Parental leave scheme treats mothers like criminals
The Rudd Government’s paid parental leave scheme appallingly places prisoners on a higher pedestal than stay at home mums - mums who slog their guts out all day trying to look after their kids who need 24-7 attention.
While paid parental leave is a good thing the Government’s scheme has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
On page 20 of the explanatory memorandum of the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010, it says that prisoners who perform work in prison would be eligible for the Government’s paid parental leave scheme.
This is disgraceful in itself because when someone is sent to prison they give up their rights because they have broken the law while law-abiding stay at home mums get nothing. The Government sees no problem in stripping away prisoners’ rights to vote, but is happy to hand them out cash payments while stay at home mums don’t get a dime.
The Government’s scheme enshrines into law a policy which ignores the value of the work performed by mothers who stay at home and look after their children. It makes a judgment call on what is real work, and what isn’t.
I don’t think any parent that has ever spent a day at home looking after a one year old would claim that it was a relaxing day off. The Government’s scheme treats unpaid childcare work as the lowest form of work. In fact, it doesn’t even classify it as work at all.
Most incredibly, even prisoners and prostitutes are valued more highly than stay-at-home parents under the Labor Party’s policy. That’s right, under the proposed scheme, a criminal who does paid work in prison or a women who works as a prostitute can each meet the work test requirement to qualify for government payments, but an exhausted mother looking after three small children at home cannot.
What kind of values is this sending to the community?
I’m not suggesting for a moment that woman shouldn’t want to have careers. I also understand that there are many women who would like to spend more time at home looking after their children but their financial situation makes this next to impossible.
Similarly, I am in no way advocating cutting the amount of money that we give to families. Rather, quite the opposite, I believe we should be increasing the assistance that we give to families with children, because having children is expensive and families need help. However, this help should be across the board, not just to those families with mothers in the workforce. I believe all mums should get paid parental leave, not just a select few.
A recent Galaxy Poll showed that 68% of people thought there should be equal funding to all mothers, irrespective of whether they engage in paid work in the workforce or do unpaid work as a stay-at-home mother. These figures are compelling and prove that the Rudd Government’s scheme as it currently stands is out of touch with the views of the general population.
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