Note: Not ‘mother’s leave’ or ‘father’s leave’. Choice for both.
Opinion piece by Lesley Cannold here.
The Government’s new employment standards are not just blind to persistent inequalities of gender, but to social class as well. As Labor knows, bearing and raising children is expensive. Add to this the soaring cost of housing, and few Australians have the luxury of having one parent not working for years at a time. Any government serious about offering the bulk of Australian parents real opportunities to care for their children would ensure that parental leave was paid.
Paid parental leave has been a political football for too long. Last month the National Civic Council took Tony Abbott to task for supporting maternity (not parental) leave, which it sees as part of a feminist conspiracy “to reward women who make feminist-approved lifestyle choices”. Conservative Christians are able to influence Labor as well – the party dropped its commitment to paid maternity leave from its platform before the last election, then flipped the issue to the neo-liberal Productivity Commission to rule on when it won the election.
Feminist conspiracy? Why wasn’t I invited? Where was my memo, or e-mail at the very least? Oh. Maybe there wasn’t a conspiracy at all.