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Australian mums deserve paid parental leave this International Women’s Day

Australian women deserve a government-funded paid parental leave scheme in the upcoming Federal Budget, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said today, on the eve of International Women’s Day.

“Australian women are disadvantaged in comparison to their international sisters in being denied a paid parental leave scheme that is enshrined in law,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Australia is one of just two OECD countries that do not provide for some sort of government-funded paid parental leave.

“It’s a glaring omission in the priorities of the current Federal Government, who were elected on a ‘working families’ platform.

“No ifs or buts – it’s time for the Rudd Government to deliver on paid parental leave in the May Budget.”

Senator Hanson-Young said the Greens welcomed the results of the YWCA’s survey of federal politicians on their views on parental leave, released in time for International Women’s Day tomorrow.

“The YWCA’s decision to survey politicians about paid parental leave is an indication of how important this issue is to the community,” she said.

“The fact that just 32 federal politicians responded to the survey suggests that there is some embarrassment within Labor and Coalition ranks about their position on the introduction of government-funded paid parental leave.

“However, it is encouraging to see backbenchers from both Labor and Liberal join the five Australian Greens senators in seeing paid parental leave as a commonsense way of supporting working parents after the birth of a child.

“Eighteen out of the 32 respondents also understand that now more than ever is the time to bring in a parental leave scheme, and that it must be included in the Budget this May.”

Senator Hanson-Young said the Government must release the Productivity Commission’s report on paid parental leave, which it received last weekend but is yet to publicise.

“The Greens are calling for a 26-week, government-funded paid leave scheme for both mothers and fathers,” she said.

“However, the recommendation of an 18-week scheme, as outlined in the Productivity Commission’s draft report last year, would be an encouraging step forward.

“Let’s see what the Productivity Commission has to say – the report must be made public without delay.”

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