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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 3437

Senator STEPHENS (Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and Parliamentary Secretary for the Voluntary Sector) (11:00 AM) —I welcome the opportunity to give a bit of clarity to this issue because it is so important to many members of the Senate, as I well know. The government believes that the proposed amendments on this issue are quite unnecessary, for an important reason. The baby bonus and now the paid parental leave can be paid in the case of a stillbirth, as should be the case, but there needs to be an actual delivery of a stillborn child to qualify and all claims for the baby bonus in cases of stillbirth have to be certified by a medical practitioner. The claim form requires the doctor or the midwife to certify that a stillborn child was delivered and this requirement necessarily excludes other events. I think that this goes to the nub of the question you asked. Changes were made to the claim form last year, in 2009, to make this very clear as there was a lack of clarity in the past, which has unfortunately led to some misunderstanding and concern about the law. Those misunderstandings appear to have motivated these amendments, but the law is very clear. The baby bonus and the paid parental leave can be paid only when there is the delivery of a stillborn child.