OPINION: A Coalition MP thinks childcare is "outsourced parenting". But it saved my life.

Only weeks after the Government swore they had turned a corner on their reprehensible treatment of women, exposed by the brave story of Brittany Higgins, the conversations in the Coalition party room this week feel like a scene plucked out of the show Mad Men.

On Tuesday, members of the Coalition debated whether subsidies should be granted for women wishing to re-enter the workforce after giving birth.

Specifically, the discussion revolved around a $1.7 billion childcare package recently announced, that would enable women to better afford childcare.

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Considering we are only just out of a pandemic-driven recession, one would think higher participation in the Australian workforce by including women and keeping childcare workers employed would be a positive way to stimulate our economy.

Not to mention, it could also provide women with that mysterious thing we always seem to be asking for - choice.

Yet, against all voices of reason, what was debated was not the economic effects of this stimulus package, but how it goes against the personal beliefs of these MPs.

Specifically, one male MP stated that working women were “outsourcing parenting”.

By using these words, riddled in stigma and archaic values, it was as if women seeking to re-enter the workforce and attain financial independence were neglecting their children, while their male counterparts were exempt from this judgement entirely.

A female Liberal MP, Hollie Hughes, responded to this by saying, “Thank you, boys, for telling us how to best raise our children.”

“Not all of us want to sit at home with our three-month-old watching Bluey”.


She said what we have been saying all along - we aren’t just baby-making machines.

And while I stand with this sentiment wholeheartedly, I couldn’t help but notice that the entirely valid outrage attributed to this comment is glossing over one very important fact - childcare is not just a privilege, it is also a means for emancipation.

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As a child of a mother who, throughout my whole childhood, “outsourced parenting”, I know that she did so because she loved to work, but also because we were escaping a violent home life.

Her work was an income, a passion and a way to establish financial independence so we could leave a situation that harmed us all.

Reflecting back on all those late evenings and early mornings at before and after school care, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. 

After all, if it weren’t for the “outsourced parenting” that the male counterparts of the Coalition indulge in vilifying, my little sister, mother and I may still be in the same situation that puts our lives at risk every day. 

Or we may not be here at all.

In a time where domestic violence has reached epidemic proportions, with one woman being killed every week because of it, “outsourcing parenting” should be applauded, celebrated and embraced by our Government, not stigmatised.

The Coalition will need to go beyond a mere introduction of a “women’s budget” to say they are truly a Government who cares about women.

Pnina is a Journalism and Political Science student at UTS and has a history of working for political figures in Local and Federal Government. (Views are her own).

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home. 

You can also call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit for further information.

Feature Image: Supplied.