April 29, 2014


MACKLIN: Good morning Nicole.

NICOLE CHVASTEK : Your reaction to this story, that the Financial Review is running that Liberal Senators are leading the charge to block the Paid Parental Leave legislation?

MACKLIN: Well, Tony Abbott certainly seems to be the only person left who supports his gold-plated paid parental leave scheme. But that said he does seem determined to pursue it and to continue to put forward a scheme that would see very wealthy women get paid $75,000 to have six months off to have a baby.

It’s just extraordinary that we’re seeing these twisted priorities on the same day that we have reports that the Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment and Family Payments may all be cut in the budget.

NICOLE CHVASTEK: You call them twisted priorities but it isn’t the case that women have since time immemorial carried the burden of child rearing and bringing children into the world. They are the ones who have traditionally given up their careers, given up their incomes, in order to be a mother. Isn’t it time after all of these years for someone to stand up for mothers and say you need to be compensated, this is a hard task and often a thankless task? You sacrifice so much and I’m going to ensure that you’re going to be compensated at least in some measure for that sacrifice, what’s wrong with that?

MACKLIN: Absolutely nothing Nicole, that’s why I was very pleased to be the Minister that delivered Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave Scheme that made sure that around 95% of mothers in Australia are now eligible for paid parental leave - never done before the Labor Government made this very big change.

But we introduced a scheme that was fair and affordable. What Tony Abbott wants to do is introduce a paid parental leave scheme that is totally unfair. You could be earning $500,000 a year and get $75,000 to have a baby.

NICOLE CHVASTEK: No it’s capped at $150,000.

MACKLIN: No that is not correct, I heard you say that before.

The amount they get is capped but the income at which they receive it is not capped.

So you can receive that $75,000 at any income, it is just grotesque.

NICOLE CHVASTEK: So you can be on a million dollars and be receiving welfare from the Federal Government?

MACKLIN: That’s exactly right, that is what Tony Abbott is proposing. And he is proposing it at the same time that he is now reportedly going to cut family payments, cut the Disability Support Pension, the Carer Pension and so the list goes on and the latest one which is a complete broken promise is that he’s going to introduce a new tax that a great number of people are going to have to pay.

NICOLE CHVASTEK: Jenny Macklin, the Liberal Senator Sue Boyce indicated that anything that encourages women back into the workforce, has got to be a good thing. It’s economically responsible to get as many women participating in the workforce as possible and this paid parental leave will contribute to that, she’s right isn’t she? 

MACKLIN: Well, she’s certainly right to say that it's a good thing to support women as they try to manage their parental and work responsibilities but the Productivity Commission in their Report to the Labor Government on paid parental leave made the point that high income women already are well attached to the labour force.

They don’t need this massive extra subsidy to stay at work, that’s why the Productivity Commission recommended the sort of scheme that we introduced - a highly targeted scheme that goes to low and middle income families, because they’re the ones that need the support the most.

NICOLE CHVASTEK: Jenny Macklin thank you for your time.