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

That is right. Thank you for the interjection, Parliamentary Secretary. He too would have worked long and hard on this particular bill.

So the common theme in everything that the Leader of the Opposition said is changing the government. There is no substance to what he said and he would not even guarantee that the boats would stop. There is no substance to what the Leader of the Opposition says. He has no credibility whatsoever when it comes to paid parental leave, and that was picked up in the policy that he introduced on 9 March while he was riding up the hill in his lycra. It was picked up on by the CEO of the Australian Industry Group, Heather Ridout, in an interview that she did about this. In referring to the Leader of the Opposition’s policy, she said:

… on any measure this is bad parental leave policy and it’s bad tax policy.

Well from a parental leave perspective it puts a huge cost on big companies. It will be anti the employment of women. It will be—it’ll cause a bias towards the employment of men.

In terms of tax policy, it will deter investment in the sense that we already have in Australia a high reliance on capital taxes such as company tax compared to other countries.

In terms of tax policy, it will deter investment in the sense that we already have in Australia a high reliance on capital taxes such as company tax compared to other countries.

And small medium sized economies like ours are reducing their company tax rate and not putting it up. That will—putting it up will deter investment into Australia and particularly into sectors that aren’t going to be the big darlings of the mining boom.

We just can’t afford this kind of operation, so on any measure it’s a poor policy.

I will finish off with this last quote from Heather, when she said what she thought of the opposition’s policy:

It is a most inequitable scheme and I don’t know who thought it up, but they’re not a rocket scientist.

That just about sums up the Leader of the Opposition: surely not a rocket scientist, and we all know that.

Be careful, I say to the working women of Australia and their partners. Be very careful when it comes to paid parental leave schemes being put forward by this Leader of the Opposition. He did absolutely nothing as a cabinet minister for 11 years. In 2002 he said, ‘Over my dead body will I ever be part of a paid parental leave scheme,’ and then he came into this place and decided he was going to slug business with it by putting the company tax up by 1.7 per cent. But we know there is always a hidden agenda with the Leader of the Opposition. No-one falls for it. Not one person in this place falls for it and I know that the Australian public—

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