February 6th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

FAMILY VALUES: Human rights and education

COVER STORY: Global-warming sceptic Lord Monckton visits Australia

EDITORIAL: Is Rudd Government planning a new tax grab?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Can the Abbott-Joyce duo defeat Kevin Rudd?

ENERGY: A climate policy that is good for Australia

FAMILY LAW: Will Rudd Govt roll back shared parenting?

VICTORIA: Lesbian couple are named parents on birth certificate

NEW SOUTH WALES: NSW Govt rejects adoption by same-sex couples

UNITED STATES: Gaping holes remain in passenger airline security

NATIONAL SECURITY: Global terrorist threat escalates

CHINA: Corrupt big business and the Communist Party

POLITICAL PROFILE: Not-so-secret agenda of Obama's 'science czar'

FAMILY VALUES: Human rights and education

UNITED NATIONS: UN skirmishes over meaning of gender

Tony Abbott defended (letter)

Condoms for Haiti? (letter)

Charles and Babette Francis (letter)

News Weekly name change? (letter)

CINEMA: Cameron's latest blockbuster Avatar (rated M)

BOOK REVIEW: LOSING MY RELIGION: Unbelief in Australia, by Tom Frame

BOOK REVIEW: THE WOLF: How One German Raider Terrorised Australia and the Southern Oceans in the First World War, by Richard Guilliatt and Peter Hohnen

Books promotion page

Tony Abbott defended (letter)

by Andrea Hoy

News Weekly, February 6, 2010

Colin Jory's attack on Tony Abbott's support for paid maternity leave as an "about-turn" ("You and the war against women", News Weekly, December 26, 2009) suggests a failure to appreciate his position as leader of a democratic party, and also that Jory has not absorbed the explanation for his stance, as outlined in Abbott's book Battlelines.

Abbott explains that in the national interest he will make a priority of raising the birth-rate, especially among women in the paid workforce, who without some form of financial support might delay childbirth indefinitely or restrict themselves to one child.

He tells us that the generous universal baby bonus was the Coalition's alternative to making stay-at-home mums second-class citizens, but that women's groups demanded the term "paid maternity leave", so the Rudd Government made policy on the run with its taxpayer-funded scheme.

Abbott rejects the scheme as too brief at 18 weeks, when six months is the very least required for breast-feeding and bonding. He also argues that it is only because it is taxpayer-funded that it discriminates against mothers not in the paid workforce. After all, 53 per cent of employers already offer some form of paid maternity leave. Abbott suggests that it should be funded by employers - perhaps through a small payroll levy, to avoid job discrimination against women of child-bearing age.

Battlelines also advocates less churn in tax and benefits, noting that a single-income family on 150 per cent average earnings is 20 per cent worse off than in 1960, while welfare and tax thresholds create poverty traps for those on the rungs below them.

Abbott defends the concept of universal family benefits - a subject of his maiden speech in 1994 - which readers would recognise as the Homemaker's Allowance, and he attacks the Rudd Government's "double standards" in means-testing "middle class welfare" benefits like the health insurance rebate, while increasing the childcare rebate.

Battlelines outlines many suggestions on how to improve family policy, and Tony Abbott's beliefs should be judged on this, rather than a press grab from a media conference.

Andrea Hoy,
Pakenham, Vic.

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November 14, 2015, 11:18 am