Senate debates

Monday, 6 March 2023


Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender Equality) Bill 2022; In Committee

12:33 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

From that, I can infer that you're relying on the $200 million cost and you're making the active decision that the women of Australia are not worth the $200 million to pay for superannuation on their paid parental leave despite the fact that that was a 2019 election promise by the then Labor opposition.

I'm going to move some committee stage amendments now. I seek leave to move Greens amendments (1) to (5) on sheet 1819 together.

Leave granted.

I, also on behalf of Senator Barbara Pocock, move:

(1) Schedule 1, item 2, page 4 (line 13), omit "100", substitute "130".

(2) Schedule 1, item 38, page 13 (line 6), omit "100", substitute "130".

(3) Schedule 1, item 66, page 25 (line 19), omit "90", substitute "120".

(4) Schedule 1, item 66, page 25 (line 31), omit "100", substitute "130".

(5) Schedule 1, item 66, page 26 (line 12), omit "100", substitute "130".


St atement pursuant to the order of the Senate of 26 June 2000

Amendments (3), (4) and (5)

Amendments (3), (4) and (5) are framed as requests because they amend the bill to increase the maximum number of days for which paid parental leave can be paid in relation to a child from 100 days to 130 days.

As this will increase the total amount of paid parental leave that can be paid, the amendments will increase the amount of expenditure under the standing appropriation in section 307 of the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010.

Amendments (1) and (2)

Amendments (1) and (2) are consequential to amendments (3), (4) and (5).

Statement by the Clerk of the Senate pursuant to the order of the Senate of 26 June 2000

Amendments (3), (4) and (5)

If the effect of the amendments is to increase expenditure under the standing appropriation in section 307 of the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 then it is in accordance with the precedents of the Senate that the amendments be moved as requests.

Amendments (1) and (2)

These amendments are consequential on the requests. It is the practice of the Senate that an amendment that is consequential on an amendment framed as a request may also be framed as a request.

I will make some very brief remarks before asking a handful of questions. Australia is the second-worst country in the OECD for paid parental leave equity. That is an embarrassment. Today is an opportunity to redress that. The international best practice for paid parental leave is 52 weeks. It's not a measly 20 weeks. It's not a three-year wait to get to 26 weeks. It's 52 weeks. Also, it has structured 'use it or lose it' provisions and higher rates of pay. That's international best practice. If this government were to axe the unaffordable and unnecessary stage 3 tax cuts for the very wealthy, it could afford to fund a decent Paid Parental Leave scheme that might put Australia towards the front of the pack of the OECD rather than being the second worst of comparable developed nations.

I still don't understand why they're making the decision not to prioritise women. As my colleague said, in another instance, they're robbing Peter to pay Peter, but, in this case, they're just giving yet more money to Peter, and it's Peter who's benefitting because it's men who will mostly be in favour and benefitting from the stage 3 tax cuts. Rather than sticking with that, you could give some money to women and lift the minimum wage; you could pay super on PPL; you could increase the number of weeks that paid parental leave is given to new parents; and, ideally, you could do it at replacement wage or at least look at different models that get it close to replacement wage.

None of that is happening, so the amendments I'm moving today on sheet 1819 will bring forward this promise of 26 weeks. In his closing speech, the minister said that they will legislate that next year, 2024, and it will kick in in 2026. Why are you making women wait? This is good policy. It is a step along the way to, I hope, a 52-week paid parental leave policy, which the ACTU and many other women's groups have been pushing for for years and a move that the Greens would support. Why are you making women wait three more years? Are you crying poor again? It's just not plausible to cry poor when you're handing out those stage 3 tax cuts. People see right through that. They know you are making an active decision to make women wait for three more years. They're not going to like that, I can tell you! Our amendments will ensure that new parents and women, in particular, can benefit from that increase to 26 weeks right away, from 1 July this year, not in three years. I commend the amendment to the chamber.


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