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(generated from captions) many of our children are doing poorly. She concludes that the demands of the workplace are jeopardizing a healthy family life with major consequences for the nation's future. And that's pretty close to what the country's Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Pru Goward, has been hearing in a range of cross-country consultations about the difficulties of being both a parent and a worker.

Pru Goward joins me now from our Canberra studios

and Fiona Stanley, former Australian of the Year

and Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research is in our Melbourne studios.

Good evening both of you. Fiona

Stanley, I know you feel that

certainly our feature economic

prosperity is really at risk

prosperity is really at risk because of the neglect in some key areas of

children's development. Now, why so

when really historically Australia

has reason to be proud of its

has reason to be proud of its infant care? Exactly. It's really quite

worrying to us when we look at the

data to say why is this happening

data to say why is this happening in Australian society at the moment.

When you look at the kind of

nurturing and time and resources

that children require if they're

going to develop appropriately, a

lot of this is about what we now

know about brain - development. We

now know how important brain

development is for our future

intellectual capacity but how we

relate to each other as well, our

future social exchanges and the

future social exchanges and the kind of person we grow up to be. Those

resources which are provided on the

whole by parents, but also need to

be provided by the kind of

environments in which parents are

living and raising their children,

so communities and workplace

environments are also very

environments are also very important as enabling and making it easy for

parents to provide the loving and

nurtduring care that a child needs.

When we look at this and at the

patterns that is happening in terms

of the adverse patterns in child

development and well being and

health and we look at what's

happening in the workplace and

what's happening generally in

society like the breakdown of the

family and how that impact on

children and how we've got some

depleted communities and tin

creasing inequalities, all these

creasing inequalities, all these are starts to give us a reason and an

explanation as to why we're seeing

these adverse outcomes. What are

some of those adverse outcomes?

some of those adverse outcomes? What is your rmp showing you that leads

you to worry about the health of

you to worry about the health of our children now and by extension their

ability to grow up into effective

citizens and good workers? Some of

the most worrying thins are the

things that surprise me a look when

I looked at the data. For example,

we know how important birth weight

is as a later predictor of how your

brain dwops and your life chances.

We haven't had any improvement in

birth weight and in some groups

we've had an increase in low birth

weight cious which is a very

important predictor of your life

chances. The most worrying things,

though, relate to the signs of

behavioural problems, mental health

problems - we all know about the

obesity epidemic and the other

chronic diseases like diabetes and

asthma. But the things that are

really going to impact upon us as a

future work force if you like or

future work force if you like or the future of Australia's capacity is

actually the behavioural problems,

mental health problems, how

mental health problems, how children aren't going to be able to cope in

aren't going to be able to cope in the education system and therefore

will they be able to cope

emotionally and intellectually and

participate in a future work force

when so much is going to depend

when so much is going to depend upon them, given the ageing of the

population and the shrinking of

population and the shrinking of that work force. Pru Goward, you've been

looking at this from the point of

view of these consultation around

the country talking to workers who

are parents and trying to do that

juggling act. Are you picking up

juggling act. Are you picking up the kinds of concerns that Fiona

kinds of concerns that Fiona Stanley is talking about? Yes, I think

parents and employers as well as

unions all seem to have some

concerns about the effect on family

life. It falls into two groups -

life. It falls into two groups - for men, they're the ones working long

hours. You've got middle management

men working long unpaid overtime

men working long unpaid overtime and very conscious of not seeing enough

of their children. I don't know

of their children. I don't know what you can do about that because they

see themselves on a career track

see themselves on a career track and we've got a culture of present and

to get the job and the promotion

you've got to do huge hours. 40% of

men in full-time work in Australia

are doing more than 50 hours a week

of work. For blue collar men and

unskilled men, but particularly in

the mining sector where there are

shortages of labour, they are

working huge hours but it's paid

working huge hours but it's paid and they're working huge hours because

that's their families chance to get

ahead but they too know they're

risking their families and their

marriages because they joke about

marriages because they joke about it and certainly they are conscious of

the absence that means for their

children and the struggle that

children and the struggle that often mean force a family if that

mean force a family if that marriage breaks up. For women, it's

increasingly a different problem.

