posted Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 at 11:20 pm
With the issue of universal maternity leave in Australia at risk of the May 12 budget chopping block, or the recession loophole, it was great to see journalist Peter van Onselen reminding the public, of their public, their humanitarian responsibility to support the paid maternity leave scheme, and to pressure keep the government to keep their promise.
Kevin Rudd promised to “bite the bullet” and introduce paid maternity because the “time has come”.
Let’s hope the time does not come, and go – because if it doesn’t happen now with all the priming of information from the productivity commission report – then I have great reservations that it ever will. It is not even a generous scheme being asked for compared to those provided in Scandinavian countries. But a promise is a promise, and this move to support parents and their children in those early days says a lot about the values of country and its leaders. Its a humanitarian investment.
If the Government is serious about lifting the national productivity rate, it needs to institute paid parental leave and widen the scope of tax deductibility for child care to include nannies. Doing so will give women (and men) more options when it comes to how best care for our children.
So do we invest in creating a healthy and robust society, or do we remain in the dark ages for yet another generation? Get Up has a great parental leave fact sheet, and campaign pushing to ‘keep the bastards honest’ on this issue.