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9am with David and Kim -

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VOICE-OVER: If you've got something

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today's show, why not e-mail us: and dissected for years It's been debated, discussed academics, by everyone from politicians to from economists to business groups the biggest group of all - women. and of course, the best excuse of all? But is the global financial crisis maternity leave is off the agenda. The Government now says paid Tired of all the talk and no action, refuses to give up Greens senator Sarah Handson-Young and she joins us this morning paid parental leave needs to be law. to discuss why

Good morning and thank you for your

time. Thank you for having me back.

Are we any closer do you think?

Well, no, I think the community is

far more on this and want it far

more than the Government seems to

be prepared to hand it over at the

moment. So I guess that as a good

thing. You know the community are

saying that we need this, we want

this. Recent polls said 82% of

people would prefer to see paid

parental leave than tax cuts to

high income earners and there was

high income earners in that poll, I

must point out. So people realise

that this is a good i r 6 7z 7EE@ that this is a good investment in

families and kids and the future. I

think we all got so excited. You

know David and I were chatting and saying, gosh, is this actually

going to happen? The more people we

spoke to, it seemed that the

momentum was there and now it is

dead in the water. And I gets the

global financial crisis is being

used as an excuse of why the

Government doesn't want to move on

it. It seems silly when we're

talking about the need to be stimulating the economy, putting

money in the pockets of parents who

- we know that babies are

expensive. You need a debit card at

the chemist and a debit card at the

local shops. The people who are

less likely to save at this time

are working families and people

with a new baby. That would be an

instant stimulus for the economy if

the Government was prepared to

give it to them. Given that the

Government has now spent $52

billion in stimulus packages, what

would your proposal cost, do you

reckon? Our proposal is 26 weeks

paid parental leave, and it is just

under $1 billion. Per year? So in

the big scheme, it is not that much.

It is more about the investment. It

is an instant stimulus for the

economy, but the pay back over time

and allowing parents to stay

connected to the workforce.

Ensuring that mothers don't fall

behind in their career progression

so they're going to be paying more

tax in years to come, it actually

pays for itself in the end. And

that's the thing that we need to be

focusing on is the short-term

stimulus, what this is doing for

parents and babies now, but what t 6r EE@@@@@@@@@@@@ z zEE@@ this

this means for healthy families and

allowing mothers in particular to

stay connected to the workforce.

Who is eligible here? With your

proposal, which is going up as a

tabled at the private Senator's bill to be private Senator's bill to

t 1 2 z z EE@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

tabled at the Senate. Who is

eligible? Full time workers? Part

time workers, self employed? Pretty

much anyone who is working as long

as you've been working for at least

12 months. You're entitled,

whether you're full time, part time,

casua y 9 vs r 8 w 2W w sEE@@ casual or self employed. Now, if

casual or self employed. Now, if

you're not working, that's where

the baby bonus looks after you.

This scheme is for paid parental

leave and it is a work place

entitlement and saying that people

who are working and need to take

time off to have the baby should be

taken it off. They shouldn't have

to do it as holiday pay which is

what so many parents do. That's

what I did. Yes, so you completely

understand. And Australia is so

behind the eight ball on this.

We're one of only two countries in

the whole OECD who don't provide it

- us and America. And in the US -

because State governments have

brought in their own schemes,

including California, 50% of women

have it anyway. So Australia is

even further behind than America is.

And you're also addressing one area

that I think is forgotten - wrongly

forgotten is parents who adopt. Yes,

that's right. This scheme would

allow for parents who adopt as well.

It's the birth of a child or the

adoption of a child which I just

think is so important. It is good

for the economy, it's good for

babies and it's good for mums and

dads. 26 weeks, you've gone hard.

We were talking to Helen Broderick,

the SexUal Discrimination Officer

who was pushing for 13 weeks. We

were saying, go for a year! Why is

26 weeks important? 26 weeks has

standard that the World Health been chosen because it is the been chosen because it is

Organisation says that that time is

needed for the baby to spend with

the parents. And it is endorsed by

a number of other organisations.

