Monday, August 19, 2013

Abbott's maternity leave

I'll confess that I haven't voted Labor for a couple of decades. I went with the Democrats for a while, until they went a bit potty, then I switched to Liberal when Howard took over. In the last election I couldn't vote Liberal as the candidate was a bit of a, well, I didn't like him at all.

Technically, I'm what you would label "working class". I raised a family and paid a small (in the scheme of things) mortgage on one income and whatever benefits governments threw at us. My parents would argue that, being working class, Labor is the only party to vote for, but I think Labor abandoned the "working class" over 20 years ago.

With Labor, these days, it always seems to be about the Labor Party. They seem to spend more time working out how to run the party than they do running the country.

But the coming election has thrown out a challenge.

Tony Abbott wants to pay unprecedented levels of welfare, tens of thousands of dollars over a matter of months, to wealthy families. Middle-income families will get less of that payment and low income families will receive the minimal amount of welfare on offer. Families who don't have a baby after the qualifying period will get none of it.

Qualifying dates always pose a bit problem if you happen to meet the criteria before the program commences - but it's not usually to the tune of $75,000 - plus superannuation entitlements - per family.

I know Abbott has a problem in being perceived as hating women - but $75,000 to have a baby... but only if you're wealthy already?!?

I've tried to fathom how it makes sense for a conservative government to splash this sort of cash around, at the same time as they're complaining about Labor's cash-splashes on things like families' education costs, and I just don't get it.

The existing "cash splash" School Kids Bonus, that Abbott intends to abolish, is around $800 a year per high school kid. So it would take a family 93 years of bonuses - that's ninety three years - before they received the sort of money Abbott wants to throw at a wealthy family for a six month period. Kids only go to school for 12 years - and the bonus for the first seven of those is only $400 a year. That's a grand total of $6800 over 12 years if the scheme remains unchanged.

Is this some new definition of "welfare state" of which I've not been made aware?


wombatwal said...

G'day Andy, long time no see.
I have not voted Labor since 1983. I also voted Democrats untill they fell off the tracks.
I will be voting Labor for the first time in 30 years, because.
Conservative's broadband policy, outdated now, let alone when it is finished.
Tony Abbott,bad.
Conservatives big budget black hole,bad.
Conservatives carbon abatement plan,bad.
Paid Parental leave scheme too expensive and more middle class welfare, bad.
Conservatives abolishing means test for Private Health Insurance rebate, more middle class welfare, bad.
Labor not inspiring at all, but GONSKI, NDIS, NBN, good.

Andy said...

Hey Wal,

Yeah, I'm really stumped. Labor haven't exactly endeared themselves in the last two terms. I could blame the hung parliament for a lot of their problems - but Gillard ousted Rudd when they had control of the House, so it doesn't quite wash for me.

And I'm not seeing any reason to vote Liberal except for them not being Labor.

In the regions (WA at least), the Libs seem to be targeting their campaign against their coalition colleagues, the Nationals, claiming if you want Liberal policies, you won't get them from the Nats. That really fills me with confidence that they will play well together in government.

I don't have a huge problem with middle-class welfare, per se, but I see this ML plan as upper-class welfare.