Women aren't even thinking about

full-time work if they're parents

most of them. There are very few

mothers in full-time work. They do

part-time and casual work. I've had

reports to me of AWAs and confirmed

by employers o,s who recognise thoz

AWAs that will stipulate the

AWAs that will stipulate the minimum number of hours that a person will

work, say four hours a day as a

dleener, but require them without

notice to do up to 70 hours a week.

If you're trying to organise child

care or work your life - your

working life around your family by

taking that sort of work, you're

lost and so that - there are the

lost and so that - there are the two problems. The uncertainty of hours

for casualised people and the very

long hours for people, men mostly,

in full-time work. Fiona Stanley,

this is a constant theme in your

book - long hours and uncertainty.

╝Yellow╛That's right.Nd there's two

groups - one is the people who are

working too many hours to be

effective as parents and many

effective as parents and many people therefore not opting to have

children and therefore perhaps not

even thinking about the future

anyway and why should they provide support for children in society

support for children in society when they're not going to have any

children or grandchildren. But then

there's people who are underemploys

and haven't got adequate resources

to support a family appropriately.

So there's insecurity or concern at

both ends of that spectrum.

Children's views are actually

important here and there's been

important here and there's been some interesting studies which Prue

interesting studies which Prue might have tapped into about children who

understand their parents may have

understand their parents may have to work these Hong lours to - long

hours to pay off the bills an

relieve that stress of not being

able to pay off the bills but they

would give up stuff, they say, to

have more time particularly with

dad. So we're actually finding that

the workplace is becoming very

hostile to the future capacity of

this country by not providing a

workplace that's conducive to being

a parent as well as being a worker.

I think that Pru is saying there's

not a solution but we have to seek

solutions if we're going to make a

difference to the future capacity

difference to the future capacity of the country. Pru Goward, do you

think that's possible? Owl of us

have gone around the traps on 24

issue. For a decade this question

issue. For a decade this question of work life and balance and there are

any number of employers who have

tried to address this but some

tried to address this but some would say with what success. Obviously

there are a lot of employers who

recognise that's a way to retain

skilled female staff. And they do

try I think better than they used

try I think better than they used to to provide part-time work

opportunities for professional and

managerial level women. For men,

though, the story is much less

harsher. They're much less I

forgiving of a man's desire to be

with his children and this's where

we've really got to start seeing

change where men feel that they too

have access to more family friendly

provisions and that the workplace

supports them. We wouldn't be

talking about this if people really

were working only the 40 hours a

week that the country were so proud

of earning 50 years ago. We're

talking about mad hours by OECD

standards. We're the only OECD

country that is still experiencing

country that is still experiencing a rise in average working hours.

I find that amazing. I'm just

supporting Pru here. I was just

going to say we heard the Treasurer

talking today about we have to get

the productivity up, we have to

compete with China and India. All

compete with China and India. All of this seems to be saying to me the

hours are going to get longer, the

working day is not going to shrink.

With the dem gra graphic change and

theing of Australia, we are

certainly facing a declining number

of workers and the first instinct

of workers and the first instinct of the boss in the country will be to

ask longer hours of them. But I

think there's a debate to be had at

what level and which sectors we do

want to be competitive with India

and China. Only a small portion of

our workforce is in manufacture and

we have a very big mining sector.

Leave that to one side, of course

there is going to be a huge

there is going to be a huge pressure now to ask more hours of people to

meet the boom. But the country can

say do we need more stuff? The kids

question that Fiona Stanley has

question that Fiona Stanley has just describes, do we need more stuff?

Where can we afford to do a bit

Where can we afford to do a bit less so we have a bit more time? We have

to start valuing family time,

personal time. Fiona Stanley?

I think that's started to happen.

