Can you post the article? I don't have a subscription.
I don't have a subscription either but somehow can access it, weird!
Here is goes:
Tony Abbott’s own side may put paid to parental leave
DESPITE his best efforts to keep it alive, Tony Abbott’s beloved paid parental leave scheme in its present incarnation is doomed. Right now five Coalition senators have resolved to vote against it as they understand its elements, their understanding not helped by frustration at what they say is an ongoing failure to consult.
They are Barry O’Sullivan and Ian Macdonald from Queensland, Dean Smith from Western Australia, Cory Bernardi from South Australia, and John Williams from NSW. Abbott will not thank them for it, but he should. It would be a rescue mission by the fearless five that would save the Prime Minister from himself.
Abbott faces difficult choices. He can change the scheme to accommodate the concerns of his backbenchers, then hope those changes will satisfy the Greens or if, not them, the crossbenchers.
Initially it seemed he might be able to negotiate a compromise with the Greens but their spokesman, Adam Bandt, says they have not heard a peep out of the government since the budget, raising suspicions about whether the scheme will proceed, so they will not respond until there is a proposal on the table.
Also, before the Greens even think about it, they want a guarantee the government has locked in the support of its backbenchers.
“They are the government, they should be able to provide the numbers on their own side,” Bandt told me.
Even if the Greens were amenable to negotiation without that assurance, it would be impossible for Abbott to bypass his backbenchers in the hope of finding the numbers elsewhere.
The optics and the politics would be diabolical.
The scheme is due to begin next July, with plans for the legislation to be introduced in February or March. As outlined by the office of Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, it provides for payment of up to 26 weeks for the primary carer at a rate based on their wage, capped at $50,000 (down from the original $75,000) or the national minimum wage (whichever is greater) plus superannuation.
It will be partly paid for by a 1.5 per cent levy on companies with taxable incomes of more than $5 million and savings from the replacement of the existing scheme.
Abbott’s backbenchers — like his publicly silent frontbenchers — have philosophical and practical objections. The money would be better spent elsewhere, on reducing the deficit or on childcare, or they baulk at increasing tax on companies — which one describes as a “wealth tax”. They resent the exclusion of “non-working women”, particularly in rural and regional Australia who keep the family farms going on no pay, and think it is fundamentally unfair that women giving birth receive different benefits.
They all say now is not the time. Not with a war to fund, other benefits being cut, the economy sputtering and the deficit growing.
Abbott’s argument that it is a workplace entitlement, not welfare, holds little sway. Backbenchers are not convinced it will improve productivity or convince more women to participate, and in any case reckon improved childcare will achieve more on that front.
The Prime Minister has tried to play down internal dissent, claiming last week that MPs had kept their misgivings to themselves before the election. He was either forgetful or fibbing. They were outraged from the beginning and nothing that has happened since has mollified them.
Senior frontbenchers, acting on the instructions of backbenchers, or because of their own concerns, tried to talk him into dropping or changing the scheme after the 2010 election.
It would have been the perfect time to do it. Abbott refused to budge.
NSW Liberal backbencher Alex Hawke received huge coverage from an article for the Institute of Public Affairs in May last year, where he condemned PPL as an “unjustifiable impost on business” that did not pass the “fair go test”. That sounded like a fairly public misgiving. And it was before the election.
The Nationals are particularly exercised over the exclusion of “non-working” women in rural and regional Australia. Queenslanders have one word to describe the feeling about the PPL inside and outside the party: toxic.
One Queensland backbencher argues it is because the scheme has not been explained or sold properly, another that people understand precisely what it is and still hate it.
According to Andrews’s office, about one-quarter of the 160,000 women who will receive the benefit annually will be from rural and regional Australia. Discussions are being held with farmer groups and the Country Women’s Association to sort it out. Details are still being finalised.
The response of one sceptical, yet-to-be consulted rebellious senator — “We are waiting to see the whites of their eyes” — has a dual meaning: he is waiting to see what finally emerges, as well as readying for battle.
There are other underlying reasons for backbench unrest centring on PPL, apart from its imposition by the leader with little or no consultation.
They complain they are being neglected or taken for granted, a feeling exacerbated by the government’s devotion to wooing the crossbenchers, particularly the Palmer United Party senators.
Resentment grows, and it is not the only issue causing angst across government ranks.
Failure to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act rankles and is raised often at branch meetings.
