Senate debates

Thursday, 17 June 2010

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

In Committee

10:58 am

Photo of Ron BoswellRon Boswell (Queensland, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

I have to correct something that Senator Evans said. Yes, I made a plea for small business and I also made a plea for business. This is not only going to affect small business. I read out an extract from the Pharmacy Guild saying that one pharmacist estimated the cost for him to have to amend his calculations, his computer and his program at $700. That was just to alter the computers. Seven hundred dollars multiplied by 4,000 is a considerable amount of money, but that is just a start. Then you have to chase things. Mabel is going on paid parental leave and the cheque is not in, so you have to ring up the family unit and chase them, and the girl at the family unit is not there—she has gone on leave or something. It is going to be quite hard.

When you go into places like the building I have my offices in, to take a case in point—say, Minter Ellison, to take a name out of the hat—they would have maybe 200 ladies working there. Some of them, from time to time, will be taking paid parental leave. To say flippantly, as you did, that it is only three per cent or nine per cent or whatever you said, is typical Labor. You do not understand business; none of you have ever run a business. You have all been up through the union ranks. Once we would get the odd worker in here who picked up a shovel by mistake, but you do not get that anymore in the Labor Party. You just get union hacks who have never had any experience running a business. Not one of you over there has ever run a business. You flippantly get some researcher to say, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ The difference now is that you are responsible. We have tried. If you do not put this up, I do not expect it will collectively cost you a lot in votes, because I can never find anyone in small business who has ever voted for you—or anyone who is prepared to admit that they have ever voted for you, although there must be some around. You are not going to lose a lot of small business votes, but you would increase your credibility in the business community.

Senator Hanson-Young says that it is a great concern that a woman gets a cheque from her employer. I would suggest, Senator Hanson-Young, that this may affect you but most women would say: ‘As long as I get that cheque—I don’t care whether it’s from the employer or the government—it’s not going to worry me. As long as I have that cheque, as long as I can put it in the bank, as long as I can go on my leave, I’m okay.’ We are double dipping and double handling for no apparent reason other than to say that it is a benefit. It is a benefit, and the benefit is paid by the government. The government has the capacity to fund a woman who is going on maternity leave. The simplicity of that seems to have escaped the Greens, but I would not have thought it would escape the members of the government. As for the comments on the leader of the Liberal Party, I find them pretty offensive. I thought you were above that. One cannot really help people who have to go down to that level, but I did not think it would be you, Senator Hanson-Young.


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