Some of the ABS statistics are now

showing that some of the younger

people who are coming now into

people who are coming now into quite - who have the capacity to pull in

large salaries and work the 60

large salaries and work the 60 hours a week that some of them are doing

are actually opting out and saying,

no, I want time, to I want to do

other things, I want to have a life

and relationships. But I wonder if

Pru could comment on one thing that

I think could be an exciting change

- that is, some workplaces as you

say want to retain their very well

trained female staff but the social

bottom line, a social measure of a

company on a workplace might be

company on a workplace might be that part of how they treat their

workforce could be part of best

practice. It could start to be one

of the things that's important in

terms of how you judge a company,

how you judge a workplace. What

about the provision of child care

about the provision of child care in the workplace? What about the

provision of appropriate leave

around parenting for both male,

mothers and fathers? This might in

fact start to be best practice in

the workplace as we start to get

the workplace as we start to get the change and start to acknowledge

change and start to acknowledge that children and the futures are

important. Pru Goward can you see

any CEOs being taken with that idea?

In fact I don't know you have to

make it a best practice issue as if

it weren't a bottom line issue

really because it is a bottom line

issue. The business case for

providing these sorts of flexibilities is very well

established because it goes

established because it goes directly to retention rates. If you are in a

very competitive labour market, as

employers are now facing, you will

for clear economic reasons, nothing

to do with image and marketing your

brand, you will be offering these

conditions to keep generation XY,

who as Fiona has said are not so

interested in the long hours and

want a life and have seen the baby

boomers work thermtions to a an

early grave and don't want to do

that. All you need are better

educated managers who appreciate

educated managers who appreciate the importance to the bottom line of

good staff retention practices.

Let me ask you both about what's

about to hit us. Very soon we will

get the detail of the Government's

IR changes. Pru Goward you would

know just how tough is certainly

know just how tough is certainly for many low income workers, how little

bargains power they have compared

with the professional classes. Is

there a risk with these new changes

we're about to make life even more

stressful for them? We don't know

what the legislation is going to

contain yet. I would say two things

- the Government must be conscious

that for that large pool of

unskilled workers at the bottom of

the labour market there's not much

bargaining power, there's more of

them as you might think because the

welfare changes make that size

workforce very fluid and they will

need protections against the

uncertainty of being told, sorry,

Molley didn't come in today, you

will have to clean her floors too,

can you work an extra two hours,

can you work an extra two hours, and your child care finishes at midday

we'll let you off this time but

osorry we won't roster you again if

you can't do the extra time Molley

is sick. They have to take account

of that. You are sounding very

of that. You are sounding very close to the centre of the ACTU ads there.

