major parties show their limits on women’s issues

At Parliament House Sydney last night — when the New South Wales government officially entered caretaker mode —   a theatrette had an almost totally female audience. There were three candidates on the stage, two of whom were ex-journalists — long-term Liberal feminist Pru Goward and the member for Newcastle, the ALP’s Jodi McKay — with Greens activist Cate Faehrmann.

PM’s macho social agenda has balls but no heart

Yesterday the Women’s Budget statement was released. It’s a paean of praise for the virtues of hard work and economic participation, like so much of the rest of the budget, as the paragraphs below show (my bold).

Welfare: government fails its social democracy obligations

This is not a Labor government budget in any serious sense. It does not take from the rich, except in very minor ways, and its redistributive tendencies are almost reversed. By talking interminably about jobs and the unemployed, the prime minister and treasurer disguise  the fact that the budget is all about the mining boom.

Ignoring evidence may explain why the gap does not close

Today the Productivity Commission releases its latest report on overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage, which shows only 13 of 45 measures showed any improvement and seven went backwards. The dismal results, following the recently released finance report on non-progress may add to more blaming of Aboriginal communities but experiences detailed below on the income management program suggest the cause may be government failure to accept evidence or advice that runs counter to a long pattern of inappropriate policy making.

Could cutting sole parent payments cost Australia UN votes?

Forget the misplaced rhetoric, Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme is more generous and sends the right message about women in work. This “hardline feminist” is happy to say so.


It seems odd finding myself in the media spotlight as a “hardline feminist” policy freak because I am supporting one form of paid parental leave over another.

Cox: child care shouldn’t be like dry cleaning, in search of a special offer

How can the federal government spend about $4 billion on child care a year and yet have little or no say in where the services are located or how much they charge? Could it be that a bad dose of neo-liberal market-based funding in the ’90s has undermined what should have been a community service and allowed ideology to override commonsense?


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