By FIONA SUGDEN
“If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
Remember that old phrase? It is an annoying statement, filled with pessimism, usually administered by a responsible person at the most inopportune moment.
And when it comes to the Abbott Government “signature” paid parental leave scheme it is the statement the women of Australia are now left to contemplate.
We are left asking ourselves was it all just a big con?
It was revealed on Sunday the scheme has been quietly shelved in the legislative calendar until next year.
As a mum I strongly support paid parental leave but this new scheme has always been over the top and beyond deliverable.
The policy had already been downgraded from its initial announcement which meant it would pay up to $50,000, instead of $75,000, over six months for women having a baby.
So will it ever happen or was it just a clever ploy to woo the women of Australia prior to an election?
Here is what we know.
We know the independent Productivity Commission into Early Learning recommended last month the money for this scheme would be better spent on our childcare system because the policy “would have few incremental labour supply benefits.”
We know the powerful National Commission of Audit recommended in March severely downgrading the scheme and capping it at the average weekly wage, because it was “too expensive” and the “money would better spent on our childcare system”.
We know influential organisations such as the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have called for it to be scrapped or pared right back.
We know the outgoing CEO of National Australia Bank Cameron Clyne said last week the measure wouldn’t increase workplace productivity of women and the biggest barrier to women re-entering the workforce was childcare.
We know many members of the Prime Minister’s own coalition hate the policy. Yes hate is a strong word. But they really do.
Like Nationals Senator Ron Boswell who said the PPL proposal was “unfair to rural Australians.” Or Liberal MP Alex Hawke who said, “levying the top 3300 Australian companies will have a number of consequences” like “higher prices for customers.” Or Barnaby Joyce who said “if those prices filter through, there’s no doubt there will be ramifications” for the consumer.