In my job, you get to meet a lot of babies.
As the Federal Minister for Families, last Friday I was with kids at the Shepherd Centre in Sydney talking about early intervention for kids with hearing problems, and the week before I was in Melbourne’s west speaking to mums returning to work after accessing Paid Parental Leave.
On Monday this week, I met the three Thornton kids from Grovedale, near Geelong. Bryce and Lainnie and their three kids are among the nine out of ten Australian families who will receive assistance under the Government’s plan to put a price on carbon pollution.
Meeting those babies and little kids is high on my list of great things about my job. They remind me why I do what I do. Every parent I’ve ever met is trying to do the right thing by their kids. We’re trying to do the right thing by our country.
Doing the right thing for your kids isn’t always easy. If sleepless nights weren’t enough, those babies grow up to start heated discussions about trips to the dentist or homework. And while there are many points in raising a family where it would be easier to give in, you try to do the right thing — in the hope that when they’re older, with a good education and strong teeth, they might just agree with you.
Taking action on climate change by putting a price on carbon isn’t easy — but we wouldn’t be doing the right thing by our kids if we gave in to all of the slurs and scare campaigns. We’re acting on climate change because we think it’s the right thing to do by our kids.
It’s effective because it will force the big polluters to pay a price for the pollution they put into our atmosphere — which until now they have done for free. This puts a dollar value on innovation, making it worthwhile to work out how to do what we do with less impact on the environment.
It’s fair because the polluters are paying for their pollution — and not Australian families.
I know that while acting on climate change isn’t easy, scraping through until pay day also isn’t easy for many families. The thought of an even bigger electricity bill is a daunting one — but after years of rising electricity prices, Australian families will get a helping hand to pay the bill.