In the space of a few short years, they’ve gone from promising wealthy women $75,000 to promising cuts of more than $11,000 to women on below average incomes.
It’s enough to give you whiplash.
As with all great sagas, it’s easier to start at the beginning.
In 2011, I introduced Australia’s first national paid parental leave scheme. For the first time, working women in Australia would get financial support from the government to take some time off work to care for their newborn baby.
Jenny Macklin MP.
Labor’s paid parental leave scheme provides women with 18 weeks of paid leave at the minimum wage – that’s about $11,800 in total.
It isn’t extravagant, but it isn’t meant to be. It targets assistance to parents on low and middle incomes, many of whom previously weren’t getting any paid parental leave from their employers.
It’s also designed so that paid parental leave can be topped up by employers who want to add to the government’s modest scheme. This means new mums can combine their leave entitlements and spend more time at home in those critical early months of a child’s life.
After previously saying a Coalition government would support paid parental leave over his “dead body”, Tony Abbott made one of his famous captain’s calls and promised a scheme that was completely over the top, offering $75,000 to very wealthy women.
Watch Labor Senator, Penny Wong, talk to our Holly Wainwright about having children and going back to work. (Post continues after video.)