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Canberra gaze: a "political debate" « Previous | |Next »
March 10, 2010

I watched Question Time in Parliament yesterday to check out what was going on in the political debate and I was taken back by the Coalition's tactics. There were lots of questions about paid-parental leave that highlighted how generous the Coalition's scheme to give up to $75,000 to parents who stay at home for six months was in contrast with the Rudd Government's stingy and mealy mouthed one. The questions probing the limits of the health and hospitals reform plan and the national educational curriculum were minimal.


So the Coalition's strategy messing with the system by throwing anything at the Rudd Government that comes to hand continues. It doesn't matter about the contradictions --introducing a big tax when the promise is no new taxes---as it is about getting noticed and destabilisation with whatever-it-takes to oppose the Rudd Government on everything.

The strategy is to wedge Labor---''supporting big business over working families'' is the new talking point--- and to win back female voters who have been deserting the Coalition.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:55 AM | | Comments (14)


What the Liberal Party---oops Abbott---is proposing is a generous (and progressive) paid parental leave scheme (working parents entitled to six months' fully paid leave), that is to be funded by the big end of town. It's not what you'd expect from them, given their traditional social-conservative values.

Abbott's policy means that he stands for bigger government and higher taxes.

Turns out Abbott was the only one in his party who knew about the parental leave 'policy' when he announced it. The Liberals don't have a strategy, just a continuous stream of consciousness that sometimes looks like tactics.

Not only does this proposal uncharacteristically slug business, it also maintains income inequality, and there's no mention of what payment casual and part timers would get. The inference is that the babies of poor people are, what? cheaper to maintain? Less cute? Less worthy?

A few more off the cuff announcements like this and the people who said Abbott would be the Liberals' Mark Latham will be vindicated.

I think it is a little over generous of the Abbotteral Party. Business is annoyed and so are others in the party and rightly so. But thinking about it genetically its a better idea for long term australia to encourage women that have the ability to get jobs to have children rather than the baby bonus scheme that encourages those from the lower gene pool to breed.
Australia needs babies so its a matter of getting them from the best local suppliers. Importing is a good quick method but it comes with other issues,cost factors, housing,jobs and ethnic problems.

Will the Coalition+Fielding say no no no to the Government's parental leave legislation when it comes to the Senate? They appear to be saying no no no to other major reform legislation----eg., private health insurance rebate amendments and emissions trading scheme.

The Senate could use the Coalition's more generous parental leave scheme as leverage to make the Rudd Government's scheme better.


Yes, they could, but what is the likelihood of that? The political reality is that, as Les points out, the coalition is Abbott's, and Abbott's opposition opposes, regardless.


With their group ministerial performance today, the ALP have begun pointing to the obstructionism and the problems that's going to cause for the budget and, consequently, the deficit the Libs love harping on about. It's a good point, and between Abbott, Hockey and Barnaby, the opposition don't have anyone to effectively challenge it.

Peter: and by "more generous", you meant "more generous to those that are already well off, but not to businesses", amirite.

the cross bench Senators and The Greens could ensure that those working families on low incomes got good parental leave. The Coalition's proposal has no chance of becoming law.

I understand that the Greens, independent senator Nick Xenophon and Family First's Steve Fielding plan amendments to extend Labor's scheme from 18 to 26 weeks, and add superannuation payments. The Coalition should support an amended version of the Labor legislation if it wants to appeal to working mothers.

This is the Senate doing its job----improving government legislation by making it better.

at some point before the election the no no no Abbott destablizing strategy has to develop some positive themes/positions/policies that appeal to the middle ground rather than motivate the social cpnservative base.

65% of the gross wage for the first 6 months and then reduced to what would be somewhere near to family payments till the woman returns to work is a better plan. There would need to be a reduction in that percentage for women that had other children before returning to work. Might start a bit of a boom. Its needed.

The bill to split Telstra's wholesale operations from its retail business to help pave the way for the establishment of the $43 billion broadband network has been introduced into the Senate.

It also looks as if it will be rejected by the Coalition and Fielding.

I agree with those commentators who say that the tactics behind Abbott's generous parental leave scheme was to change the political debate away from Rudd's chosen ground of health.


The parental leave scheme announcement probably was intended to shift the ground of debate, and it did. For this week. An election year is a long time though.

What I can't understand is why Rudd does these big topic things in such rapid succession that the messages get lost. See how quickly talk of the national curriculum evaporated? I'm having trouble spotting the strategic logic here.

It does look as if the Senate could work to extend the government's proposed $260 million parental leave scheme from 18 to 26 weeks.