Paid leave for dads, the Government’s higher priority than for Diggers’ fair military superannuation indexation?

20 Sep 2011

The Defence Family views cynically this latest Government spend for parental leave for fathers ($200 million over five years) when the Government continues to deny Fair Indexation to its 60,000 DFRB/DFRDB military superannuation pensioners at an estimated cost of $20 million pa.

The increasing catalogue of “wasteful” Government expenditure on its “higher priority needs” than to fair indexation of military superannuation pensions is galling to those who were/are willing to serve Australia to the ultimate price – their lives!

Obviously this is one of the higher priority matters that Senator Penny Wong, The Minister for Finance, spoke of in the public debate proposition that  “ Both Major Parties are Failing the Australian People“, held in Melbourne on the 5 April 2011. Listen to her at 54.48 minute for the next nine minutes) speak of the Governments role to govern for the national interest and to prioritise the competing interests of the political parties and interest groups to the national interest. She specifically mentioned the high cost of changed indexation for public servants and military superannuation ($11.95 billion dollars over the period 2011/12 – 2014/15) that had to be weighed against other competing priorities.


Jessica Brown explains why “Paid leave for dads (is) a useless, cynical waste of money” Read it here

“In a patently cynical attempt to relive its past glory, the Gillard government this weekend used Fathers Day to announce that it will extend parental leave to dads.

Back on Mothers Day in 2009, the Rudd government won almost universal plaudits by announcing an 18 week paid parental leave scheme. In 2009, the Productivity Commission handed down its final report on paid parental leave. It recommended working mums be given 18 weeks of parental leave, paid by the taxpayer at the minimum wage. Dads would also qualify for 2 weeks of paternity leave, which could be taken at the same time as the mother but not at the same time as employer-paid leave.

While the government accepted the recommendation for 18 weeks parental leave it sensibly rejected the paternity leave provisions, which were largely symbolic yet added $61 million annually to the bill.

Getting dads more involved in parenting is a noble goal. Unfortunately, there is very little evidence that paid paternity leave will help realise it.

The fly in the ointment is that paternity leave doesnt actually seem to achieve these noble aims. Paternity leave policies are common inEurope. But they havent necessarily led to big changes in the amount of time dads spend with their kids.

A 2003 EU survey found that 75 per cent of dads knew that paternity leave was available, but 84 per cent said they would not take it up. The main reason given was that they couldnt afford it (paternity leave is rarely paid at a fathers full wage; inAustraliait will be paid at the minimum wage). Other dads said they didnt want to interrupt their careers.

In recommending two weeks of paternity leave the Productivity Commission recognised the limited effect that paternity leave has had, admitting that its actual effects on fathers behaviour are likely to be modest. The policy is a triumph of hope over reality.

It is also expensive. Taxpayers will fork out nearly $200 million over five years for a more modest form of paternity leave. That a government whose political credibility is staked on a swift return to surplus should opt for such an expensive piece of symbolism shows just how desperate it is.”