Federal election minus 1 day: last minute Coalition announcements special!

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

Mostly via tweeps, info on certain last minute Coalition announcements.

First, people saw the original version of The Coalition’s Policy to Enhance Online Safety for Children (original version), which read:

We will work with mobile phone companies (such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and their resellers) to develop online safety standards for smartphones and other devices with mobile network connectivity such as tablets, applicable to their use by children in two age groups: children up to the age of 12 years and teenagers.

As has recently been achieved in the UK, we expect these standards will involve mobilephone operators installing adult content filters on phones which will be switched on as the default unless the customer proves he or she is at least 18 years of age.

The Coalition will work with internet service providers (which provide fixed line broadband services to the home) to develop online safety standards for those services, recognising that they are very often accessed by children.

As has recently been achieved in the UK, we expect these standards will involve the major internet service providers providing home network filters for all new home broadband services, which will be switched on as the default unless the customer specifies otherwise.

This is a very different approach to the discredited compulsory filter proposal championedby the Rudd-Gillard Government, which was abandoned as unworkable.

The Coalition’s approach aims to empower parents — by giving them the choice of whetheror not to operate a filter at home, but by establishing the default setting as one which provides maximum protection.

The Coalition’s Policy to Enhance Online Safety for Children original/repudiated version, page 7

The Coalition very quickly backed away from this proposal:

Mr Turnbull quickly released a statement to clarify the Coalition’s position.

“The Coalition has never supported mandatory internet filtering. Indeed, we have a long record of opposing it,” the statement said.

Malcolm Turnbull’s statement is available in full on the Liberals’ site. The revised and/or correct version of the policy (depending on if you believe that they did accidentally make an early version public), reads:

Wewill work with mobile phone companies (such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and their resellers) and internet service providers (which provide fixed line broadband services to the home) to make available software which parents can choose to install on their own devices to protect their children from inappropriate material.

This is a very different approach to the discredited compulsory filter proposal championed by the Rudd-Gillard Government, which was abandoned as unworkable.

The Coalition’s Policy to Enhance Online Safety for Children current version (as linked from the Liberals’ policy listing), page 7

Moving on to last minute announcements they haven’t backed away from:

A Coalition Government, if elected, will crack down on Labor’s addiction to waste by auditing increasingly ridiculous research grants and reprioritising funding through the Australian Research Council (ARC) to deliver funds to where they’re really needed.

Some of the grants issued by the ARC in recent years have been, frankly, completely over the top.

There will be no reduction in research funding. In fact, the Coalition has announced new research into dementia and diabetes.

The Coalition would look to targeting those ridiculous research grants that leave taxpayers scratching their heads wondering just what the Government was thinking.

Taxpayer dollars have been wasted on projects that do little, if anything, to advance Australians research needs. For example:

  • The quest for the ‘I’ – a$595,000 grant aimed at “reaching a better understanding of the self”;
  • $160,000 on an examination of “sexuality in Islamic interpretations of reproductive health technologies in Egypt”;
  • a $443,000 study into “The God of Hegel’s Post-Kantian idealism”; and
  • $164,000 for a study into “how urban media art can best respond to global climate change” .

Ending More of Labor’s Waste, Liberal press release, September 5 2013

(My Honours supervisor is out there jumping for joy at the punctation used for that list, at least.)

Several research and research-affiliated groups have denounced the policy:

  • Jeannie Rea, National Office, The National Tertiary Education Union: This is a direct attack on the academic freedom of researchers working in Australian universities. If Tony Abbott wins, independent research loses.
  • Catriona Jackson, CEO, Science and Technology Australia:

    Specific research projects – all in the arts and social sciences – have been labeled increasingly ridiculous. But scientists know that the flow of new knowledge is critical to the kinds of real word results that all Australians are proud of, and that the Coalition is calling for.

    It was CSIRO scientist John O’Sullivan’s search for exploding black holes that led to his discovery of wireless technology that has swept the world, and earned Australia $500 million in royalties with probably as much again to come.

You can also review STA’s overview of science policy for the Federal Election, if interested. The Conversation has a couple of pieces about the policy, one noting that we already have a body of expert scrutineers who reject any number of bad and merely only very good grant proposals, and we call it the Australian Research Council, and the other analysing the craftiness of the press release itself.

