Abbott needs to do more on Paid Parental leave - Greens

Any Abbott government paid parental leave scheme must be fully funded by big business, the Australian Greens said today.

Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne said big questions remained over the funding of the scheme as proposed by Tony Abbott.

“Any scheme needs to be fair, affordable and legislated as a workplace right. The scheme would also need to be fully funded by big business, not budget cuts,” Senator Milne said.

“For many years the Greens have been seeking support for paid parental leave as part of our strong commitment to women’s equality through improving women’s rights at work. Tony Abbott is very late to the game and doesn’t have a good history when it comes to support for women. So we don’t take anything on trust and we want to see what he is proposing.

“Despite reports today, no formal proposal has been discussed with the Australian Greens and Tony Abbott needs to show he has the support of his Party Room and his Cabinet. We won’t be able to even consider supporting any scheme until that occurs.

“If Tony Abbott doesn’t have the numbers in his own party to get this through parliament he should stop wasting the nation’s time.”

Australian Greens Deputy Leader and workplace relations spokesperson Adam Bandt said the Greens would stand up to Tony Abbott.

“Tony Abbott’s idea of women’s participation is ‘ladies please bring a plate,” Mr Bandt said.

“The Abbott government needs to put forward a costed scheme, funded by big business, for the parliament to consider. The Greens will not accept one dollar coming from health, education or welfare to fund this scheme.”

“A scheme with a $100,000 threshold could still have a budget shortfall of up to $2 billion.

“To make a scheme budget neutral, it may be necessary to lower the threshold even further, or to raise the big business levy above 1.5%, or to remove the $13 billion in fossil fuel subsidies,” said Mr Bandt.

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