Canada has 28 weeks. Sweden has 47

weeks. The UK has 39 weeks. So you

w : 095 EE@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ know, us asking

know, us asking for 26, which is

six months, is fairly reasonable, I

think. Why have you been forced to

put these suggestions into a

private member's Bill? You know the

way politics works. I'm not in

Government. The Greens are in a GovernmentW * r 7 EE@@@ Government. The Greens are in

shared balance of power and on the

cross benches. Considerable power?

The role of the private member's

bill is really to put for the

issues that are out there in the

community. And on this issue, the community wants this, and the

Government is not listening. So

this is an tune for me to go - well,

hang on a minute, this is what the

community want. This is what mums

and dads want. I've delivered it to

the Government. It's going to be tabled in the Senate and I hope

that they go for it. I would like

to see in the Budget in two

time that there is some commitment

made to providing paid parental made to provid 0 2 7 vEE@@@

leave, in terms of the short-term

stimulus that it offers for the

economy, but what it means for

investing and valuing parenthood.

And this is - it's not about the

idea of paid parental leave, it is

not about providing that in itself

and that's it, it is actually about

and t0 EE@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ what we value in terms of children

and the bond between parents and

investing in healthy families and

what that means down the line in

terms of education, health, all of

those things. It's interesting that

your proposal as a parental leave

as opposed to a maternity leave.

Why is that important to you? I

think it is important for a number

of reasons. Firstly, a lot of the

criticism around maternity leave is

that perhaps mothers would be

discriminated mother in the

workforce because employers perhaps

wouldn't want to take them on if

they felt that they had to carry

the burden. We know that that

happens already. And my scheme is Government-funded, so obviously Government-funded, so obvious

I've tried to take the burden off

business because of that. But then

the importance of a parental leave

scheme allows then the parents to

decide what works best for them.

And in a family like mine where I

earn more than my husband, it would

make sense if I was in a different

job, I don't know if paid parental

leave is available for politicians

- I don't think that it

particularly is. That and the

creche in Parliament House. But in

a family where a mum is in the best

place to go back to work or go back

to work earlier, they can decide

between the mum and the dad what

suits them. And one of my

girlfriends for instance, she took

some time off when she had her baby,

but then she took three months off

and then her husband took three or

four months off and he would bring

the baby into her work place so she

could feed the baby. It was great.

That's what I did. With our first

born, my wife was working and I

took the year off. I was only too

keen to go - take him! Just before

we go, what about the women who

choose not to work solely because

they wish to raise their baby at

home? Are they foresaking

employment? Should they get

assistance? Look, they do already,

that's the baby bonus. Is that

enough? That needs to remain in

place for the mothers. I think it

is acknowledging that paid

parental leave is a work place

entitlement and for those mothers

or dads who are at home looking

after their dads and maybe they're

on to their second or third child, that's the commitment they're

putting into their family and their children. And that needs to be rewarded and recognised and

valued as well and that's where the

baby bonus comes into it. So we're baby bonus comes into it. So we're supporting both. My scheme specifically for working parents

though. Look, thank you so much for

joining us and revealing that bill

exclusively on our show, and I know

that you did that particularly

because you wanted to speak

directly to the audience and feel

connected. Absolutely. I think so

often, politicians do the press

conferences on the lawns in the

Parliament and you know, we're not

necessarily connecting with the

people. And on this issue, the

people are far more ahead on this issue than the Government, and a

lot of the politicians and I just

think that it is right to be putting

it out there. And I know that

there's a lot of mums and dads who

watch this show. And if my friends

had access to paid parental leave

they'd be much better off and they'd be much better off and I'm

sure that a lot of the viewers out

there would be as well. Thank you.

Still to come this morning - more

mouth watering desserts from chef

Alastair McLeod. But after the

break, love, marriage and more as

we hear about the new hit stage

comedy - 'Secret Brides