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Issue #1705      October 7, 2015

Turnbull’s women’s agenda under question

Recent praise for Malcolm Turnbull’s efforts to address issues faced by women – such as domestic violence and lack of representation in parliament – will be tarred unless he stops the Minister for Social Services attack on Paid Parental Leave (PPL) and acts to curb gender inequality.

Unions warmly welcome assistance for women experiencing domestic violence and the PM’s promotion of women in parliament but question why – at the same time – the government has ramped up its attack on mothers and babies.

Minister Porter’s signalling of further cuts to PPL in addition to those announced on Mother’s Day indicates a more brutal attitude toward families than Tony Abbott’s anti-women policies.

Unions have called on the Prime Minister to stop all cuts to PPL and to censure Minister Porter for his intention to increase the number of families who no longer qualify, reducing the amount of time that mothers spend with newborns and increasing financial pressure on families.

These are policies that will force women to choose between their job and their babies.

As well as stopping any dismantling of PPL the Prime Minister now has the opportunity to lift superannuation savings for women by retaining the low income super contribution which will assist women, especially those in part-time jobs with caring responsibilities.

Working mothers urgently require affordable, quality and available childcare and more funding needs to be funnelled into this area.

Paid domestic violence leave must also be supported by the Prime Minister to ensure women keep their employment during this critical time.

“Acting to tackle the important hurdles women face in earning equal wages, retiring with enough superannuation and balancing family and work is the only genuine way Malcolm Turnbull can say he is different to Tony Abbott,” said ACTU president Ged Kearney:

“The government intends to push ahead with changes that would leave as many as 80,000 parents a year worse off – this is despite strong opposition from unions, employers, parents, women’s organisations, maternal and child health experts and even childcare providers.

“Worse still, the government is planning to reduce the amount a family can earn and still remain eligible for PPL.

“Forcing tens of thousands of women with newborn babies back to work sooner would put a massive squeeze on childcare yet there is no recommendation on how this would be handled.”

Next article – Bill prompts dismay – Mandatory sentencing changes under fire

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