House debates

Monday, 31 May 2010

Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010; Paid Parental Leave (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010

Second Reading

7:06 pm

Photo of Damian HaleDamian Hale (Solomon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I would like to commend my colleague the member for Calwell for her contribution. As a mother and a member of this place, I know that she has worked tirelessly with the minister in helping formulate the Paid Parental Leave scheme. There are a great many women on our side as well as in the opposition, and men, who will have a great deal of satisfaction that this piece of legislation has come through. I remember that as a young campaigner in 2007 it was with a great deal of pride that I knew it was part of the platform that the Labor Party undertook to implement, a paid parental leave scheme fully funded by the Commonwealth. I thought that was significant, and it is with a feeling of honour that I participate in the debate tonight on the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010 and the Paid Parental Leave (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010.

The introduction of this legislation on 12 May represents one of the most significant achievements of the Rudd government. I was thrilled to be in the chamber when the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs introduced the bill because it was truly an historic moment for Australia. As a result of our reform, new mums and dads will receive up to 18 weeks government funded paid parental leave. It is big news for Australian families and it is great news for the working families in my electorate of Solomon, in the Darwin and Palmerston areas. I am very proud to be a member of the Rudd government because—make no mistake about this—it is the only government that has shown the commitment to introduce a paid parental leave scheme across Australia. It was all very well for those opposite to talk about a paid parental leave scheme for the last 12 years they were in government. If they were fair dinkum about it, they would have introduced it. However, it was probably something they were going to get to in their 13th year, similar to climate change.

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