What else have you seen sneaking in under the radar now that the advertising blackout is in place?

Front page image credit: Election Day CC BY-SA David Morgan-Mar, from the 2007 Federal election.

Federal Election minus 3 days: state surveillance and anti-terror policies

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

Continuing on my theme of finally becoming the voter who actually reviews policies, today we go a bit more niche: state surveillance, anti-terror provisions and similar, specifically whether anti-terror is used as an excuse to infringe on civil liberties and political organising. I’m going into this expecting it to be fairly short — it’s a bigger issue in the United States and the UK than here (or perhaps I know more activists there than here), where “border protection” serves some of the same rhetorical and political roles — although there are minor parties more interested in these issues.

As with other posts in this series, if there’s a lack of commentary in the post, make up for it in the comments. For media coverage, spin and personality issues — or general news! — head to the latest Media Circus thread instead.)

ALP, Coalition, Greens

The Liberal’s Real Solutions has no mention of ‘surveillance’ or ‘privacy’. Their terrorism statement is that they will increase measures, focussing on security of ports: We will deliver improved counter-terrorism and domestic security measures in Australia and secure our ports and airports. .They mention increased CCTV rollouts in their crime section (pg 42), none of which suggests that privacy and surveillance issues are a big issue for them. They also seem inclined to use the threat of terrorist immigration as an anti-refugee tactic, see eg this June press release.

In June 2013, Malcolm Turnbull issued a statement expressing some concern about the NSA’s PRISM program, particularly its implications for commercial interests, presumably Australian businesses hosting data on US servers. (I note incidentally that Real Solutions is hosted on Amazon Web Services. It’s just a curio since Real Solutions is public information, but I wonder if political parties host their donor databases and such on Australian servers?) If you search for the text of that statement on technical news sites, incidentally, the advertisements may encourage you to apply for a job with ASIO.

It’s difficult to find ALP information. They assert a right to privacy (National Platform, items 41 and 42, pages 186–187), largely centered around privacy of data held by the government, especially health information and credit information. They assert that [Labor will] ensure that personal information of Australians transferred overseas is protected which I find difficult to interpret (if nothing else, the phrasing is rather ambiguous between personal information being sent overseas and Australians themselves being sent!). Elsewhere in the National Platform, they write:

Labor refuses to manipulate fear or racism for political gain in response to terror. Australia needs tough laws to deal with terrorism but, just as importantly, we need well-balanced laws that target the terrorists, not innocent citizens. We need strong safeguards to protect the civil and human rights that are fundamental to our freedoms. Labor is committed to finalising the review of the Anti-Terrorism Legislation.

item 132, page 209

I don’t see that translated into policy for the present campaign anywhere.

The Greens have a specific surveillance policy generally affirming a right to privacy. They seek to bring telecommunications surveillance back under the control of normal judicial warrants, and subject to Freedom of Information requests; they want intelligence sharing with the “5 Eyes” countries (the other four are the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand) overhauled; and they oppose proposals for data retention concerning Australian’s Internet use.

See also Electronic Frontiers Australia Election 2013 scorecard.

Smaller parties

From a slightly haphazard collection on Monday, I focus today on minor parties that I know to have some interest in civil liberties and/or digital rights.

Pirate Party

Privacy is listed as one of the four major civil liberties they value. They oppose both the proposed 2 year retention of Australian’s Internet use data, and denounse PRISM and PRISM-like programs.

Wikileaks Party

As one would expect, this is a prominent issue in their campaign platform:

… the WikiLeaks Party will be fearless in its opposition to the creeping surveillance state, driven by globalised data collection and spying agencies, both state and corporate controlled. We will demand that all information on data seizure and storage of citizens’ data by government agencies and allied corporations be made public.

In addition, there’s a specific Surveillance and your privacy policy requiring that agencies seek a warrant to spy on your Internet usage; a twice-yearly tabling of aggregate figures related to such surveillance; and ASIO and anyone else cooperating with overseas agencies to report such cooperation publicly.

Front page image credit: Election Day CC BY-SA David Morgan-Mar, from the 2007 Federal election.

