Liberal spin-doctors are working overtime judging by the press announcement of Abbott’s determination to pass his paid parental leave scheme before the new senate forms. The press is reporting that the reason is to ‘challenge Labor’ which seems an odd reason to rush it through, and is not the reason for doing so.
The real reason is that when the new senate is in place, David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democrats who opposes the bill, along with Bob Day from Family first who oppose this legislation, will only need the support of one other senator to block it. As result, Abbott has to make it look like he wants to push it because he has a set of big ones, rather than facing the probability of defeat.
The Australian can reveal the government will not wait until after the new Senate forms next year to get its six-month full replacement wage scheme legislated. Bureaucrats will be ordered to start work on the scheme immediately, with consultations and detail to be worked out in coming months so legislation can be drafted.
Government sources said the scheme was debated every day of the election campaign and the Coalition had secured a clear mandate for the new model. They said the move to accelerate the legislation would set up a significant test for the Labor caucus and the new opposition leader.
A source said Labor would be marked down by the electorate if it chose to block the legislation. But if Labor does choose to oppose what it has labelled a "Rolls-Royce" scheme, Tony Abbott may be forced to negotiate with the Greens, who retain the balance of power in the Senate. Greens leader Christine Milne said her party would push for a reduction in the cap that limits the amount of money each new mother can receive under the Coalition scheme.
"We are looking forward to working with the Coalition to secure a fairer paid parental leave system for Australia," Senator Milne said. …
… The new flagship paid parental leave scheme will cost $5.5 billion a year.The Coalition is promising 26 weeks' pay at the mother's full wage, meaning a woman on the average female full-time salary of $65,000 a year would receive $1250 a week. There is no means test, but no mother can get more than $75,000 - six months of a $150,000-a-year salary.
Fathers would be eligible for two of the 26 weeks at full pay.
Had Abbott had the sense to drop the whole thing as a thought bubble he came up with when he was half cut, or had his cabinet got over their ‘El Presidente’ complex enough to tell him it was a really bad idea, he could have had the best of both worlds.
He could have presented his legislation and had it defeated in the new senate, thus keeping faith with the electorate, while being able to paint the Liberal Democrats, Family First, and anyone else who opposed it, a bunch of mean pricks who want to deny wealthy mothers $75,000 out of the public purse for having a baby.