IF YOU are going to tax the top 3000 companies in Australia an extra $6.1 billion dollars a year, there would have to be something better to do with the money than to give $75,000 to women, going on maternity leave, who are already earning more than $150,000 a year! Certainly a reasonable support mechanism for parental leave is warranted but not one that discriminates between wage earning classes while also cutting off the option of the ‘stay at home dad’.
It’s also a system that does nothing for the farmers and the thousands of self-employed small business operators who might also like to take time away from work to have a baby – heaven forbid. The fact is that the companies that have been targeted by this poorly thought-out policy are the ones best able to shift their operations overseas or find other ways to avoid yet another tax on their Australian operations. What we need in this country, if business operators are to go ahead and employ more people is less taxes, less red tape and costly government bureaucracy and more certainty about trading conditions. Apparently very few people in Mr Abbott’s own party wanted this policy in its present form but the leader insisted. If this is true heaven help us if Mr Abbott is elected and the others in the party haven’t got the guts to stand up to him.
On his side, the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is no better. First he tried to kill off the auto industry by cracking down on fringe benefit arrangements, then he tried to paper over the problems with a $500 million sweetener but the latest is that this handout is no certainty. It’s not a good sign of what we can expect after September 7 either way. It’s time for politicians of all persuasions to get back to the basics and one of the places both major parties should start is by bringing their own local representatives into the conversation. OK, there are some pretty strange MPs representing us in Canberra these days but the majority are well-rooted in their own communities and hear the sorts of things that concern people most on a daily basis – job security, the cost of living increases, lack of housing affordability, access to health care, cost of dental services, cost of tertiary education and so on.
A lot of the problems we have been having in Federal politics of late revolves around the amount of power the parliamentary parties are allowing their leaders to have which extends into a presidential-style campaign also focusing on the leaders. But the fact is that our system is nothing like the US system, thank goodness, and the sooner we get back to electing a party of MPs to govern and not just Kevin or Julia or Tony on their own, relying on their own limited wits, the better.