Eva Cox

on Thursday, 03 May 2012. Posted in Gillard Election 2010 Campaign

Eva Cox

Eva Cox AO is the Chair of the Women's Electoral Lobby. She was born Eva Hauser inViennain 1938, and was soon declared stateless by Hitler so grew up as a refugee inEngland, till 1946,Italyand thenAustraliafrom age 10. She remembers being cross in Kindergarten that boys were offered drums, and girls the tambourine or triangle. All these early experiences primed her political activism and made her an irrepressible advocate for creating more civil societies. She is an unabashed feminist and passionately promotes inclusive, diverse and equitable communities. Her 1996 book (Leading Women) explained why women who made a difference were usually labelled as difficult.

She has been an academic, political adviser, public servant, and runs a small research consultancy. A sociologist by trade, she has published widely and eclectically in books, journals and newspapers. Now a Research Fellow at Jumbunna Aboriginal House of Learning at UTS, Eva has been recognised in various ways: Australian Humanist of the Year, a Distinguished Alumnus at UNSW, and was the ABC Boyer Lecturer (1995) on social capital and making societies more civil. She also stirs through being a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development, a Research Fellow at Jumbunna (UTS) and the Chair of WEL Australia (Women’s Electoral Lobby).

Commentaries by Eva Cox

18 August 2010

Read WEL Policy Statements Before You Vote

In my role as Chair of Women's Electoral Lobby Australia I want to invite you to look at our website by Thursday and check out our policy assessments (wel.org.au). The election is now very close and we are asking you to consider is who is more likely to make Australia fairer?

WEL examined a series of policy areas to asses whether they improve some of the inequities that still face women. For example, unequal pay and blokey workplace cultures are both areas that need change and are useful indicators of wider problems.

Think carefully about both your votes. When we go into a booth, we fill in two ballot papers, one for the House of Representative, one for the Senate. Many of us vote differently because no one party meets our criteria. The Senate ticket offers us two ways of voting; above the line and let the candidate party decide your preferences, or below the line and decide where your vote may go, if not used by your first preference. Some candidates hedge their bets by lodging more than one preference allocation. In NSW, for instance, Cheryl Kernot, the Democrats and Carers have split their preferences equally between Labor and Coalition. This pattern is similar in most other states and territories. So check to ensure that your preferences will go where you want them to.

Candidates’ preferences are important because the senate is where the Greens are likely to hold the balance of power, which only works when the Government and Opposition fail to agree. Having the Greens there is likely to be important in many of the areas WEL has identified as key gender equity issues. Their approaches generally rate better against feminist and fairness criteria, as shown in policy evaluations by the Equal Rights Alliance

It is on next Saturday, and the question we are asking you to consider is who is more likely to make Australia fairer?

We have examined a series of policy areas to asses whether they improve some of the inequities that still face women. For example, unequal pay and blokey workplace cultures are both areas that need change and are useful indicators of wider problems.

When we go into a booth, we fill in our votes: two ballot papers, one for the House of Representative, one for the Senate. Many of us vote differently because no one party meets our criteria. The Senate ticket offers us two ways of voting; above the line and let the candidate party decide your preferences, or below the line and decide where your vote may go, if not used by your first preference. Some candidates hedge their bets by lodging more than one preference allocation. In NSW, for instance, Cheryl Kernot, the Democrats and Carers have split their preferences equally between Labor and Coalition. This pattern is similar in most other states and territories. So check to ensure that your preferences will go where you want them to.

Candidates’ preferences are important because the senate is where the Greens are likely to hold the balance of power, which only works when the Government and Opposition fail to agree. Having the Greens there is likely to be important in many of the areas WEL has identified as key gender equity issues. Their approaches generally rate better against feminist and fairness criteria, as shown in policy evaluations by the Equal Rights Alliance and Health Reform Alliance. Our own feminist framework assessments will be available shortly and will show similar trends. On the other hand, The Australian Christian Lobby gave the Greens the lowest ranking!

Assessing complex policies briefly is hard. However, when the various scores show a broad consensus amongst groups who want a fairer Australia for all, including gender issues, it becomes very credible. The choice between the two major parties is closer. The ALP has, in most areas, an edge because it addresses issue like equal pay and workplace cultures and has some fairness runs on the board over the last two plus years. The Coalition still carries the weight of its many omissions when in power.

Both major parties have a wide deficit on policies offered for fixing social disadvantages by remedying the structural inequalities that create them. Their emphasis has been on making financial offers and penalties for those who fail to improve their lot. Whoever becomes the government next week has not offered the voters the types of society we may want to live in based on fairness for all; but just an economy driven by fear and self interest. They claim we get the government we deserve so we need to engage in future political activities and make sure we deserve a better government than the present ones on offer, This election may need to be the start of changing the social policy agenda of the government in power.

So read our policy assessments in the next couple of days and think WEL before you vote!


4 July 2010

The Election and Leadership

Feminism is on the agenda because of the way many aspects of the election campaign is playing out. There have been many articles, some good, some mixed and some appalling. What is also interesting, in fact more interesting, are the types of comments that people post on those that allow comments. Annabel Crabb on the ABC Drum site had a good feminist analysis of what was happening but their were many very anti comments, including the accusation that she was a feminist, as though this was a serious insult. There are still too many threatened men out there who fear powerful women.

When I listened to Julia Gillard’s media conference on the ‘leaks’, it added another dimension to the media campaign about Gillard, the woman. She was putting herself up as the tough, no nonsense pragmatist who clearly assessed every policy proposal on its affordability. This approach therefore made a virtue of her questioning the costs versus benefits of both the pension rise and parental leave as value for money.

It was an interesting approach given the gender undertones of much of this campaign. The PM was pitching her virtue as a highly financial value driven decision maker who was there to protect the hard earned tax paid by decent hard working taxpayers. Given the two programs in question are from the doubly soft areas of welfare and women, support for them also fits the limited stereotype of women as more caring politicians. The attacks were obviously designed to add to the ‘evidence’ that Julia Gillard is in no way feminine or feminist. She was condemned implicitly as a women not supporting the sisterhood’s one major political victory nor responding to needs of the many older single women on pensions.

Gillard’s response was very clearly designed to avoid that limiting trap by saying she obviously supported the need to address these issues but only if they passed the value for money test. This support for prioritising the financial bottom model of policy is one many feminists, myself included, claim undervalue fairness and social needs. However, these are the dominant views and that makes it particularly hard for ambitious women to reject such views. We should not condemn women supporting such views any more than we would judge men who do.

It is a great temptation to demand that women in positions of power act differently to men but hopefully en mass, they are more likely to add diversity. We are not genetically programmed to be nicer, but we are often raised differently and experience expectations of behaviour that may make us more aware of the social and collective needs of others. Some women will recognise these differences and avoid them, like Gillard has by deciding not to have children but this is a choice we should not have to make.

We cannot put expectations on each individual woman in powerful positions to take on these battles because the responsibility is on all of us to change cultures, not just numbers in decision making positions. So we should not put women in leadership positions under additional pressure because they conform with current dominant views. Recognise that change agents rarely make it into these positions because they are easily weeded out. By applying doubly jeopardy to senior women, we both make them less able to make any such changes or feel as though they should do so.

I am very concerned that women voters may judge her performance and criticise it just because she is a woman saying it. If the PM’s stance on prioritising financial criteria turns off some women voters because they come from a woman, then she will be unfairly judged.

All of this shows that gender is a very difficult issue to factor in because it is still a relative rarity. Not giving extra points just for being a woman is one side of the equation and not adding extra judgements for not acting like a stereotype is another. But for those voters who find little party based difference between policies or performance, gender may be a legitimate decider, not a prejudice.

 


18 July 2010 

A big feminist challenge – how to judge our first female PM?

The election is on and in its process, many of us will be asked how we judge our first female Prime Minister and the government she leads. Three weeks plus into the new PM‘s reign, it is already hard to remember the media frenzy, asking whether the change on June 24 made the earth move for women. I was repeatedly asked by journos whether this was the revolution we had expected. I reminded them that we had seen many other examples of first women achieving positions of power but who were not followed by another women, for example Maggie Thatcher, Carmen Lawrence, and Joan Kirner.

We have had the expected hype, followed by predictable intense interest in the ‘social’ side: the first man consort, the hair, the clothing and other questions that would not have interested the media, had the coup been led by a man. More interesting is the attempts to decide whether the activities and utterances of a female Prime Minister can be assessed on the same way as her male equivalents. There has been speculation that attacking her would be seen as much more problematic than similar action to an equivalent male. There has also been concern about whether she would be punished by an electorate for being the coup victor.

For feminists the questions became more difficult. A draft congratulatory letter from one organisation went backwards and forwards because the descriptor ‘tough’ was seen by one member as negative and by another as positive. There are long term concerns about models of feminine/feminist leadership that tend to push ‘softer’ attributes as suitable for more feminine models and therefore promoting essentialist views of women contributing more feminine skills in management. This divide has a number of traps.

And now the questions will come about how will women vote and whether Julia’s gender will make a difference. The answer needs to be that women do not vote as a block but some may vote solely on wanting to see the first women PM continue. I can sympathise with that; I’m still doing a pleasurable slight double take when I hear the radio stating ‘The PM said ….followed by ‘She’…I share the tensions that many public feminists will feel about being publicly critical of some aspects of Gillard’s performance. I am also aware of those who have different views who may feel they must be more critical of Gillard for presumed breaches of feminist sensibilities, such as not being supportive of feminist issues or being seen as tough rather than femininely soft.

However, elections are serious business and I’m also assessing the content of policies offered by the new leader. She leads a party with a range of policies that need to be examined to see whether they affect gender fairness. She has also asked not to be judged on who she is, but on what she does, or presumably promises to do, so that suits me.

We pushed for more women in leadership, not just on equality grounds but because we wanted to see definitions of good leadership expanded military command and control models to more consultative inclusive models from community and family experiences. These changes were about better leadership options but not about essentialist femininity rather expanding experiences of other models that work. Leadership skills need to be assessed on appropriateness to the demands of the roles not on their DNA. Attributing sets of skills to one gender or another becomes a trap and that is the danger we face in dealing with both a new female PM and election.

If I am not to discriminate, either towards her or against her, I must avoid treating her differently because she is a woman. I should make my judgements on her performance as if she were Wayne Swan, or some other equally ambitious replacement leader. Equal opportunity is about NOT putting gender into the judgement mix, unless it is a necessary part of the process under consideration. Too often I have heard people passing skewed judgements on various public figures by making assumptions about what someone of that gender should or should not have said or done in that situation.

Her election manifesto speech was long on rhetoric about hard work and moving forward together, She wants to bid for our trust and confidence but has not yet given us much to indicate why we should believe her. I am waiting to see what solutions her party will offer to remedy the fragmentation that allows policies on a few thousand asylum seekers to draw so much anger and attention. I want to see more remedies to inequalities than platitudes about educational efforts being the key to everything. Women do well in educational outcomes but over-all it hasn’t been followed by equal access to wealth and power.

On the other hand, I suspect the Coalition will fail to engage in more attractive feminist policies overall, despite their paid parental leave pitch! They have to carry all that Howard baggage on work choices etc.

 


4 July 2010 

What is a Feminist Policy Framework?

Feminism covers a range of viewpoints and there are many definitions both positive and negative. I like Rebecca West statement that feminism was about not being a doormat, in other words that diverse viewpoints, skills and interests that are identified as feminine spheres attributed to women given similar weight to those that are seen as masculine. It is interesting how few areas of activities are not gender defined, that is seen as mainly male activities or interests, or as female ones. So, while the last 40 years has seen more women in paid work and even as primary breadwinners, workplaces still operate on male type rules. Similarly household work is still seen as the female domain even if more men now take it on, or more often ‘help. However total hours of work end up as similar.

Therefore policies will still differentially affect males and females because a mix of assumptions and choices mean that our allocation of time and skills is often still gender based. Women are likely to spend less time in the paid workforce, be paid less for feminised jobs and do more unpaid work. Therefore policies often unfairly support or penalise particular activities or non activities.

Feminism is about a fair go for women, which can acknowledge differences but not unfairly punish feminised choices and responsibilities. Feminist policy frameworks look at all policies, not just those targeted to women to see whether they do differentially affect men and women, and whether the difference is unfair.

Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) is working on a template to assess all policies on this basis for the coming elections. The basic principles are still being drafted and will cover existing policies and those on offer to assess whether they:

· Fairly and equitably distribute both the costs and benefits of policy processes and outcomes

· Enhance opportunities for both women and men to participate in all aspects of work, education and social life, free of sex based prejudice and assumptions

· Value and reward fairly the different types of skills, abilities and credentials that are necessary (and applied) in paid and unpaid work

· Allocate rights and responsibilities to be shared fairly and redress past and current inequalities between men and women

· Make sure the benefits of change are equitably shared between women, so no one is exploited or left behind.

We are looking for volunteers to assist in these tasks so, if you are interested please contact me (eva.cox@uts.edu.au">) or Kathleen Swinbourne who is co-ordinating our elections strategy ametista@optusnet.com.au"> .

 


18 June 2010 

Recognising Merit

We are looking for volunteers to assist in these tasks so, if you are interested please contact me

159 Women recognised in Queen’s Birthday 2010 Honours List but only one out of five in the top category and about a quarter in the next category. More appeared in the lower level ones but even so, the total percentage of women was a mere 34%. Is it that women do not deserve at least the same levels of recognition as men for the contributions we make, or is it that what we do is still not considered important by us and others? The SMH reported that 70% of women nominees were successful as against a lower proportion of men, so the overall quality of applicants is not lacking.

However, the figures illustrate two problems which are related: one is there are always fewer women recipients of the higher levels of recognition that is the Companion (AC) and the Officer (AO). The levels are at the discretion of the selection committee, I have said for years that their judgement tends to mirror the wider prejudice and assumptions about what is important and what is not. So the ‘softer’ contributions, not infrastructure, business or other male valued roles, tend to be classified at the lower levels of Member etc. Incidentally, I scored an AO some 15 years ago, maybe because I had raised this type of issue then before knowing I was nominated. But the bias remains.

Secondly, the above bias trends to affect the overall evaluation of merit and contributions. Fewer women see the higher value of what we do more of and so fewer are nominated. How much of that is because the nominee does not see the merit, versus that others do not see the need to nominate them is unclear. To give successive governments their due, they have run campaigns to increase female nominations but these still lag well behind. Given the success rates are higher for women I suspect that female nominations are about a quarter of male ones.

I wonder how many women are nominated by other women, vis a vis how many men nominate women? How many women nominate men? Maybe not all that many but I bet they do most of the grunt work in nominations. Maybe more men have female assistants that can help put the documentation together.

Maybe we can encourage more women to put in the time necessary to nominate other women, but that will not work on its own.

I think the whole problem comes back to the same one that affects so much of what we do, starting with unequal pay rates and other forms of gendered prejudice. Being active in community, care and other feminised areas such as children and relationships is not valued as highly as being in business and finance. Till we change what is valued, the feminised skills, commitments and very important social maintenance will continue to be undervalued by not only men but too many other women.

Minister Plibersek can say “I encourage everyone to consider nominating a woman they know and admire, and who has made outstanding contributions to the wellbeing of others, for public recognition in the future.” We will be watching for election policies to that tackle the wider undervaluing of women’s contributions as underlying causes of the gap.

 


4 June 2010 

How to discourage more mothers from combining work and family: CHILD CARE COSTS, HENRY REVIEW, SHARMAN STONE

Despite the Henry Review suggesting that increased workforce participation for mothers of young children was crucial, and other reports supporting this need, the government and opposition are giving anti signals. The opposition’s decision not to oppose the Budget cuts to the child care tax rebate signals a rare confluence of views. It seems it’s OK to reduce the rebate just as costs are going up because of higher government staffing standards.

Sharman Stone, according to The Age, said on May 12: "I can assure you we are not going to want to do anything that makes it even harder for families to afford good quality childcare.'' But the report claims she was rolled by the economic hard heads in the shadow cabinet, who wanted the $86 million in savings.

The sum shows that the costs of care will rise substantially for quite a few parents over the next few years, not the trickle of wealthy mums the Treasurer suggested. The decision also sits oddly with the pious statements by coalition front benchers supporting their version of paid parental leave, as recognising the needs of mothers in paid work.

Taken together with the cuts in capital for new child care centres and the lack of action on other Henry proposals to increase the attractiveness of participation, the government doesn’t look very enthused about working mothers. They also refused the Henry proposal to get rid of the absurdity of a payment to single-income partnered parents, Family Tax benefit B. They are hanging their hat on the somewhat flawed but only feasible paid parental leave payment. As it is not a leave payment as such, this is a wobbly hook and there are many future problems to solve.

The coalition is not appearing as a great defender of the rights of working mothers or preschoolers. They are offering a very extravagant version of parental leave, which sits so oddly with their anti-great big tax stand so one wonders whether it will ever appear. There are suggestions of generous rises in the baby bonus to compensate for the extra money for working parents, which will be expensive, and apart from that they have bad forms in the past.

The coalition's latest about-face suggests their support in this area is very thin indeed.

 


18 May 2010 

Boring boy stuff dominates this budget

Boring boy stuff dominates this budget: lots of money for road and rail, big bucks for the super industry, and more public subsidies to boost retirement income of the better off, but very little for what may be seen as social infrastructure. Those who gained and lost illustrate the lack of concern this government really has for their version of ‘working families’.

Why give tax cuts to those with up to $20,000 in the bank, just because the other people can fiddle their taxes with inequitable CGT and super concessions?

Why peg the small co-payment to low income super contributors at $1,000, when it was cut from $1,500 as a temporary saving last year? Super is very much a rich man’s tax avoidance scheme and this small boost, used by many women, has now been permanently reduced. (savings $800M)

Why tighten up the eligibility rules for Disability Support Pensions, just when many sole parents, who manage both parenting and disability, move from Parenting payments?? How will they cope with demands that they find paid work and maybe lose eligibility under new rules? ($383M)

There is nothing for those on welfare benefits such as the unemployed, even though they now trail pensioners by up to $100 per week. There are assumptions that with training they will get jobs but ignore the difficulties faced by older people, those with minor disabilities or sole parents. Many who lost jobs in the last couple of years are still looking and can’t live on the money available.

There is little there for women who try and balance work and family pressures. Nor is there any commitment to making changes to entrenched inequalities like low wages paid in care areas to mainly women workers. There is no allocation of extra funding for workers in aged care or community services who currently have cases under the Fair Work Act.

Why cut the child care tax rebate back to $7500 and remove indexation, including the current year’s grant, when fees are rising because of unfunded quality demands?

Child care rebates will be slashed for 72,000 families, who stand to lose up to $280 next year and up to $1085 in 2013. for savings $86M

Why cut out the $1500 start up grant for new Family Day Care, which is already having difficulty recruiting carers? $15M

Why is the only mention of the time pressures and work life balance Wayne Swan’s description of the “tick and flick” tax returns system as ‘This means less time with the Tax Pack and more times with loved ones,”

Why cuts staff at the Family Court: to save $10.5m over four years by not proceeding with filling four vacancies for judicial officers and claiming an unlikely ‘expected reduction in the workload and improved administrative systems’, Waiting times are already very long.

The extra funding for training is tightly targeted to employer needs, which suggests questions of gender, community obligations and needs or common good issues will not be part of VET priorities.

This no frills budget managed to find some unworthy goodies for those the government wants to woo. They need to remember that there are increasing numbers of voters who have been Labor supporters and now don’t trust the government. Little in this budget will please them, even if the budget is praised by economics commentators. Most of them, as wealthy males, vote Liberal anyhow!

Good things (that took a while to find!)

Extra money for budget based child care, upgrading skills etc $59M

Extra Legal aid, (but cuts in family relationship services) including for Indigenous services



4 May 2010

Henry Review


The response from the government to the Henry Review is disappointing in both its omissions and commissions. The Government has only taken up one recommendation, in full, the rent resource tax, and either rejected or not responded to the other 137. This means we have not seen any acknowledgement of the areas that would have benefited women, eg facilitating higher female workforce participation through more affordable care and better integration of the tax and welfare payment systems.

The other major measure announced, raising the super guarantee level to 12% actually is in neither in the Henry report, or supported by it in any way. This is a sop to the super industry and the ACTU, and a return to Paul Keating's dream. It ignores the serious questions of equity that make extra super not particularly desirable for those on low and intermittent incomes. The small rebate system of 'up to $500 p.a.' for those earning under $37,000 is a small, inadequate compensation for the tax disadvantages of the super tax concessions. It will just cancel out the 15% tax they pay on contributions, which currently would unfairly exceed their average tax rate, but doesn't give them nearly the 15% to 30% beneficial tax advantage still available to those in the higher tax brackets.

In addition, many of the women who hold these lower level jobs will be less likely to be able to negotiate higher pay rates from employers who want to hold pay rises to fund the admittedly slow but inevitable rises in super. The basis for not raising the super contributions is that lower income earners probably need the extra 3% in wages for expenses now rather than in retirement. So there is little there for those who cannot afford to save. The public subsidies for so called self funded retirees is often still more generous than giving them the aged pension!

The small business changes may benefit the many women in small business but the reduction in company tax will benefit big business and leave less to redistribute. This is a gutless response to an interesting, if not always pleasing tax review that deserved more close attention. Its claims to represent a philosophical statement in fairness and a good tax policy has not been taken seriously, with only one cherry being picked. We await the budget but not with high expectations!



18 April 2010

Feminism and getting there: What can politicians do?

Last weekend more than 500 women and a few men attended a feminist conference in Sydney, run by the F collective. This is a loose group of mainly young women who decided that it was more than 10 years since the last feminist conference, and about time for another. They did it without a formal set of connections between them, or with any sponsoring organisation and without any funding to kick it off.

And it worked! The range that came were mainly young but there was a good representation across the age groups and we had to close registration because we overflowed the numbers the place could hold.

One of the questions asked by conference organisers was ‘Why aren’t we there yet?’ I was on the panel that tried to answer the question. My first response is where is there? We thought we knew in the seventies but in the last 30 years, there have been big changes, both good and bad.

The bad changes were primarily the huge ideological shift in the eighties from social goals to economic ones. Neo-liberalism reduced society to individuals in markets, and assumed progress was increased GDP. This global shift used some of the language of liberation movements such as choice but lost the emphasis in feminism to making systemic change. Now the GFC has undermined the faith in economics, it is time for some new feminist voices.

There have been many changes feminism needs to address: why has paid work intensified? Why are longer hours seen as more productive than shorter ones, despite evidence to the contrary? Why are houses getting bigger as families get smaller? How can new technology make being physically in workplaces less necessary? How do we use these changes to shift the public private divides that define what is important? How do we value care for others, and create ways for the fairer distribution of care and nurture that trap women? How do we recognise that the feelings, obligations, relationships and connections are more important than financial bottom lines? We need to look at policy and changes that explore the more feminised areas of a good society: the feel good factors of relationships, connections, caring, mutuality, sharing, community and communalities.

My version of feminism is therefore aimed at big picture change, not just improving the status of women, vis a vis men. These issues require more than equal opportunity for individual successes. EEO started with assumption that having more women in top positions would make change happen, and it has in small ways, but we failed to allow for the capacity of institutions to protect themselves against those who wanted to change them. So we are now stuck, and have been for some time, relative wages are going backwards and power seems not to move.

We assumed change would come anyhow so compromised by translating our claims into economic language to make those in power pay attention.

We learned how to play by male rules and this is the major reason we are not there yet: most women who make it haven't the power to rewrite the rules and too often just accept the current system.

How do we translate this into an election manifesto?


2 April 2010

Putting the good society back on the agenda

There are many areas of social policy that have been neglected for a long time by governments focusing almost entirely on economic policy making. Policy making too often was tailored to put individual financial success on economic bases first and neglecting the important areas of care and relationships that make life really worthwhile. The so called market model has had 30 plus years of influencing policies and this has meant those areas of life that were not commodified have been neglected. I intend to examine a series of policy areas on the basis that we need to put the social good of our nation back on the policy agenda. This means women need to decide what makes society more civil, inclusive, caring and generous, and stop the worshipping the macho version of GDP

A better deal for sole parents

Why start with sole parents in an election campaign? Because they are nearly all female, often stigmatised and are often good examples of the problems facing women who want to be a good parent and a good worker in an appropriate job. This tension has meant many have relied on parenting payments to support them fully or partially. In 2007, we asked an incoming government to relax some of the nasties the previous government had imposed under welfare to work. Unfortunately little has happened because both the present and last government have seen the problem of sole parents as economic, not social.

So we ask again:

  • That sole parents be allowed to stay on parenting payments until their youngest child turns 12, and not be transferred to Newstart, that pays at least $50 pw week less and cuts out at lower earnings levels.

  • That the Government recognise the problems of part time so relax requirements to seek and take on 15 hours paid work, once the child turns six and recognise study or voluntary child related work instead.

  • That there more funding for out of school care and support for older primary children to provide for sole parent needs.

  • That Family Law changes in child support and shared care be reviewed

In addition, the current government has or will further disadvantage sole parents making it clear that sole parents like the unemployed were seen as a problem group, so could they please stop:

  • Further impoverishing sole parent by increasing the gap between their payments, both Parenting Payment and Newstart, and pension levels.

  • Failing to recognise sole parent needs in the social inclusion agenda such as ex partner difficulties or the prejudices that make employment more difficult.

  • Including them in the categories to be affected under an expanded income management program, assuming that those living in eg the NT, are disorganised and irresponsible unless they can prove otherwise.