Federal Election minus 5 days: party policies on anti-discrimination

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

In theory I am committed to the idea that if I want election coverage to talk about policy more in the lead-up to elections, it can’t hurt to be someone who is aware of and considers policy in the lead-up to elections. Even if some elections make it VERY VERY HARD FOR ME NOT MENTIONING ANY NAMES FEDERAL ELECTION 2013.

Thus, before the 2010 Federal election, I got one policy into a plan to review various party policies before getting sick from some childcare-acquired illness. I cannot promise to do better this time, but I can try. There’s five days before the Federal election; what do various parties have to say about anti-discrimination?

I haven’t included a lot of commentary on the policy positions I summarise here, but that’s what the comments are intended for! (Note that if you’re interested more in media coverage, spin and personality issues — or general news! — you probably want to comment at the latest Media Circus thread instead.)

ALP, Coalition, Greens

For this analysis, I am largely relying on National Foundation for Australian Women (NAFW), Anti-discrimination and women’s human rights: policies of the major parties, July 2013. If I don’t cite policy specifically, I am using that analysis.

The NAFW summary notes the ALP’s consultations on consolidating federal anti-discrimination acts, and the drafting of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill (2012), which has not however been implemented and is under review. Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013 passed in June, providing additional protections on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status. The ALP in their own materials also notes their recent commissionin gof an inquiry into workplace discrimination against pregnant people or parents returning to work. (Labor is for Fairness) The Greens supported the passed bill and support the draft bill, and have advocated for the addition of domestic violence (presumably, victims of) as a category of illegal discrimination. They would also like the default religious exemptions replaced by case-by-case assessments, and for “family responsibilities” language to be expanded to caring responsibilities. The Coalition oppose the draft bill outright, to the point of not seeking amendments to it.

On marriage equality, the ALP’s National Platform presently reads Labor will amend the Marriage Act to ensure equal access to marriage under statute for all adult couples irrespective of sex who have a mutual commitment to a shared life. (National Platform, item 126, page 168) and they have a specific “It’s Time for Marriage Equality” campaign. I cannot find a mention of marriage equality in the Liberal’s Real Solutions. The Greens go short-n-simple on their policy: The Greens want to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia and recognise same-sex marriages from overseas. (Marriage Equality)

The Liberal policy states that We will support freedom of speech, particularly in relation to anti-discrimination legislation. Prohibitions on inciting racial hatred or intimidation of particular groups should be focused on offences of incitement and causing fear but not a prohibition on causing offence. (Real Solutions, pg 44)

On disability, NAFW observes in their disability paper in most policy areas, across the three parties, disability is seldom specifically mentioned. Women with disabilities are not mentioned at all. They observe that while the ALP is committed to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, they have not established the required targeted measures for women with disabilities specifically. Commitment to DisabilityCare (which the Coalition would call NDIS again) funding appears to have major party support until 2019. The ALP’s national platform is focussed on people with disabilities who can work, although it briefly acknowledges the existance of those who can’t, albeit only as a source of budget “pressure” (Labor has undertaken significant reform of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) to reward effort and initiative for those who can work, and to ease the pressure on the system which supports those who can’t, National Platform, item 52, page 98).

Discrimination on the grounds of disability, as with grounds other than gender (ALP) or any grounds at all (Liberal), does not seem to be a focus of either ALP or Liberal policy except insofar as the Liberals distance themselves from racial vilification prohibitions. The Greens mention discrimination on the grounds of disability prominently in their policy.

Central policy sites:

Smaller parties

This is limited to a small selection on the NSW ballot paper that I found interesting. Feel free to list and discuss other minor party policies in comments!

Pirate Party

Policy overview can be found at the platform wiki page authored by their National Council.

Many uses of “discrimination” in their platform refer to the net neutrality issue, which concerns whether Internet providers can provide unequal access to different sources of information. When it comes to discrimination against protected groups, the party opposes legislative against racial vilification in favour of free speech rights:

While laws which criminalise “offensive” or “insulting” speech may be well-intentioned, mechanisms such as section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act impose dangerous subjectivity into our legal system. The perpetual risk in criminalising offensiveness is that almost any form of difference or disagreement can be viewed as offensive to someone, and nations such as the UK and Canada have experienced significant abuse of such laws. Even where protections technically exist, the mere threat of legal sanction may be sufficient to chill dialogue and speech, and recent events demonstrate that restrictions on one type of speech spread all too easily to include wider categories.

