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Govt backflip on parental leave in six hours

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the Government has backflipped on their position on paid parental leave within less than a six-hour period today.

This afternoon Senator Hanson-Young moved a motion calling for a paid parental leave scheme to be introduced as part of the upcoming Federal Budget, which was supported by the Senate with Labor senators present. This morning, the Government sided with the Coalition to vote against the Greens’ amendment to the Fair Work Bill that also called for a paid parental leave scheme to be introduced in the same Budget.

“This rapid backflip shows that the Government isn’t really sure what it stands for when it comes to supporting Australian working parents through paid parental leave,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“It’s time for Prime Minister Rudd to bite that bullet, and deliver the long-overdue paid parental leave scheme that will benefit Australian families, workplaces and the economy.

“The Rudd Government must immediately clarify its position on the Greens’ and others’ calls to bring in paid parental leave in the 2009-2010 Budget.

“Now more than ever is the time to support working mums and dads in this way after the birth of a child.”

Senator Hanson-Young’s motion read as below.

That the Senate

(a) notes that:
(i) 8 March was International Women’s Day,
(ii) this global day of action was established to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future;
iii) IWD is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

(b) recognises that:
(i) for more than 30 years, Australian women have been campaigning for the introduction of paid parental leave;
(ii) Australia and the US are now the only two OECD countries yet to formally legislate on a paid parental leave scheme;

(c) calls on the Rudd Government, as part of their election promises and their commitment to Australian families, to support the introduction of a paid parental leave scheme in the upcoming Budget.

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