Parental Leave: A Left Wing Turn for the Liberals?

According to media commentary last week our political spectrum has been thrown out of kilter. The liberals are advocating leftist policies of greater magnitude than the left itself.

The confusions arose when Tony Abbott announced he would be granting parental leave to Australians in a scheme to be funded by a great big new tax on great big businesses.

Only adding to my distress was Joe Hockey. It seems he has joined in this left wing turn by making arguments against repressive policing and leaving great big holes in traditional liberal philosophy for great big hash cookies to be driven through. It is all a bit confusing really.
Bob Brown, leader of the party that apparently is the new left, gave a ringing endorsement to Tony Abbott. “Go Tony,” he was reported to have said.

Tony’s plan will see people who are working being able to get the wage they were earning previous to popping one out for the first six months of the little beauty’s life. There are some limitations. If you earn more than $150,000 a year you wont get to be paid at that level, you’ll be limited to 6 months at $150,000 pa pro rata. Nevertheless, $75,000 is a pretty big baby bonus. Of course, if you were on the dole and you popped one out you will not be in line for anything near this amount, just the traditional increase in payments the stork brings with its little buddle.

It is also a gift to the left insofar as the left always enjoys kicking the rich kids. Tony will be funding his plan with a 1.7% increase in company tax for companies that bringing in profits above $5M.

Now the hitting the rich people where it hurts seems more appropriate for the left than other aspects of the plan although I always feel that hitting them with income tax is much better. Firstly, assaulting the company is probably only going to make getting benefits at the lower echelons harder. Secondly, I can’t see the tax reducing take home pay for the wealth by very much at all.

But things are even less soundly left wing on another front. It seems absurd to suggest that giving people an amount of money directly proportional to how rich they are would have anything to do with the left, in any way at all. Surely it is against the whole take from the rich give to the poor sentiment that lies behind the goal of wealth redistribution? Is Tony’s plan not take from everyone to give to the rich?

Perhaps it could be merely considered a reflection on the relative skills of parents. It could be indicative of such obvious facts such as a parent who is high in the corporate hierarchy, having disposed of the appropriate competitors, is around 10 times a better parent than a waitress on $15,000 a year.

Tony’s plan is also applauded for the fact that it supports women in work. He’s helping break that glass ceiling.

Yet even over as short a period as 6 months the absence of an employee will mean that the position that they had secured themselves in the flotsam journey of the corporate world would have been undermined by some other ambitious ‘go-getter.’ The pulling out of work, regardless of the money given, is always going to be detrimental to one’s career. Tony Abbott’s proposal is a $75,000 baby bonus, a $75,000 bribe to leave the pursuit of a career. Isn’t Tony playing the drug pusher? Isn’t he saying, “just have a go at being a mum, you might like it.”

If one wants more women in the workplace climbing to the highest possible reaches as well as an increase in the numbers of whiteys to counter our growing need for migrant workers there are far more appropriate things that could be done.

The bribe could be given only to men and thus counter the still existing sexist prejudices that seem to adhere in these situations. Or, if giving only men money isn’t appealing, childcare centres could be allowed to take kids from the moment they are squeezed out, rather than the current 6 week minimum.

Such changes would create something that you could probably describe as left leaning. However, some of the assumptions about what is needed, the value of certain professions and certain skin colours for instance, seem to still render Tony’s so called left wing turn somewhat problematic to the ideals of justice and equality supposedly espoused by the left.

If Tony’s aim has been to remove prejudices such as sexism from legislation Joe Hockey is right there behind him. On the 10th of March he gave a speech that praised the political philosophy of John Stuart Mill. Given Mr Mills traditional use in support of the kind of economic rationalism favoured by the right he is of questionable value to the left. Nevertheless, Mr Hockey used him for his own left wing turn by focusing on the idea that the state should only be about minimising the harm done between people in their pursuit of what they deemed to be good regardless of social prejudices.

He quoted Mr Mill: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.”

Hockey then made pronouncements regarding where this principle was being threatened. Number one instance was the increase in the legal age for the consumption of alcohol to 21. And so he pronounced:

“Yes, we have a problem with binge drinking. But if you are old enough to fight for your country, if you are old enough to vote, if you are old enough to be tried in a criminal court as an adult, then you are an adult, and the concept of telling someone who is 18, 19 or 20 that they are prohibited from consuming alcohol is an infringement of individual liberty.”

If the hospitalisations directly linked to kids boozing it up and going crazy wild style on whoever or whatever they find in their path is not sufficient to be called harm and justify action then surely the sleepy stoner or the heroin user relaxing on the couch, or even in a stairwell, deserves the pursuit of what they consider good, unmolested by any power.

“Go Joe.” Is sure to come from Brown any day, or perhaps once would of, once in the days when Brown had a taste for the legal hash cookie. That is, if one can equate inhaling an illegal substance with the belief that it should in fact be legal.

Tony may have been given the praise last week as the left-wing liberal but we know who the real red under the bed is, it’s the one with the red eyes and the desperate craving for tim-tams. “Go Joe.”


About barkingcoins
This author is just another fucking dickhead.

2 Responses to Parental Leave: A Left Wing Turn for the Liberals?

  1. sarah says:

    Nicky, this is freakin’ gold. Nice work. xx

  2. lumpnboy says:

    I think this is excellent: any chance of a version appearing in some hardcopy publication any time soon?

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