They support marriage equality in the sense of making it a private (not state-controlled) act. Their platform calls for the abolition of the Marriage Act in favour of a Civil Unions Act open to all consenting adult couples. (See also their detailed marriage policy.)

Australian Sex Party

Policy overview can be found at Australian Sex Party – Federal Equality Policy.

They support large extensions to the existing anti-discrimination framework, including making discrimination based on occupation illegal, focussing on the effect of discrimination against sex workers; making political parties (and presumably their selection of candidates) subject to anti-discrimination law on the principle that this will improve gender equality in Parliament; ensuring equal access to assisted reproduction to LGBTIQ people; supplying appropriate documentation to sex and gender diverse people with names and pronouns; improving accessibility of sexual resources (such as adult shops) to disabled people; facilitating sexual services for disabled people; and providing specific sexual education for disabled people. In a separate policy they support sex worker access to work visas.

Secular Party

Policy overview can be found at Human rights and anti-discrimination.

Their policies are focussed around areas where they feel law is influenced by faith considerations and support the end of religious exemption clauses in anti-discrimination legislation. They support marriage equality. They support the enacting of a Bill of Rights and they ask that Australia legislate for the rights in UN International Convention on the Rights of the Child. They support bans on “identity hiding-garments or other items, including burqas and motorcycle helmets, in public places where there are legitimate security and/or safety concerns, or where personal identification is required” [my emphasis]

Front page image credit: Election Day CC BY-SA David Morgan-Mar, from the 2007 Federal election.

More on the Lib/Nat coalition and the CDP

As per my previous post, the Christian Democratic Party, headed by Fred Nile, did rather well in the State election for the Legislative Council (the upper house, for which this was a half election, ie, half the seats vacant).

Per Jo Tamar at Hoyden About Town, the Lib/Nats nominated the CDP as their Second Preference Group, meaning that in a situation where someone had to be removed from the Lib/Nat ballot due to death or disqualification, all Lib/Nat preferences would flow to the CDP unless the voter had specifically directed otherwise.

In addition, and with, I think (I’d have to remind myself how preferences flow in that counting system from a successful party, but I believe they do flow) considerably more influence on the result, per Tally Room, the Lib/Nats also directed their voters to actively (ie, not just in case of emergency) direct preferences to the CDP, per for example these election leaflets: How to Vote Liberal for Goulburn, How to vote Liberal for Strathfield. Under “Step 2 (larger ballot paper)” these leaflets show a large “1” against GROUP A LIBERALS/NATIONALS and a smaller “2” against GROUP F CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY (FRED NILE GROUP).

In at least some seats, see Shellharbour for an example, the CDP directed both lower and upper house preferences to the Liberals/Nationals.

Election commentary: the day after the mega-wipeout

I find elections immensely stressful: the outcome seems high stakes (likely to impact dramatically on me in all sorts of ways), and yet both impenetrable and unalterable. Erg. And I’m also wary of armchair campaigning on the Internet. Everyone speaks so confidently! Everyone gets stuff wrong so much!

Also NSW State politics, so discouraging. At least at the Federal level there’s been one major party who I would only mildly dislike in government, in elections to date. For the last two NSW elections that hasn’t been so.

However, I found a few comments interesting in the followup to the NSW State election yesterday, in which the conservative Liberal/National coalition nearly wiped the unions-and-left-or-centrists-depending-on-where-you-stand ALP off the map. Note again when I say “interesting” I have no idea if they are actually correct.

First Liam at Hoyden About Town:

The bad bad news of the morning is the high Christian Democrat vote in the [Legislative Council]; that’s potentially very frightening indeed.


Fran Barlow at Larvatus Prodeo on the under-performance of the Greens (who received very little of the disaffected ALP vote after much expectation):

Just up the road from us was a Liberal sign which read “Make NSW Number 1″ but which, partially obscured by a shrub, read “Make NSW Numb”. That’s certainly how those voters who weren’t viscerally angry seemed. Standing on a polling booth yesterday, lots of voters didn’t even bother taking [how to vote cards]. They’d made up their minds as to for whom they weren’t voting and couldn’t give a proverbial over what else people were saying.

If we Greens were seen as a credible chance of forming, or even supporting, a new government, our issues would have been moderately useful. In any election where there are no issues beyond the integrity of the existing government itself, our brand and our issues are of almost no marginal use at all. Accordingly, much of our mediocre performance was a consequence of this election being in practice more like a plebiscite.

Kim at Larvatus Prodeo, also on the Greens:

It may be that the concentration of resources and energy on winning lower house seats comes at the expense of a state wide strategy designed to increase the vote incrementally everywhere, and have a better shot at winning more upper house seats. And it may be that The Greens’ lower house vote has reached a plateau in inner city suburbs. Now that the Liberals have eschewed preferencing Greens, lower house representation in single member electoral systems may be a bridge too far. (Adam Bandt will have a mighty fight on his hands in Melbourne, Tanya Plibersek and Anthony Albanese can sleep more soundly.)

Liberals drink lattes too. In Sydney, as in Brisbane, demographic change and changes to land use have made the Tories competitive in the inner city.

I have no idea if these are more right than anyone else (well, aside from Liam, I’m willing to go with that) but so far they’re what I’ve found interesting.

Polling place accessibility and the NSW state election

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

I get the impression that the NSW election sees a slight improvement over the Federal election in polling place accessibility information.

Here’s some sample information provided from my electorate:

A— Public School: “Fully Wheelchair Accessible”
B— Public School: “Assisted Access: Building has lips and/or steps, No designated disabled parking spot, No disabled toilet, Path of travel from car park may be difficult”
C— Public School: “Assisted Access: No designated disabled parking spot, No disabled toilet”

You can find out this for any electorate by going to Polling Places and finding the electorate. Note that information comes up in a pop-up page, and it is embedded in a Google Map by default, unless you select the link that reads “Text” next to the name of the electorate.

In addition to wheelchair information the main accessibility page has some information for provisions for vision impaired people:

Luminance contrast design on election furniture

Certain cardboard furniture, such as the ballot box, used at State and Local Government elections have luminous contrast markings to assist electors with depth perception.

Hand held magnifiers and user friendly pencils

All polling places and pre-poll voting centres have hand held magnifiers and maxi pencils and voting instructions in large print, available to assist electors who may have difficulty reading the ballot paper or marking the squares. If you require either of these items, please ask an election offical [sic].

Information off the top of my head that isn’t provided:

  • information about provision of seats in waiting/queuing areas
  • information about distances from parking or entrances to the voting area
  • information about non-wheelchair mobility aids

In my state electorate, I count 26 polling places (including Sydney Town Hall, which is located away from my electorate and is a polling place for every electorate in the state). Of these 7 are listed as fully wheelchair accessible (including Town Hall), and another 10 as assisted access. My nearest polling place is 200m away, assisted access 500m away and fully wheelchair accessible about 1km away, although as I live very close to the local business district we have a high density of nearby polling places.

How does your electorate look? How many fully wheelchair accessible polling places, how many assisted access, and how close are they to you? What information is missing from the descriptions?

For more on polling accessibility check:

Laws requiring early electoral roll closure ruled unconstitutional

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

From SMH, news just in:

The High Court have ruled that Howard-era laws which close the electoral rolls on e day that writs for an election are issue are invalid… Activist group GetUp! brought the constitutional challenge, arguing the laws effectively disenfranchised young people.

Great work by GetUp!: the closing of the rolls on the day the writs were issued have never been explained as anything other than simple disenfranchisement of young people: Australians cannot be on the roll before 17 and only tend to enrol for the first election they are eligible to vote in, so this has very effectively locked new voters out of at least their first election.

They may also seek a ruling to allow electronically signed enrolment forms: at present the AEC insists on having a physical signature made with a pen, or facsimile thereof (ie, as produced by a fax machine or a scanner).

Update: the AEC has a statement about the decision, and will now inform voters who submitted enrolment forms on or before July 26 that they are eligible. However they will have to make a declaration vote, because the printed books will not include their names:

… voters affected by today’s decision who attend a polling place on election day (or early voting centre) will have to cast a declaration vote and provide an accepted form of evidence of identity. The AEC therefore urges those electors to carry their driver’s licence or other accepted form of identity with them when voting to easily meet these requirements…

Other acceptable forms of ID are given in the statement.

