There are all sorts of influences on people and I guess for me, the principal influences in my life are my wife Margie and my daughters Louise, Frances and Bridget.
I want my three daughters to be able to have real choices, to have careers and families rather than be forced to choose the one or the other, or to have less of a family or less of a career because they had to focus on one more than the other.
The Coalition has always had a strong record of achievement for women and I am proud to lead a Coalition committed to creating more economic opportunity for the women of Australia.
If you make it easier for women to stay in the workforce, obviously you will get higher participation and if you encourage women to stay in the workforce you’ll get higher productivity.
If we are elected to government at the next election, the Coalition will introduce a paid Parental Leave scheme and unlike the scheme the Rudd/Gillard Government introduced, our policy will provide real money to working women.
Eligible women will be offered 26 weeks at their replacement wage. This scheme will enable women to breastfeed their newborn for the recommended period of six months, if that is their choice.
Unlike Labor’s scheme, the Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme includes superannuation which is an important step in addressing the chronic disparity between male and female retirement incomes.
As well as our paid parental leave scheme, we are committed to helping the childcare system become more flexible, affordable and accessible by making it easier for women to participate in the workforce if that is their choice.
Access to affordable childcare is a key component of increasing choice, workforce participation and national productivity. According to the ABS more than 110,000 parents say they can’t access suitable and affordable childcare. The Coalition regards access to adequate child care as an economic issue, not just a family one.
We need a childcare system that is not only responsive and flexible but affordable. We are committed to finding ways to assist parents in finding more affordable childcare wherever they live.
Labor promised to make childcare more affordable but they have not kept their word. In 2011, Labor cut the child care rebate, costing families up to $300 in additional childcare costs per year for each child in care. Affordable, quality childcare is a priority for the Coalition. Since Julia Gillard became Prime Minister child-care costs have gone up by seventeen per cent.
If elected, an incoming Coalition Government would, as a priority, ask the Productivity Commission to consider ways that high quality childcare can be delivered more flexibly to suit the individual circumstances of families.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was also invited to respond and address concerns raised by 954 mothers. She declined our invitation.