Australian women have been promised policies to help achieve pay equity as the Labor Party makes a last minute pitch to female voters.
Women have been promised new economic measures to help close the pay gap as the Labor Party makes a last minute pitch to female voters.
With less than a fortnight before the May 21 federal election, Anthony Albanese has announced a new set of policies aimed at encouraging women to seek gender pay equity and improve their career options.
Coinciding with Mother’s Day, the Labor leader also announced $11 million in funding for free play groups in rural and regional areas on Sunday.
The investment would also go towards expanding intergenerational playgroups that mix young and old, like those seen on ABC’s TV series “Old People’s Home for 4-year-olds.”
Mr Albanese told reporters the measure was based on research which showed that 90% of human brain development occurs in the first five years of life.
“So it’s really important that we take every opportunity that comes our way,” he said.
“That’s why child care is our biggest budget commitment: $5.4 billion during this campaign.”
The expansion of childcare subsidies is among several policies Labor has targeted at women ahead of this year’s election.
Labor has promised to pass laws to place a ‘positive duty’ on employers to end gender discrimination and sexual harassment and make gender pay equity a goal of the Fair Work Act .
Australian women earn an average of $255.30 or 13.8% less each week than men, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data analyzed by the Commonwealth Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Mr Albanese was asked on Sunday about criticism of his campaign platform by former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, given that he was campaigning in his former Bennelong seat.
The staunch Tory had told the Sunday News Corp tabloids that he thought Labor Party policies lacked substance.
Mr Albanese said Mr Howard was deserving of respect, but was “respectfully not troubled” by his comments.
The Coalition previously made its own Mother’s Day pitch for $53 million in health care for expectant parents and babies.
Albanese said he would match the Coalition’s pledge of $14.4 million to cover the cost of storing eggs, sperm or embryos for people with cancer or those at risk of transmitting diseases or genetic conditions.
Earlier on Sunday, Labor MP Tanya Plibersek would not understand why her party abandoned its 2019 pre-election pledge to pay a superannuation on top of the government-funded paid parental leave scheme.
“It is something that we would look at in government. It’s something we’d love to do when we can afford it,” he told the ABC.
The unions have called for the retirement pension to be added to parental leave to reduce what they call the gender pension gap which sees women retiring on average with far less retirement pension than men.
‘I’ll tell you what makes a difference to the superannuation pay gap…when we make childcare cheaper,’ Ms Plibersek said.
“Women who have been locked out because it’s too expensive…they can earn more, have less time without paid work, they can contribute to their own retirement pension.”
The respective policies of Labor and the Coalition will be under scrutiny on Sunday evening when Mr Albanese and Scott Morrison take part in their second Leaders’ Debate, which will be hosted by Channel 9 and broadcast live.