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ACTU analysis of major parties policies shows Coalition is worse for women and families: one policy is not enough

19 August 2013 By ACTU

ACTU calls for greater emphasis on addressing what matters to women and families as analysis of the two major parties shows women and families fare better under Labor and the Coalition's one policy would only minimally address the major issues.

The analysis compared policies around paid parental leave, time to care, equal pay, discrimination, financial barriers, childcare, equal opportunity at work and how the parties have acted to address these issues.

"There is still a long way to go before we can say that there is equality in the workforce," said ACTU president Ged Kearney. "Women across every occupational group still earn less than men, and families – particularly mothers – still struggle to find enough time to work and care."

"The paid parental leave scheme is a very welcome addition to Australian workplaces, but alone it does not go far enough in addressing the significant inequalities and barriers women face."

"Any political party genuinely serious about women and families would be addressing more than one policy."

"What about discrimination, wage inequality, getting time off work to care for your sick child without losing your job?" Ms Kearney said

"Many women lose their job, are demoted or miss out on opportunities because they are pregnant. It's fine to have a paid parental leave scheme but for those one in five women discriminated against it may not be much help," Ms Kearney said.

Tony Abbott is quoted in the news recently saying their paid parental leave scheme proves they 'get it' when it comes to the reality of the contemporary woman and contemporary families.

"The Coalition and Tony Abbott are either being deceptive or they don't understand the real pressures women and families face.

"Why else would they be planning to scrap the superannuation rebate for low paid workers, mostly women, who already retire with so much less?"

"Why did the Coalition vote against reforms to improve equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws and attempted to amend the WGE Act to water down employer reporting requirements?

"Ultimately the funding for this scheme will come out of the pockets of low income super accounts and cuts to the public sector. This is a very expensive scheme and there are winners and losers."

"Labor have taken some steps towards creating equality and access while the Coalition has actively obstructed policies that would help women in the workforce."

Ms Kearney said unions challenged the Coalition to back up it's rhetoric with genuine policy. "A one trick pony approach is not enough. Before the election, outline to the public how you will deal with workforce obstacles faced by women and families trying to do the best they can to manage in an environment of job insecurity, discrimination and significant wage disparity."

Contact: Ben Ruse 0409 510 879 or Eleni Hale 0418 793 885

Comparison Report is also available on the ACTU Website here or contact Eleni Hale.

Contact Details
Name: David Smith, ASU National Secretary
Telephone: 03 9342 1400
More info: ASU Federal Election 2013 Resources Webpage