Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Paid Parental Leave

Program: ABC Newsradio

*** E & OE – Proof only ***

MARIUS BENSEN: Jenny Macklin, you and the Prime Minister were looking fairly celebratory about the paid parental leave scheme yesterday but those celebrations a bit premature?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well we’re certainly hoping to get the legislation through the Senate as quickly as possible. We know that we’re in the final stages now. It will have to come back to the House of Representatives and then back to the Senate again just to do some of the technical things, but we certainly hope that the legislation will be through as quickly as possible.

MARIUS BENSEN: There’s a reading in the press gallery that the Opposition is sort of playing with the Government’s mind, taunting them with holding back even this success and forcing them to talk longer on issues they don’t want to talk about, like the mining super profits tax. Is that a fair reading do you think?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I’m not going to get into the political game playing. If other people want to do that Marius they can. My objective is to get this legislation through the Senate as quickly as possible. Parents have waited decades for this legislation and they just want it through. We want to be able to deliver it on 1 January next year. That’s what we’re trying to do and I certainly hope it will get through the processes if not today, early next week.

MARIUS BENSEN: And that certainly won’t affect 1 January as a starting date?

JENNY MACKLIN: No it won’t.

MARIUS BENSEN: What did you think of Steven Fielding, the Senator Steven Fielding’s criticism of the legislation saying it had loopholes, it could leave the way open for drug addicts and welfare cheats to deliberately fall pregnant, then have an abortion at twenty weeks to get the payments without having a child?

JENNY MACKLIN: I thought his comments were utterly disgraceful. He knows and the Senate knows that paid parental leave will be paid to those families who have a baby born or adopted from 1 January next year. It may also be paid for a stillborn child. A stillbirth has to be certified by a medical professional, so I think it’s absolutely disgraceful that he would make these comments when he knows very clearly what the rules are.

MARIUS BENSEN: Now the Opposition’s perspective is that this scheme is good to the extent that it goes but it doesn’t go far enough. Our scheme the Opposition says is much more generous.

JENNY MACKLIN: Well of course the Opposition’s proposing a very significant new tax to pay for their paid parental leave scheme. The Government is proposing to cut company tax to 28 per cent down from 30 per cent, the Opposition is proposing to increase company tax to 31.7 per cent. And so on all those companies where you buy your everyday goods, the supermarkets, the places where you buy your kids clothes, all of those places are going to see an increase in the cost of living. So families are going to really be paying through the nose for Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme.

MARIUS BENSEN: Jenny Macklin, thank you very much.