Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Billson needs to check his facts

The Opposition has resorted to scaremongering in a last ditch effort to wreck Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme.

Today’s claim by the Member for Dunkley, Bruce Billson, that the role of employers in providing Government-funded Paid Parental Leave is part of a secret pact with the unions is absurd.

Mr Billson is ignoring the fact that the Productivity Commission recommended employers have a role in providing Government funded Paid Parental Leave.

The Productivity Commission recommended this role for employers because:

“Structuring payments in this way would strengthen the link between the employer and employee, which should increase retention rates for the business (and lead to higher lifetime employment by women).” Productivity Commission “Paid Parental Leave: Support for parents with newborn children”, p2.19

Despite voting for the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 in the Parliament a little over six months ago, the Opposition is now trying to wreck a scheme that is already supporting more than 3,600 new Australian parents. In addition, more than 2,800 businesses have already registered to take part in the scheme.

The Opposition’s political games are creating confusion for employers and would strip away parent’s connection to the workforce while taking time off to have a baby.

Under the Government’s scheme parental leave pay is delivered as a workplace entitlement, just like sick leave or any other form of leave.

Mr Billson claims he is great supporter of Australian businesses but the Opposition’s paid parental leave policy is a plan to introduce a new tax on business which would have a gross cost of $4.3 billion in the first year alone.

It took a Labor Government to deliver a Paid Parental Leave scheme that is fair to business and good for families.