“Cash for mothers in PM’s $4b Nats bribe to bind Coalition”
MUM’S THE WORD. Urgh. That’s the headline screamed across The Daily Telegraph today.
It relates to a $600 million deal that the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reportedly struck with the Nationals which includes an extra $1,000 a year for 140,000 families with stay-at-home mums.
What is the issue here? The idea that this is a cash grab for ‘mums’. That ‘mothers’ will pocket the proceedings from this generous windfall.
In the main, parents – not mothers – share the cost, responsibility and privilege of raising their children. A growing number of fathers take a “stay-at-home” role in Australia but even Dads who work outside the home deserve, at the very least, to have their parenting acknowledged. To blithely dismiss the contribution fathers make to raising children is outdated at best, offensive at worst.
But, regardless of how two parents split their paid and unpaid work, I have a hot tip. Any money that a family saves on account of, or receives from, the government piggy bank will find its way into the household coffers. It will go towards paying the mortgage or rent, buying groceries, paying bills and covering the myriad of costs no household can avoid.
It is highly, highly, unlikely that the money will be stashed into a delicious fund a mum can uses to indulge her every luxe whim.
This package is less “cash for mums” as it is “cash for families”. You might consider that an innocuous point of difference or consider me a pedant for pointing it out. I’d ask you to reconsider.
Cast your mind back to the public discussion about paid parental leave that took place earlier this year. Do you remember if it was ‘parents’ who were accused of double-dipping? Was it ‘parents’ who were blamed for partaking in this outrageous – yet perfectly legal – rort? Was it ‘parents’ framed as audacious and selfish for seeking to combine financial security with raising children?