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The Prime Minister's pitch to women - watch what he does, not what he says



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270/92 18 September 1992

The Prime Minister's Pitch To Women - Watch What He Does, Not What He Says

Regardless of what Mr Keating says tomorrow in his "women's speech", the fact remains that his policies have deliberately discriminated against millions of Australian women.

This week's hastily cobbled together tax legislation set in concrete the fact that "One Nation" will give no tax relief to nearly two million women in the workforce earning below $20,700 per year.

That's about 60 per cent of all women tax payers!

In contrast, Fightback! will reduce the tax rate for these women from 20 per cent to 16.2 per cent. This will mean for a woman on $15,000 per year, a tax cut of $12 per week and for a woman on

$20,000 per year, a tax cut of nearly $16 per week. Family

allowance payments will also be doubled for women in families with incomes below $30,000 per year.

The government's superannuation package, announced in June and soon to be legislated for, denies access to superannuation to nearly two million women not in the paid workforce.

In contrast, Fightback! recognises the need for women in unpaid work to have a decent standard of living in their retirement. Tax rebates on superannuation contributions up to $6,000 per year by males on behalf of their spouses will be a major boost to women's

economic independence in retirement.

And of course, Labor's economic policies, for which Mr Keating has pulled the levers over the past decade, has left nearly 400,000 women on the unemployment scrapheap.

The majority of the recommendations from the recent parliamentary committee report into equality for women, "Half Way To Equal", which will form the basis of Mr Keating's speech, were, supported by the Coalition members of the Committee. However, we remain

deeply concerned about some recommendations of the report, including moves to make sex discrimination cases more litigious as we believe that the primary focus in thp resolution process must be conciliation.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

The Coalition has a firm commitment to eliminating discrimination against women in the workplace on the grounds of sex, marital status or maternity.

However, we are strongly of the view that equality of opportunity and status for women in the workplace will be best advanced by industrial arrangements involving workplace enterprise bargaining, encompassing such matters as work-based child care,

special family leave and conditions for casual and part-time workers.

The Coalition parties have a proud history in advancing the cause of women, sponsoring some of the great milestones in women's policy, including the introduction of family allowance paid directly to the principal carer and the signing by the Fraser Government of the Copenhagen Convention in 1980 on the

elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. This latter reform formed the basis of the Sex Discrimination Act.

Fightback! continues the tradition of delivering real reform and benefits to Australian women in and out of the paid workforce in key areas such as health, education, industrial relations, family support and child care.

These genuine reforms will, we believe, hasten the process of smashing the "glass ceiling" which has for so long held women down. At the very heart of Fightback! lies the belief that all Australians, including those with family responsibilities,

should be given every opportunity and choice to reach their maximum potential.

Yet under Labor, opportunity and choice have been denied to millions of Australians. Women, in particular, have had to bear the full brunt of the recession.

No doubt Mr Keating's announcements on the Sex Discrimination Act will be hailed as a victory by some sections of the women's

movement, but for the nearly 400,000 women without a job, for the two million earning less than $20,700 who will get no tax cut under One Nation and for the more than two million who have been denied access to superannuation, Mr Keating should expect little

in the way of applause.

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