Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Report reveals changing attitudes in Australian homes

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
  • The Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for The Status of Women

A new report has confirmed that mothers continue to do the lion’s share of unpaid domestic and child care work in Australia.

Minister for Families Jenny Macklin and Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis today released the Fathering in Australia Among Young Couple Families with Young Children by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).

The report shows that fathers in couple families do less than 30 percent of unpaid domestic work and only marginally more of the child caring.

Ms Ellis said that boosting women’s involvement in the paid workforce requires that more domestic and caring duties at home be undertaken by men.

“We know that fathers play a vital part in their families and their role as parents has a major impact in the development their children’s health and wellbeing.”

“We also know that many fathers want to play a greater role in the family.

“This report reveals that some 63.7 per cent of fathers believed that work responsibilities have caused them to miss out on home or family activities that they would have liked to take part in.”

“There is no doubt that we need to do more, as government, business and as a community, to give both genders the flexibility they need to achieve a fairer balance of caring and domestic duties,” Ms Ellis said.

The Report also shows that 63 per cent of fathers felt that their family responsibilities had not had a negative impact on their work in terms of their ability to take on work activities.

Ms Macklin said that it was unlikely that working mothers would have the same experience.

“Anecdotally we certainly know that working mothers do face obstacles in balancing their work and family responsibilities.”

“Our Government recognises that we have a role to play in addressing this, which is why we’re proud to have introduced Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme, helping families to balance work and family responsibilities.

“Parental Leave pay can also be transferred between parents to give families more options.

“From 1 July 2012 the Government will also provide eligible working fathers and partners with two weeks Paid Paternity Leave.

“This will support fathers and other partners to share in the care of their newborn child in those very early days,” Ms Macklin said.

The Australian Government recognises the importance of building a sound evidence base in helping to shape policy and program development.

The Government will continue to address the increasing needs of families across the country, and how we can progress and meet challenges into the future.

The Fathering in Australia Among Young Couple Families with Young Children report is available online at: