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17        Paid Parental Leave Amendment (COVID-19 Work Test) Bill 2021

Order of the day read for the adjourned debate on the motion of the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy (Senator Hume)—That this bill be now read a second time.

Debate resumed.

Senator Pratt moved the following amendment:

At the end of the motion, add “, but the Senate:

(a)              notes that many families would not need these changes if the Prime Minister had done his job on quarantine and vaccine roll-out;

(b)              further notes the Government’s delay in providing certainty about paid parental leave rules in relation to both JobKeeper and the COVID-19 Disaster Payment; and

(c)               calls on the Government to ensure that families that rely on paid parental leave are not left worse off”.

Debate ensued.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and negatived. All Australian Greens and Opposition senators and Senators Patrick and Griff, by leave, recorded their votes for the ayes.

Senator Siewert, at the request of Senator Griff, moved the following amendment:

At the end of the motion, add “, but the Senate:

(a)              acknowledges the vital role that foster and kinship parents play in raising over 44,000 Australian children in out-of-home care by providing a safe and loving environment;

(b)              recognises that the Federal paid parental leave (PPL) scheme excludes kinship and foster parents, representing a significant disservice to vulnerable children in the child protection system who are placed with a new family;

(c)               notes that research shows the ages of 0-2 are a developmentally vital time in which a child forms secure or insecure attachment behaviours and PPL assists primary carers to spend valuable bonding time with an infant;

(d)              further acknowledges a number of top-tier firms in Australia do not discriminate against foster and kinship parents and include them in the paid parental leave they offer to their employees; and

(e)              calls on the Government to extend the Paid Parental Leave scheme to foster and kinship parents of children aged 0-2”.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and negatived. All Australian Greens and Opposition senators and Senators Patrick and Griff, by leave, recorded their votes for the ayes.

Senator Siewert, at the request of the Leader of the Australian Greens in the Senate (Senator Waters), moved the following amendment:

At the end of the motion, add “, but the Senate:

(a)              notes that strong, equitable paid parental leave improves the lives of families; and

(b)              calls on the Government to strengthen the paid parental leave scheme by:

(i)                    extending leave entitlements to 26 weeks, with six weeks reserved for fathers or partners to encourage more equitable sharing of care,

(ii)                  requiring superannuation contributions to be made on paid parental leave, and

(iii)                removing income provisions that discriminate against families where the birth mother is the higher income earner”.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and negatived. All Australian Greens and Opposition senators and Senators Patrick and Griff, by leave, recorded their votes for the ayes.

Main question put and passed.

Bill read a second time.

The Senate resolved itself into committee for the consideration of the bill.

 

 

 

In the committee

Bill taken as a whole by leave.

Senator Griff moved the following request for an amendment on sheet 1423 revised:

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment:

(1)—Schedule 1, page 5 (after line 21), after item 9A, insert:

9B  After paragraph 54(1)(a)

Insert:

                     (aa)  if the child’s birth mother is unlikely to satisfy the income test on the child’s expected date of birth, or did not satisfy the income test on the day the child was born:

                                     (i)  the biological father of the child; or

                                    (ii)  the partner of the child’s birth mother;

Debate ensued.

Question—That the request be agreed to—put and negatived. All Australian Greens and Opposition senators and Senators Patrick and Griff, by leave, reported their votes for the ayes.

Bill agreed to and reported without amendment.

 

 

 

On the motion of the Minister for Families and Social Services (Senator Ruston) the report from the committee was adopted and the bill read a third time.