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Monday, 31 May 2010
Page: 4548

Ms HALL (1:55 PM) —I would like to start by taking up a few points made by the previous speaker, the member for Forrest. She expressed a concern for business, yet the opposition’s proposal is all about implementing a great big new tax on business. I think that is a bit of an anomaly. She talked about seasonal workers. If she took the time to read the legislation properly, that would answer the question. She talked about a lack of consultation. That really goes beyond the pale because I do not think there has ever been legislation that has had more consultation than this particular legislation, the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010 and the Paid Parental Leave (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010. The Productivity Commission has reviewed the legislation and there has been consultation with community groups throughout Australia, yet the member on the other side states that there has been a lack of consultation. Lack of consultation happens on that side of the House, not on this side.

The member for Forrest talked about rushing out policies. We only have to look at the performance of the opposition and statements made by the Leader of the Opposition to see what rushing out policies amounts to. They make policies on the run—policies that affect Australians each and every day. We have learned from the Leader of the Opposition that the only policies that they roll out that we should take any notice of are the ones that are written and considered. I really think that it is quite strange that the previous speaker would raise this issue.

Another point that she made caused me some concern. She thanked the women in the community who raise their own children. I think all women are committed to raising their own children. Just because a woman decides to return to the workforce does not mean that she is not committed to raising her own children. I am absolutely disgusted by that comment from the member for Forrest. She talked about cancelling childcare centres. I put on the record that if the opposition were in power there would be no new childcare centres. Their record in relation to child care was absolutely appalling.

I find it strange that members on the other side of the House can come in here and talk about paid parental leave when, under their government, when they were in power under John Howard, there were 12 long years when they did absolutely nothing about paid parental leave. The opposition have a very, very sorry record on giving benefits to women and children. I think that they stand condemned for their inaction in the past. They come in here and hypocritically talk about what they will do for women in the future when in the past they did absolutely nothing.

I would like to congratulate the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs for this legislation. I would like to congratulate her and all the people she consulted with to develop such a fine piece of legislation that has the interests of families at its heart. So I say to those on the other side of this House: stop being hypocritical. Get behind the legislation that we have before us today. Support this government legislation and support the families of Australia.

The SPEAKER —Order! It being 2 pm, the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 97. The debate may be resumed at a later hour and the member will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.