Labor and Liberals on childcare (letter)by Alan BarronNews Weekly
, May 15, 2010
Tony Abbott presents himself as a political conservative dedicated to a Christian values system. Yet when it comes to formulating policy, he appears to set aside these beliefs.
Once he stated that paid paternity leave would be brought in "over his dead body"; now he is enthusiastic about promoting his six-months paid parental leave funded by a levy on big business.
Before Mr Abbott acts in haste to better Labor's paid parental leave policy, he should reconsider his latest thought bubble on the subject. Currently, a woman who forgoes a full-time income in order to stay at home and care for her own children, is seriously penalised by the government for so doing.
A stay-at-home mum receives, on average, a total of $8,112, which comprises the $5,000 birth allowance and the Family Tax Benefit part B of $3,112.
On the other hand, a woman who goes back to paid employment after her paid parental leave entitlement runs out and who outsources her child-minding, receives not only the benefit of a full-time income, but also $13,383 annually, based on $7,342 paid parental leave plus childcare subsidies and rebates from the government to the value of $6,041.
In the first year of the birth of the child, a waged mother would receive 65 per cent more than a stay-at-home mother. In the following years, a waged mother would receive 94 per cent more than an unwaged mother. In other words, single-breadwinner families subsidise the child-minding arrangements of better-off families enjoying two full-time incomes.
Both the Labor and Liberal schemes are discriminatory, unfair and unjust. They are designed to entice women back into the paid workforce and financially penalise women who choose to stay at home and give their child their full-time care and devotion, which research shows, is the best possible care for a child.
A much better and fairer system would be to scrap the present arrangements and replace them with a voucher system, which would offer women a real and genuine choice as to how they want to organise child-rearing.Alan Barron,