Australia invests $1.7 billion in Childcare to boost female workforce
The Australian federal government recently pledged to boost female workforce participation with a $1.7 billion investment in childcare. They say the changes will make childcare more affordable for around a quarter of a million families, meaning women can return to work earlier.
The budget expansion is a welcomed change for working families, increasing the subsidy up to 95% for families with more than one child aged five or younger. It also will remove the $10,560 cap on the Child Care Subsidy.
However, many experts argue that it doesn’t go far enough for women.
Samantha Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia says although she welcomes any additional investment, she has several ‘hesitations.’
“The changes won’t be rolled out for over a year – that’s a long time to wait,” she said. She also raised concerns that the new rules may make the childcare subsidy program even more complicated.
Is the Morrison government falling flat on their promise of a female-friendly budget?
Although the budget expansion is a welcome change for working families, the question of whether it will make the workplace more equitable for women is still up for debate.
The Morrison government says the budget expansion seeks to remove disincentives for women returning to the workforce. Minister for Women’s Economic Security Jane Hume says the changes will help further close pay and participation gaps.
“These measures will help remove the barriers for parents, particularly mothers, to return to the workforce.”Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge
After months of protests sparked by several allegations of sexual harassment in the federal parliament, these changes feel relatively underwhelming.
Although the budget changes are a great step for working mothers, it may be too little, too late.
Women have been calling for an expansion of the Childcare subsidy package for years – yet the Morrison government has only chosen to roll out additional funding in the wake of huge protests across the country.
“We are still waiting for permanent funding for pre-school programs. And early childcare workers are still not being paid professional wages,” says Page.
More affordable childcare for low-income families
The Morrison government says the changes deliberately target low and middle-income earners. Around half the families set to benefit have a household income under $130,000.
The intention is to remove the burden of childcare costs, which is often a prohibitive barrier for parents, particularly mothers.
The level of child care subsidy is also tapered so that those families that earn the least receive the most. These subsidies apply at the same rate per child, regardless of how many children per family are in childcare.
This may help tackle gendered wealth inequalities too because the cost of childcare often disproportionately falls on women, says Page.
“While childcare should be a shared cost, the cost of childcare is often weighed up against the wage of the parent with a lower income. Which is more often than not the mother.”Samatha Page, CEO of Early ChildHood Australia
However, Page says it still doesn’t go far enough for children and women at risk – particularly those in rural and complex environments.
“We are still waiting on equal access to education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders,” she says.
“We should be careful to frame the package as an investment in children and early education as well as women.”
What do Aussie Mums think?
Jessica is a Melbourne mother of two daughters. She owns her own hairdressing business and her husband is an electrician. She says that although everyone complains about high childcare fees, many parents “don’t have a choice”.
This sentiment was echoed by another Melbourne mum, Laura, who had her first daughter during the 2020 lock-downs across Victoria. She says that cheaper childcare fees mean that she’ll be able to send her daughter earlier.
At the moment, Laura works two days a week while her daughter stays with her grandparents. However, she says that without the support of her parents and parents-in-law, returning to work would’ve been much more difficult.
This idea was echoed by Page, who says we need to empower families to make the choice best fit for them.
“Women should have the choice to work, but that isn’t the end of the story. We still need to invest in more generous paid parental leave too.”
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Trump’s campaign tactic – debase and disgrace the legal process
Donald Trump, former president of the United States, hated Arraignment Day I in Manhattan two months ago, the first time a former president had been criminally charged.
Trump was being forced against his will into a proceeding he had utter contempt for. He was being arrested and fingerprinted and photographed under an indictment under the jurisdiction of Manhattan in New York City for allegations of hush money payments and fraudulent bookkeeping practices to conceal criminal activity. Trump heard the charges read out against him and he entered a plea of not guilty.
Trump had a terrible day. Trump wore a scowl throughout. His countenance was fearsome. What Trump hated most about his arraignment in New York is that he had to sit at a table with his counsel side by side with him — equal to him — and with the judge above him looking down on him. Trump could not control the discussion and could not interrupt to make his points.
Trump was subordinate to the judge. He was subordinate to no one as president.
Arraignment Day II
Arraignment Day II in Miami will be worse from Trump, even more stressful. The charges are substantially more serious: the alleged violation of federal criminal statutes involving the alleged mishandling and illegal possession of classified documents, lying to legal authorities, and obstruction of justice. Potential penalties run to years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
Trump throughout his business life had always crafted his affairs to avoid being a defendant. But in his term in office, he was caught up in it big time. He was a defendant in two impeachment trials – again, unprecedented events – and left office in disgrace.
