Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Doorstop, Parliament House, Canberra – New National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance, Paid Parental Leave

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JOURNALIST: Firstly, about a women’s network, how’s that going to work?

JENNY MACKLIN: This is all about creating a new Indigenous Women’s Alliance so that we get women from different parts of Australia, Indigenous women from different parts of Australia, to come together in a new alliance to really make sure that we’re kept up to date with major issues of importance to Indigenous women in different parts of the country.

JOURNALIST: You also announced some significant funding to address violence, how’s that going to work?

JENNY MACKLIN: We’ve got different initiatives in different parts of the country, so some money is going to go to Red Cross to help them train people in how to maintain safer environments, safer communities. There’s some money for rugby league to work with boys and young men to teach them about respectful relationships. These are just two of the initiatives but it’s all about working positively, working especially with those positive role models in communities to deal with what we know in many places, are serious problems of violence.

JOURNALIST: Tony Abbott’s maternity leave plan looks a lot more generous than yours, does that worry you?

JENNY MACKLIN: Tony Abbott is saying that he’s going to introduce a massive new tax of around $3 billion to pay for this new parental leave scheme of his. Only a month ago Tony Abbott said that he wouldn’t introduce any new taxes. I don’t think Tony Abbott can be believed on any of these issues. He has a thought bubble a day, and unfortunately he’s creating great uncertainty, both for parents and for business, with his continuing thought bubbles on paid parental leave.

JOURNALIST: How’s it (inaudible)

JENNY MACKLIN: The Government has a serious proposal, one that’s been well thought out that is going to start on 1 January next year. Our paid parental leave scheme is the result of months and months of consideration by the Productivity Commission. It’s a scheme that will deliver 18 weeks of paid leave to those mothers who’ve been working or fathers where that’s the family’s choice. We know how important it is to have a scheme that’s fully funded, fully costed, fully worked through before we put an idea out into the Parliament. Tony Abbott has not indicated whether or not he will support the Government’s scheme. We have families who are thinking about getting pregnant right now, and they want to know if in January next year the Government’s scheme is going to be available to them. So I’d really call on Tony Abbott to come clean and tell those Australian families, is he going to support the Government’s scheme to make sure that families have certainty, so that on 1 January next year they will have access to paid parental leave.

JOURNALIST: Just back on the issue in today’s Forum, how important is it to get Indigenous women leaders into Parliament and talking to other women politicians?

JENNY MACKLIN: It’s wonderful to see all of these Indigenous women, young women, older women, coming from so many different parts of Australia coming together to get a lot of strength from each other, but also giving them the opportunity to meet with Members of Parliament to learn about how the Parliament works. But I think also to learn from each other, it really is a great experience.