ACL today issued a media release calling on the Federal Opposition to amend the Government’s paid parental leave scheme in the Senate to provide equity for all mums with newborns – regardless of whether they decide to work inside or outside the home.

ACL supports paid parental leave because it gives working mothers the opportunity to spend more time bonding with their newborn children, but women shouldn’t be financially penalised by inequitable government payments to the tune of thousands of dollars if they stay home to care for their children – as full-time stay-at home parents would under the Government’s scheme.

In the release, ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace says that “Much of the debate about the paid parental scheme to date seems to have focused primarily on economic considerations, rather than recognising the social impacts of advantaging one group of mothers over another.”

He said that “A non-discriminatory payment to all new mothers would value all women equally and better address the social aspects of the debate.” To read the full media release, please click here.

The Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme Bill is expected to be debated in the Senate when it sits next week. The Opposition has suggested that it will support the Bill, but amend the scheme to make it even more financially advantageous for mothers to return to work in between the birth of their children, further discriminating against home-based care of children.

If you believe that the paid parental leave scheme should provide equal treatment for all mothers, including those who work exclusively in the home, then you might like to call the office of Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate prior to 15 June. The number is (03) 6224 3707.

You can also sign the online petition of Family First Senator Steve Fielding, who is calling on the Government to support equal parental leave payments for all mums. Senator Fielding has already stated his intention to introduce amendments to secure equity of government support when the Bill is considered in the Senate. The petition can be found here.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee, which was examining the paid parental leave scheme, handed down its report late last week. The report, which recommends passage of the legislation, can be found by clicking here. ACL is disappointed by the clearly imbalanced composition of the Committee, and the lack of respect shown for the ‘equal support for all mums’ argument.