Abbott can forget about PPL altogether, delay it until finances improve — which will draw accusations of another election promise broken — put it up as it is and risk being humiliated by his colleagues, or negotiate changes with them that keep cost increases to a minimum. Or he can shirt-front them.
Speaking of which, that was a dumb way to threaten the odious Vladimir Putin, even though he deserves it, and all because Abbott wanted to show he was more hairy chested than Bill Shorten, whom he described last week as a great patriot while needlessly putting down his own Treasurer.
It was un-prime ministerial and turned a serious, sensitive matter into a joke. He had to make a strategic withdrawal. Another beckons.
Oh and because they are worth their weight in gold, here are the comments below the article
This is good news. All paid parental leave is tosh. It treats stay at home Mums unfairly and makes the rest liabilities rather than assets.
To assist with the repayment of Labor/Greens debit, Abbot should ditch the PPL Scheme and also bring the Public Service Scheme into line with the payments received by normal Australians
The whole scheme is a waste of time and money Australia doesn't have. We have all had our own struggles raising a family, with little to no government support.That's just how it is. Hockey runs around talking about the era of entitlement, and his own government is embarking on yet another welfare scheme this country can ill afford. It just don't make sense.
I can't help but notice the strong response to this controversial subject, and it surely deserves to be debated in the public arena.When someone decides to start a family they don't consult the boss to make sure it meets with their approval..at least I hope not. Being paid to have a family can only be fair when it applies to all females..at home mothers work harder than anyone, and for the love of it.It may be wiser to scrap the payment for everyone..this is a pretty darn good perk for public servants. Let it go Tony and revise what is being dished out already..it reeks of undeserved pampering.
Isn't it just ridiculously hypocritical when a system to allow professional women (in the non-government sector) to have a (one) child and remain salaried for a period of time (from their own paid taxes, paid at higher or even the highest marginal rate) is considered by the Left to be unfair, yet all state and federal public servants have enjoyed a much improved version of this very same system for years? Yet again the Left show a cavalier attitude to anyone who actually already pays their own way in this country, and continues in its crusade for a perfect welfare state for all welfare-parasites at the true working-persons' expense. If the PPL is scrapped, so too should the state and federal governments' own Public Service PPL schemes be forfeit.
Hasn't the public service scheme been negotiated with and agreed to by employers? That is the flexibility that the coalition argues for in workplace entitlements in action. You can't argue for flexibility and then seek to abolish negotiated benefits just because they are favourable to employees.
The country cannot afford an unfair and expensive paid parental leave scheme that favours those in high-paid jobs. Single people and couples without dependent children are sick of paying high taxes to fund generous handouts to well heeled families on high incomes. Let them pay for their lifestyle choices and if they choose to have children they can save up some money and stock-pile some annual leave.
We brought up our kids without any of this unaffordable largesse - it's a nonsense. However, the nonsense also requires to be removed from all the Public Service employees that get it in order for equity to prevail
Take the situation of a male worker earning $80000 pa with a spouse who because of the location of his job (rural) coupled with a mild disability has been unable to obtain employment.He pays the same tax as another worker on the same salary who has a working wife on 58000pa. . This family receives TWO tax free thresholds plus highly subsidized child care . NOW you want them to receive parental leave with the ludicrous assertion that it is a workplace entitlement. Why isn't the wife of the first worker entitled to the dole?
The benefits to high two income families are already completely unjust. Parental leave should be paid only where the woman is effectively the sole wage earner in the family or where the total family income is low. . Modern women want all the benefits with someone else picking up the tab .They don't work for nothing. They get a wage They should use this to support their choice. The family with a non working mother, often disabled herself or caring for a disabled child or parent should not have to subsidise you.
The chickens are soon coming home to roost . Jobs are going to be very scarce. Then some are going to see that with one income coming in the family is now a financial unit for taxation purposes .
There's obviously such a huge misunderstanding of the proposal based on the comments.
Also re non working rural women comment- under current scheme they wouldn't be eligible anyway
There are some valid concerns there, which I think is why this needs to be discussed more, for better understanding. With November being nine months out from the 'due' date (mind the pun) of the new scheme, I can only assume there should be some better information then.
