Sunday, March 02, 2003

How Howard can really help families -

March 3 2003

"The system of child support is piecemeal, mean-spirited and ideologically driven, writes Don Edgar.

So, Aussie mums should be grateful for a Prime Minister who loves children. As Bettina Arndt puts it ("At last, a PM who wants to help all mothers", last Wednesday), "Midst all the talk of war, John Howard has been busy pursuing his longstanding interest in work/family matters". No mention of Iraqi children of course, but local mums should be grateful for small mercies.

We might have had a paid maternity leave scheme, but the bureaucrats have come up with a "better" scheme - a "baby-care payment", not means-tested and available only for the first year after a child's birth. Arndt prefers this to Pru Goward's maternity leave proposal because the latter would go only to those mums already working full-time before the baby's birth and who return to work after a few months." [An interesting essay on how parental leave packages and a national children's strategy can effect the cultural change needed to support parenting. - JC]

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