OK, I couldn’t let this one go by without at least a comment. I think that this is one of the poorest pieces of journalism I have EVER seen in a Murdoch paper. And that really is saying a lot, given that, well, it’s Murdoch.
My question is, why is Natasha Stott-Despoja’s eligibility for the $3000 maternity payment even relevant to the debate, other than, of course, to try and make a mockery of a young working woman’s opinion that the payment is nothing but a whitewash? I imagine that the writer (or writers, given that the Murdoch press usually have a few staff writers working on one 200 word article) was trying to point out some sort of irony, or try to counter Natasha’s valid criticism of the maternity payment by pointing out an inconsistency (if there is one at all).
I just don’t get what the purpose of this story is, because it fails in the irony stakes, it fails to counter Natasha’s view… perhaps it is a politically motivated page-filler to further relegate women’s issues to pettiness and mockery. Oh. I think thats exactly what it is. In amongst the adverts and stories about chickens that can talk is this little ditty about the critic of the maternity allowance being eligible for the payment…
What people are forgetting, firstly, is that both the $800 maternity payment and baby bonus (worth up to $2500) have been replaced by this allowance. It is not a new allowance, it is merely consolidated benefits. Secondly, those who work prior to pregnancy are still going to be worse off as a result of having a baby due to forfeiting a salary. Thirdly, the payment is not “family” friendly for one important reason: there are a lot of families out there that have finished having their babies and need to cope with the day-to-day. A truly “family-friendly” policy needs to account for the mothers who spend half their income on childcare, rack up debt with a no-win-situation, otherwise called the Family Assistance Office, and, of course… young families being crippled by HECS debts, and unable to buy houses amongst other things.
And, of course, assuming that all families have a stay-at-home mother in a heterosexual marriage (as defined by the Marriage Act amendments) and living behind a white picket fence… BLERGH! Come off it John. This payment is nothing but another conservative sweetener to keep women as breeders, but providing absolutely no assistance to women who do not stay at home with their children.
- Making childcare tax deductible — now THAT is a policy that supports families.
- Paying full maternity leave for 14 weeks — now THAT is a policy that supports families.
- Investing decent amounts of money into Medicare and scrapping the private health rebate — now THAT is a policy that supports families.
- Not penalising people who get an education — now THAT is a policy that supports families.
- Not having a “Family Tax Benefit” system whereby 650,000 families have a debt — now THAT is a policy that supports families.
I don’t think it’s that fair to expect fairness from the Daily Telegraph — after all, they are not renowned for the world’s greatest journalism — but the least they can do is TRY to have an actual story when they write about something.
Family policy is something that I have a particular interest in, so excuse the rant. But I expect far better from people that get paid to write about these issues. After all, I am just a lowly unpaid blogger and I can come up with *something* of substance.