Abbott's favoured paid parental leave scheme stalls
October 22, 2014
Tony Abbott's signature paid parental leave policy has effectively
ground to a halt with Treasury officials revealing limited progress is
being made in determining how state public service schemes will
dovetail with the proposed Commonwealth one, or how much it will
Discussions between Canberra and the states had commenced before
Christmas, according to the officials, and continued at a Council of
Australian Governments meeting earlier this year, but they have
apparently ceased with no discussions since the May budget.
The admission suggests the policy, an Abbott favourite that is loathed
by virtually every minister in cabinet according to senior insiders,
is in serious trouble and could be trimmed for a second time since the
election to make it less objectionable to big business and less costly
to a cash-strapped budget.
Under close questioning from Labor's Penny Wong on Wednesday, Treasury
officials Leesa Croke and Nigel Ray appeared to reveal negotiations
with states to introduce the program were not advancing.
The $5.5 billion PPL scheme, funded in part by a 1.5 per cent company
tax levy on big business, has been promised by the coalition at the
past two elections, yet it may be no closer to implementation than it
was when Mr Abbott became Prime Minister in 2013.
Ms Croke said the Commonwealth stopped having detailed discussions
with state and territory treasuries around May.
"I think it was before Christmas but I would have to confirm that. I
think we had our first telephone conference before Christmas," she
told the committee.
"And you think it concluded some time after the budget?" Senator Wong asked.
"So ... it was certainly around May. I would have to take it on notice
an exact time," she said.
The Abbott scheme is supposed to begin within nine months, on July 1, 2015.
Under a change grudgingly accepted by the Prime Minister earlier this
year, it would provide full salary replacement for a parent for up to
six months capped at a maximum annual income of $100,000. It had been
set at $150,000 a year, thus providing up to $75,000 to the wealthiest
working women, and opening up the coalition to the charge that it was
tailored to suit millionaires while giving poor parents much less.
"Maybe the cost of the PPL scheme is an 'on-water' matter?" Senator
Wong wrote in sarcastic tone on Twitter after attempting to get
details on the PPL scheme's progress.
"Four years after Abbott announced PPL, after a year in government, a
budget and a Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the government is
still hiding the cost of this signature policy."
In August, senior ministers maintained the scheme was still on track
for a July 2015 start but admitted that the priority for the remainder
of 2014 was passing as much of the budget as possible.
That followed comments in June from Treasurer Joe Hockey,who had said
work to establish the scheme was on track with legislation expected
He described as "absurd" suggestions the policy had been stalled due
to internal unrest.
But Fairfax Media has been told the scheme has only one serious
advocate internally and that is the Prime Minister.
A state government official confirmed no approaches had been made from
Canberra and it remained unclear what the introduction of the
Commonwealth scheme would mean for the generous conditions most state
governments already have in place for their direct employees.
These conditions in some cases equal the PPL's proposed 26-week salary
replacement component and its continuation of superannuation
To get the new scheme running, state governments would have to roll
their schemes into the Commonwealth and pay Canberra whatever their
saving was, or keep both schemes going in tandem. At this stage,
however, it seems nobody knows which.
Last edited by ExcuseMyFrench; 23-10-2014 at 12:05.
Another one... Looks like Palmer has vetoed the new proposed PPL.
Palmer vetoes paid parental leave
27 OCT, 5:57 PM
Clive Palmer has given the thumbs-down to the federal government's paid parental leave scheme.
"All of our senators in the Palmer United Party have decided to vote against paid parental leave, so there will be no paid parental leave," Mr Palmer told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
Enabling women to get into the workforce is important for families and the economy, but the government's focus should be on improving child care, he said.
"We strongly support the government using the money it had available for paid parental leave to go to child care," Mr Palmer said.
The government was to spend $22 billion on the scheme funded by a levy on big companies.
But Mr Palmer declined to say whether the levy should go ahead to fund child care.
"We need to bring taxes down in Australia because they are too high," he said.
The PUP leader said a means-test should apply to ensure wealthy people did not receive child care subsidies, with the threshold set at $1 million.
They just don't get it do they. The benefits it not only has on the family unit but the economy.
It also creates jobs- if an employer knows a worker will be away 6 months it's worth hiring someone for that time on a temp basis. That provides that person skills and an income for that time ( this paying tax to match)
I suppose the same argument is made regarding child are... If it's cheaper it's easier for mothers to get back to work...so better for the economy longer term...
I must admit I do agree with this to a degree... PPL really only benefits six months... More subsidised child care benefits the 4 odd years before a child goes to school...
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