As One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s told the Australian today, the Coalition’s proposed paid parental leave scheme changes are too generous, and could result in part time working mothers “doing it for the money”.
Indeed, it seems pregnant women have been seriously cashing in for a number of years since the Gillard Government introduced the Paid Parental Leave Scheme. And many such women have been ‘double-dipping’, as Joe Hockey once referred to it, by receiving a second payment from their employers.
In case you’re not aware of the seriously lucrative opportunity that comes with having a baby, then take a look at the figures: those who pass the work test can access the minimum wage for 18 weeks. That’s $672.70 a week, for a total of $12,108.60. If the Turnbull Governemnt succeeeds in extending the scheme by its proposed two weeks (all the while also cutting all or part of it to those who’re receiving something from their employers) then that”s a massive $1200 more than new mums could received.
And as anyone who’s had a baby knows, parenting 24 hours a day is much easier than working a standard work day.
Let’s just hope that minimum wage covers the rent or mortgage, along with those added necessities babies seem to need – like nappies and food and clothes and car seats and a pram and a place to sleep.
Let’s also hope that those news parents can access some affordable and flexible childcare services so they can immediately return to work.
Thankfully, Hanson has caught on and looks set to oppose “some parts” of the Coalition’s omnibus bill that aims to further fund childcare and paid parental leave measures by cutting other welfare entitlements. According to the Australian newspaper today, Hanson believes the paid parental leave changes could be open to exploitation, especially by part time working women.
“They [women] get themselves pregnant and [the government will] have the same problems they did with the baby bonus, with people just doing it for the money,” she told The Australian.
“This is not commonsense policy. I’ve gone through a bloody tough life myself as a single mother and held down a part-time job. I had no assistance, no help from anyone. But we have such a welfare handout mentality.
“Unless we make the tough decisions, we will not be able to provide for those in the future who need a helping hand, like the aged, the sick and the needy.”
While One Nation has not yet given an official position on the omnibus bill, Hanson’s comments would suggest the Government will struggle to get the support it needs to make it happen.