But Trump does not feel disgraced. He never does. Trump does not have a reverse gear. He never retreats. Never admits. Never concedes. Never yields. Trump is never embarrassed. Trump never feels ashamed. When something goes wrong, it is always the fault of someone else.
Bill Barr SLAMS his former boss:— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) June 11, 2023
“He’s not a victim here. He was totally wrong that he had the right to have those documents. Those documents are among the most sensitive secrets that the country has…He had no right to maintain them and retain them”pic.twitter.com/VViNFpwbzt
And Trump never repents.
Trump can feel this way because Trump is waging war on behalf of his armies in “the final battle” for the future of the county. In his first, fiery post-indictment speech in Georgia, Trump said, “They’ve launched one witch hunt after another to try and stop our movement, to thwart the will of the American people. In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you … “Either we have a Deep State, or we have a Democracy…Either the Deep State destroys America, or WE destroy the Deep State.”
It is a powerful formulation, and his true believers love it.
Hours later, In North Carolina, Trump mainlined his distilled message for the Republican crowd:
“We are a failing nation. We are a nation in decline. And now these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement.
It’s totally corrupt and we cannot let it happen.
.@RepDanGoldman: "Donald Trump believed the law does not apply to him, and that he would do anything he could to conceal and maintain possession of highly, highly classified national security information that would jeopardize our national security." https://t.co/IfX8bV4EVk pic.twitter.com/Gvjv8aNFkn— The Hill (@thehill) June 11, 2023
This is the final battle.
With you at my side we will demolish the Deep State.
We will expel the warmongers from our government.
We will drive out the globalists.
We will cast out the communists.
We will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.
We will roll out the fake news media.
We will defeat Joe Bide and we will liberate America from those villains once and for all.”
Any lesser mortal would be staggered by these events. Any other presidential candidate would be driven from the race. But not Trump.
Debase and disgrace
Trump is using the same playbook today as he successfully triggered after being charged in New York: debase and disgrace the legal process by terming it completely political. Trump said the federal indictment is “election interference at the highest level.”
Almost every other Republican running for president has adopted this line, insulating Trump from pressure to leave the field.
Trump’s chief opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said after these indictments: “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.”
Republican congressperson Nancy Mace: “This is a banana republic. I can’t believe this is happening.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Democrats are arresting their political enemies. and they work together in their corrupt ways to get it done.”
Trump is using his affliction to raise millions of dollars from his base.
Trump will likely face Arraignment Day III in Georgia in August. A state prosecutor is expected to charge Trump with criminal interference in the certification of Georgia’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
As of now, there is no sign of cracks in Trump’s support among Republican voters. There is no surge to another candidate. What remains to be seen is whether Republican voters, as they see Trump spend his days in courtrooms and his evenings at rallies around the country, reach a conclusion that this is a spectacle too far, too much to bear, and that they want to turn to another conservative populist who stands for them in the political trials— and not the criminal trials – of 2024.
Donald Trump’s legal woes will serve him well
It’s not often that a U.S. President faces federal indictment, but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it might as well be Donald Trump first.
The news that Donald Trump is facing a federal investigation over the removal of secret documents from the White House in 2021 came as no surprise.
Keen watches of the Washington soap opera have seen this playbook before, albeit in a different form.
There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a Washington outsider. But as seriously damaged as he may be (thanks to the events of January 6), his support base has only grown whenever he faces scrutiny.
For his supporters, his legal woes mirror their own relationship with the government – a giant, unfair beast that picks and chooses its fights.
Trump is accused of storing sensitive documents—including those concerning matters of national security—in boxes, some even in a shower.
The documents were seized last August when investigators from the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.
The Department of Justice has historically avoided charging people who are running for public office. Whether they should do that is a debate for another day. But it’s happening now. And it’s making it all too easy for Trump to claim there is a concerted campaign to get him away from the White House.
Trump exposed the deep state. IF they exist, they probably don’t want him back in power. Whether they exist doesn’t matter really, because plenty of Trump’s supporters agree with him, and believe the secret state is working against them. Call it QAnon, call it a conspiracy – it doesn’t matter in a democracy.
The DoJ now has to go all in. Failing to secure a conviction would be a serious embarrassment for the department.
This is the second time Trump has been indicted in recent months, yet the opinion polls show he only increases his popularity among MAGA and Republican voters. It leaves the Republican party in a difficult position. Support their leading candidate or support the law?
As other Republicans rallied around the embattled candidate, Trump held on to his loyal base of supporters.
For the Democrats, and for Biden, another reality will soon sink in – if Trump becomes President, and they lose office next year, how will a Trump-run DoJ deal with them?
Broadly, the tit-for-tat one-up-manship of U.S. politics is breaking tradition and potentially breaking the country.
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