Is this what you're seeing in the

work force? You only have to talk

work force? You only have to talk to people in those sorts of jobs to

find out that's what their lives

are. For women and for people who

want to put their families first,

want to put their families first, it is uncertainty in hours because you

can't organise your child care

arrangements for anything else much

if you haven't got certainty and

if you haven't got certainty and the other thing I would say is that

taking penalty rates off overtime

will of course be an own

will of course be an own couragement or an able employers to be more

likely to require a smaller number

of workers to work longer hours

instead of, say, expanding the

number of workers they have. And

with people who are already working

50, 60 hours a week skilled blue

collar people and people in some of

the mining sector, parts of the

mining sector, making them work

extra overtime and let's face it

extra overtime and let's face it you don't have much choice - if you

don't want to work the extra hours

eventually you too get set aside, I

think you will find those families

who are in most of ways very at

who are in most of ways very at risk working longer hours than they are

today. With the removal of

today. With the removal of penalties on overtime, the employer's

incentive is to have fewerworks and

work them longer because it's

cheaper. It sounds like the

recommendations and your bammance

report will run counter. I guess

report will run counter. I guess the Government's idea is that workers

and bosses can directly negotiate

these things. But I guess what we

have to remember is that

have to remember is that negotiating power is uneven, that's why the

Government has talk about allowable

malt ertion and I would be

encouraging them to keep in these

allowable matters is certainty, a

real right to certainty of hours

real right to certainty of hours and an preeption of the consequences

an preeption of the consequences for family life if people get made

really to work very long hours of

overtime. Fiona Stanley, on this

point you are very clear in your

book - you say we must limit the

claims the workplace can make on

parental time. How convince Road

parental time. How convince Road you that the Government have that

message ? I hope so. I think I want

to say two things - with any

legislation it would be very good

legislation it would be very good if we could model the impact on

children and families so that

children and families so that before you bring these things in you can

start to think about these issues

clearly. Pru is right about what

clearly. Pru is right about what she said and the other thing I wanted

said and the other thing I wanted to say was the kinds of families who

need the resources, who are the

need the resources, who are the ones who are the most poirless, may also

not just be working longer hours

not just be working longer hours and earning less but may not be working

enough hours to get the resources

for children and in those families

we noi that the kind of communes

that they live in are also the ones

with the least resources. We're not

just talking about the workplace

here and how hostile it may be and increasingly become for

disadvantaged families, but the

disadvantaged families, but the most marginalised families are living in

communities are resources they -

without the resources they need to

pick up when the demand - work

pick up when the demand - work force is so demanding. People in more

advantaged situations can buy in

advantaged situations can buy in the child care, can get in the things

that are going to enable them to

have resources to enable their

children to be OK. I think it's a

further divide, if you like, if we

don't take on board these issues

about the more - the increasing

marginalisation of Australian

families. That would worry me.

I want to ask you both about child

care. At time when we are asking

care. At time when we are asking for greater workforce participation, we

have welfare to work programs to

encourage single mums and other

people to get into the work force,

there are still constant complaints

about expensive child care and

availability. Why are we still

availability. Why are we still going around in circles on that one?

If we want to increase workforce

participation and we want to be a

24/7 economy, child care has to be

more affordable, there has to be

more of it and it has to be as

flexible for working hours. It's

difficult for shiflt workers to get

good child care yo. You end up

good child care yo. You end up using the lady next door or an older

brother or sister. Child care is a

bottomless pit. The Government

spends more than $2 billion a year

and clearly that's never going to

and clearly that's never going to be enough. So there has to be a whole

rethink about the fundsing of child

care, better tax insentives for

employers to provide child care, to

buy places and don't worry

buy places and don't worry employers would like to do more of it, at

least that's what they constantly

say. This is an issue that we have

to start taking very seriously,

especially if we want to be a more

competitive economy with a greater

level of work force participation.

Fiona Stanley, I know you say with

small business and small business

small business and small business is the big growth area, they should

completely rethink their abroach

completely rethink their abroach and hook up with loek alg Goth

authorities to provide the child

care. Will you mandate this in a

perfect world? It would be

wonderful. It's about good child

care and the important point is for

many families who are disadvantaged,

people don't seem to understand

people don't seem to understand that good child care may be actually a

very important aspect of the future

development of that child. It may

development of that child. It may be a window of opportunity actually

provide them with a better

trajectory. It's a really important

aspect. We can't say women should

stay home and look after their

children, of course that is - it

would be wonderful but it's not the

reality. There are women who need

reality. There are women who need to go to work and women who want to go

to work. Women are an important

to work. Women are an important part of the work force. What hasn't

happened is the workforce hasn't

responded to the need of women to

enter the work force. And we have

enter the work force. And we have to look at alternative ways. If

employers want to provide better

child care and more available child

care in the workplace along with

local government, I think that

local government, I think that would be very beneficial for children and

for their families. Thanks very

much. Let's hope some of these

issues go on over in the IR debate

coming up. Thank you. Thank you. The doctor linked to the deaths of more than a dozen patients This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to those on the front line in international attempts to contain nuclear weapons. The prize was announced in Norway early this evening. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2005 is to be shared in two equal parts between the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, and its director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei The prize recognises the joint efforts of Mr ElBaradei and the agency, 60 years after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Nobel Prize was established

by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in 1901 and this year's winners will receive $1.7 million, a diploma and a gold medal.