Reading the policies: the Coalition’s parental leave consultation document

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

My attitude to the vast bulk of elections, including the 2010 Federal election, is “I don’t like any of this, please get me out of here”. I usually intend to make an informed decision based on policies and then have trouble even following the news coverage. So, in the spirit of public acts helping enforce private commitments, I’m going to review a few policies for Hoyden.

a screenshot of the title page of the Coalition's consultation document titled Direct Action on Paid Parental LeaveFirst up, Direct Action on Paid Parental Leave, the Coalition’s consultation document: a final policy is yet to come.

This has been fairly well publicised, but the basics are that it provides paid parental leave for 26 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child. The leave will be subject to a work test, and be paid ranging from the minimum full-time wage, for any person paid at or below this rate, to a maximum of matching a $150 000 per annum salary (that is, a carer will receive somewhere from $14 000 to $75 000 gross while on leave depending on their previous earnings). The current Baby Bonus will be paid to carers who don’t meet the work test, or to anyone who chooses it over the Paid Parental Leave scheme. It will be funded by an additional corporate tax on a small set of seemingly unidentified companies.

The big news about this policy yesterday (Coalition accused of leaving dads out of parental leave plan, pressured on costings, Dads cut out of full-pay parental leave scheme) was that male primary carers would be paid their female partner’s (presumed) lower wage if they took the leave. This was quite incoherent, and evidently is going to be a change in the final policy, because in this document, fathers weren’t going to be eligible for more than 2 weeks of leave at all. The document itself is a little internally inconsistent, beginning with a nod to primary carers in general:

The Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme will provide primary carers (in the vast majority of families, mothers) with 26 weeks paid parental leave…

But later, the “carers (let’s face it, probably mothers)” phrasing is dropped, in favour of:

… fathers will be able to use two weeks of the 26 weeks of Paid Parental Leave that will be available, either simultaneously with the mother’s leave or separately.

A family can lose one of its two incomes for a period of time as the mother gives up or reduces paid employment to care for the child.

The Coalition is committed to protecting and improving the well-being of families, particularly that of the mother and child, by ensuring a mother can afford to stay at home during the early stages of her child’s development… In recognising this, the Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme will assist mothers to take the recommended minimum of six months leave.

I’m genuinely unclear from this about whether they originally intended provision for fathers or any other primary carers to actually take the leave.

They have quite a few nods to postpartum recovery and especially the need for mother-child contact to establish breastfeeding:

The proposed Paid Parental Leave scheme will enhance child and maternal well-being by providing financial support to mothers while they are outside the paid workforce recovering from childbirth, establishing breastfeeding and bonding with their newborns… Six months is also the minimum period of exclusive breastfeeding recommended by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the World Health Organisation.

But it’s a long way from separating the idea of paid parental leave into maternity leave for recovery and establishing breastfeeding and primary carer leave for, possibly, a different carer.

Purely in terms of entertainment, we have some Labor’s-big-debt snark:

The Coalition would prefer to fund our Paid Parental Leave scheme from a Budget surplus, but this is not possible due to the large debt and deficits run up by the Rudd Labor Government.

And is this some WorkChoices nostalgia I see before me?

The [Howard Government] also supported women’s choice by… introducing more flexible workplace conditions which provided parents, particularly mothers, with the choice of working part time or flexible hours.


  • This is a generous scheme, as the document points out, both in comparison to Labor’s scheme, which has a maximum payment of under $10 000 gross and which does not provide any option to share even 2 weeks of the leave with another carer, and in comparison to most other schemes worldwide, which mostly are either shorter or pay less.
  • It’s especially generous to carers already earning a higher income, although this is fairly typical of worldwide schemes: either you get a payment linked to the minimum wage, or you get a payment linked to your recent income.
  • The implementation of the policy in the context of any family that’s not built around a female-male couple who are both legal parents of the child is not at all clear from this document. It’s especially unclear how the payment works if the baby care is shared by more than one household.
  • I do not know why it is emphasised that a carer who passes the work test could still choose to receive the Baby Bonus. The current Baby Bonus is valued at just over $5000 tax free, and is no longer paid as a lump sum, but is also paid over 26 weeks.The only case I can come up with where that’s going to be better than the Coalition’s scheme involves higher order multiples (since the scheme will not pay multiple times for a multiple birth).