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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Page: 12246

Paid Parental Leave

Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (14:15): My question is to the Prime Minister. If we want women to fully participate in the workforce we need to allow them to do so. Paid Parental Leave only deals with the immediate afterbirth needs. Child care has the wider responsibility of freeing women to be all they can be. Palmer United senators will not allow Paid Parental Leave to pass the Senate. Will the government give the resources allocated for Paid Parental Leave to child care and set women free? Why is it that the government seeks to introduce 1950s Liberal Party policy? Is it groundhog day? (Time expired)

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:15): I have heard my Paid Parental Leave scheme called many things but never 1950s Liberal Party policy. I think that is the last thing the Liberal Party would have been proposing in the 1950s. I am pleased that the member for Fairfax has at least acknowledged that a fair dinkum Paid Parental Leave scheme is important if women are to get a fair go. It is absolutely vital that the modern woman in particular is able to combine work and family, and a fair dinkum Paid Parental Leave scheme would do exactly that.

I also acknowledge that the member for Fairfax did raise child care. Child care is an equally important issue. We commissioned a Productivity Commission review so we can try to ensure that going forward our childcare system is affordable, accessible and tailored to the 24/7 needs of the modern Australian family. I think the member will find that we are more than capable of both putting into place a fair dinkum Paid Parental Leave scheme and dealing with the childcare needs of Australian families. I think we are capable of doing both of these things. The member was good enough to ask the question. I hope he will be good enough to carefully consider the coalition's policies.