August 10th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The future of the Australian Democrats

Latham steals limelight from lacklustre ALP

New Zealand Labour forced into new coalition

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Rob the Builder / Mayhem in Lilliput / Fear of wages

ECONOMY: New agenda needed to address social breakdown

WA Liberals' new policy positions

Could India help in Afghanistan? (letter)

Clerical scandals: another view (letter)

Families now a luxury (letter)

COMMENT: Stalin's heirs live on ... in Australia

BIOETHICS: American stem cell expert to visit

UNITED STATES: Why Bush ended funding for UN population control agency

LAW: International Criminal Court decision to dog government

BOOKS: Our Posthuman Future, by Francis Fukuyama

BOOKS: The Price of Motherhood, by Ann Crittenden

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Shirley Nolan: a case for euthanasia?

Books promotion page

Families now a luxury (letter)

by Greg Byrne

News Weekly, August 10, 2002

Whatever one might think about the specific proposition of a baby bonus the underlying problem is that mothers need to work as against want to work. Surveys show that while mothers don't want to work, they need to work.

I know two young mothers who have just had babies or having another and although neither want to work they need to work and that is a very general situation today.

The other thing is the change in perceptions of this problem. Ten years ago if you said to someone that things are tough for young families without two incomes they may well have said: "Well these young people want it all now". This was true in some cases but in no way did it alter the fact that without two pay packets the family would be in dire straits.

In a recent conversation a person said to me that the "Australian economy is going really well now. Many people have good motor cars. That is a good sign".

I replied, "Well marriage is a middle class luxury". To which he replied that I was talking rubbish. So I asked how a labourer would fare paying off a mortgage. He said, "Well he'd have to have his wife working. On one wage they'd be in dire straits".

Then he said, "Look, married women have to work, that is how it is. There is nothing you can do about it".

That is how easily politicians get away with pork-barrelling policies. The public should be up in arms at this situation where politicians buy votes with taxpayers' money and don't care if that leads to babies going into creches so the family can keep a roof over its head.

Greg Byrne,
Rowville, Vic

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