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Monday, 9 May 1994
Page: 415


Senator NEAL (3.26 p.m.) —I am drawn to say something in relation to this matter. I am deeply concerned by the fact that an opposition which, for many years, did very little for women in Australia and which, in particular, chose to do nothing for women at home and nothing to assist women who had to make use of child care, should come along in a carping manner and criticise the differential rate between a payment of parenting allowance and a payment of child-care allowance, and criticise the timing and implementation of this allowance.

  We have this condescending attitude: `I accept that women at home work hard.'—that is very nice, is it not?—`I accept that these little women at home are all right, and even though I have done nothing in the past to provide any sort of child-care allowance or parenting allowance, somehow, by making condescending, polite remarks about the hard work involved, that is enough.' I am very pleased to be part of a government that recognises the reality—this situation is not brought about by the government but brought about by reality.

  The fact is that over 50 per cent of mothers and fathers take advantage of the child care that has been provided because this government is funding it. I think it is a situation created by reality. I think those opposite should accept that reality. They should take part in what the government is doing to assist people sort out their family arrangements and balance the competing requirements of work and parenting, and stop carping about minor points that will not assist women and men who are parents in Australia.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.