring up children”.  You could start Nick by telling us how you define “huge”?

      Maybe then you could tell us why those who cannot live within their means should be supported by society?

      It would appear from your post Nick, that in fact you are a product of the social security system.

    • Daniel says:

      11:20am | 10/03/10

      That cartoon is very disturbing.

    • Ex-young liberal says:

      11:37am | 10/03/10

      I am an agnostic, centre right voting gay woman.  Who the hell do I vote for now?  Tones you have managed to offend me in more ways than I can count.

    • Andrew says:

      12:35pm | 10/03/10

      Vote for a party platform not a person.

    • John A Neve says:

      12:46pm | 10/03/10


      But “party platforms” keep changing.

      You have not answered my questions Andrew !! Are you just hot air?

    • Andrew says:

      06:22pm | 10/03/10

      I can’t find the question, unless the question is “are you just hot air?” in which case I would reply, No.

    • luke09 says:

      12:03pm | 10/03/10

      What really concerns me about Tony Abbott’s paid maternity scheme is that the greens think it is a good idea. I think both the government and opposition should be aiming for a compromise.

      Some say Labor’s plan is not enough and the coalition have gone too far. If all sides of parliament are genuine about this reform they should have no problem reaching an agreement somewhere in the middle.

    • fehowarth says:

      02:30pm | 10/03/10

      Abbott knows that he has no chance of ever getting this scheme up, whether he is in governent or not.  If elected, he has little or no chance of getting control of the senate.  Mr. Howard was good at promoting schemes that disappeard into thin air after being elected.  Mr. Abbott only aim is to make trouble, not caring who get hurt in the meantime.

    • Richard Ure says:

      03:09pm | 10/03/10

      Many grandparents say you have children so you can have grandchildren. Has Tony declared his interest in this latest shoot from the lip policy announcement?

    • Jason says:

      06:00pm | 10/03/10

      I think Abbott’s first mistake is having Howard’s approval - he got thrown out at the last election after all.

    • KD says:

      12:36am | 11/03/10

      I would like to congratulate ou in coming out of your coma yesterday, but there’s some things we need to bring you up to speed on… know how you said this was Abbott’s first mistake, you were sort of right…first for that particular day would be closer to the truth…....


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