Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation
imageSenator Matt Canavan is leading a backbench push to stand up for stay-at-home parents.AAP/Alan Porritt

With the budget squarely targeted at getting more mothers into work or working extra hours, a group of Coalition backbenchers is forming to fight for the interests of stay-at-home parents.

Its organisers are Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan and ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja. It is likely to number about a dozen and will have its first meeting in the next few weeks when Parliament is sitting.

The move started after Canavan expressed concern about the budget’s proposed trade off between the A$3.5 billion child care package and the Senate passing big savings in family tax benefits (FTB). The Senate would not agree to the FTB savings last year and the measure is set to run into problems this year.

Seselja said he would like the group’s main aim to be seeking to influence next year’s budget and the tax white paper. The concern was “about ensuring single income families get the fairest deal possible in the tax and welfare mix”.

There was an impression in part of the community that too much emphasis was being put on getting mothers into work, he said.

“I don’t have a problem with encouraging people into work. But many families choose to have one parent at home for a significant period – they should not be left behind. I’m concerned to make sure they’re not.”

Seselja said the Howard government’s system of family tax benefits was an attempt to address the problem of single income families but these had been scaled back over time.

Canavan is lobbying to stop family tax benefit B (which goes to sole parents and couples who have one main income) being denied to those whose youngest child is six or over. He’s keeping open the option of crossing the floor on the issue. “I have deep concerns about whether I can support it,” he said. He has also been in touch with crossbenchers who want changes to the measure.

Canavan is also preparing a submission that he will put to the tax white paper inquiry, proposing a form of income sharing based on the recently introduced Canadian model. The Canadian government has combined extra help for child care with an income splitting scheme for families with children, allowing an eligible taxpayer to transfer a certain sum to their lower-earning spouse so it is taxed at a lower rate.

Income splitting has always been shied away from by federal governments, including by John Howard who was sympathetic to the cause of single income families.

Canavan said those promoting the interests of stay-at-home parents didn’t want them subsidised. They wanted their choice to be affordable in relative terms.

Conservative Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who will be in the group, said he didn’t want to see stay-at-home parents disadvantaged more than they were now. “The most productive thing a parent can do it to spend time with their children.”

The balance appeared to have swung too far, Bernardi said. The taxpayer was increasingly subsidising care for children while the working parent also got the benefit of a tax free threshold.

Last week’s budget shows the estimated tax and government assistance for various types of families in 2015-16. A dual income couple (having a 70-30% income split) earning $80,000 with three children (one under six, two aged between six and thirteen) end up with $93,559 disposable income. A single income family with the same circumstances ends up with $85,497.

As the row over the government’s budget cutback to parental leave entitlements continued, Treasurer Joe Hockey made the improbable suggestion that the wives of ministers Mathias Cormann and Josh Frydenberg might have ‘double dipped’ into two schemes without their husbands knowing.

After condemning the present situation as a rort because it (legitimately) allows double dipping, the government was embarrassed when the ministers had to confess their wives had dipped twice.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/coalition-backbenchers-concerned-balance-shifts-too-far-to-dual-income-families-41988

Writers Wanted

My favourite detective: Sam Spade, as hard as nails and the smartest guy in the room


Worried about COVID risk on a flight? Here's what you can do to protect yourself — and how airlines can step up


Fixing Your Bad Credit


The Conversation


Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Business News

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable

InteliCare triple winner at prestigious national technology awards

InteliCare triple winner at prestigious national technology awards Intelicare wins each nominated category and takes out overall category at national technology 2020 iAwards. Company wins overal...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

Arriba Group Founder, Marcella Romero, wins CEO Magazine’s Managing Director of the Year

Founder and Managing Director of the Arriba Group, Marcella Romero, has won Managing Director of the Year at last night’s The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards. The CEO Magazine's Ex...

Lanham Media - avatar Lanham Media

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion