Scorecard

Fair Agenda is a community of 35,000 Australians campaigning for a fair and equal future for women. This election Fair Agenda surveyed parties to find out where they stand on five key issues that Fair Agenda members said matter to them. Then we worked with Domestic Violence NSW, Domestic Violence Victoria, Women's Legal Services Australia, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, National Association of Community Legal Centres, No To Violence/Men's Referral Service, Reproductive Choice Australia and the National Foundation of Australian Women to score their stance on key policies. 

The parties displayed below are those that responded to Fair Agenda's survey about their policies.

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The Issues

The issues highlighted in Fair Agenda’s scorecard have been set in line with priorities set by Fair Agenda members n our most recent member survey. The Fair Agenda community is deeply concerned about addressing family violence and women's economic inequality; as well as protecting reproductive rights. Therefore these are the focuses of Fair Agenda's election survey and scorecard.

More on family violence policies (click to view)

Right now thousands of women are being left without the family violence services they need because of federal government funding decisions.

Specialist services can’t keep up with referrals from police. Refuges can’t shelter all the women seeking their help. Community legal services are being forced to turn away women relying on their help. Specialist services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aren’t even funded to have national reach.

At the same time the family law system is failing family victims of domestic violence. Three government commissioned reports have all identified significant problems in how family law and its processes respond to cases of family violence, and found that significant changes are needed to keep women and children safe.

The questions and scores on this issue have been developed by Fair Agenda in conjunction with Domestic Violence NSW, Domestic Violence Victoria, Women’s Legal Services Australia, the National Association of Community Legal Centres, National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum and No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service.

Click here to view and share our family violence specific scorecard

 

How parties were scored (click to view)

The parties were asked a series of questions put together by family violence experts.

Their policies for family violence funding were scored out of a possible 9:

  • 1 point was available for commitment to a guaranteed, long-term, dedicated funding stream
  • 2 points were available for support for $2 billion of additional federal funding the experts say is needed to address service and system gaps.
  • 1 point was available for commitment to funding needed for Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.
  • 1 point was available for commitment to reversing the $34.83 million cuts to Community Legal Centres (where the top two areas of work are family law and family violence related).
  • 1 point was available for committing additional funding for Community Legal Centres to help address unmet need (currently 160,000 people are turned away annually, including but not limited to women affected by domestic violence)
  • 1 point was available for funding the expansion of perpetrator responses and interventions such as men’s behaviour change
  • 1 point was available for committing to the long term core funding needed for the national prevention organisation Our Watch ($5 million per year until 2022)
  • 1 point was available for supporting investment to invest in primary prevention capacity.

The policies for improving safety in family law were scored out of a possible 5, based on the urgent priorities identified in the Women's Legal Services Australia's policy:

  • 1 point was available for commitment to support the placement of domestic violence specialists in family court registries to undertake risk assessments at the very earliest stages of a case and provide recommendations on interim care arrangements for children
  • 1 point was available for commitment to legislative protections to stop a victim being directly cross-examined by their abuser
  • 1 point was available for commitment to the national roll out of the Co-Ordinated Family Dispute Resolution in the Family Court system
  • 1 point was available for commitment to supporting implementation of the Family Law Council's advice to legislate family violence as a relevant consideration in property settlements.
  • 1 point was available for commitment to the establishment of a national accreditation and monitoring scheme for all family report writers

Click here to read the detail of our analysis and scoring of each party’s position  

Click here to read the exact questions and responses received

 

More on paid parental leave policies (click to view)

These days most families depend on two steady incomes to make ends meet. Our paid parental leave system is critical to ensure working people can provide for and afford to spend time caring for their newborn.

Right now 99% of those who access the Government’s Paid Parental Leave system are women. Therefore, any cuts to this system can be expected to disproportionately affect women.

Further information about parental leave:

The recommended amount of time a new parent is supposed to spend with a newborn for health and welfare outcomes is 26 weeks.

Australia’s current Paid Parental Leave system was introduced in January 2011, after recommendations from the Productivity Commission (the Government’s independent research and advisory body).

Ours is a “combined” system – which means the Government provides eligible parents with access to 18 weeks of government paid leave (at the minimum wage) and then allows them to combine/top it up with any additional leave they have negotiated for their employer to provide through their employment agreement.

An expert review of the current system has found it has: allowed more women to spend close to 26 weeks with their newborns, provided critical income security for new mothers, and reduced the number of young infants needing childcare.

Since 2015, the Abbott and Turnbull Governments have been trying to make cuts to this system.

PPL_scorecard.png

 

How parties were scored (click to view)

Parties' policies were then scored out of a possible 2:

  • 1 point (green) was available for a commitment to vote against any proposed cuts to the current paid parental leave system
  • 1 point (green) was available for a commitment to support the superannuation guarantee being paid on Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave system.  

Those parties who do not support the policy have been marked red. Those parties with unknown positions or no policy have been indicated in grey.

Click here to read the detail of our analysis and scoring of each party’s position  

Click here to read the exact questions and responses received

 

More on other policies for economic equality (click to view)

In Australia women continue to face a major pay and wealth gap.

As of March this year the national gender pay gap was 17.3% - that’s a difference in full-time average earnings of $277 per week. At retirement men’s superannuation balances are on average twice as large as women’s. And, as of June 2015, older women were the fastest growing group of homeless Australians. 

To address women’s economic inequality in Australia, much needs to be done to improve our childcare, superannuation and broader social policy framework.

This election Fair Agenda has surveyed parties on their stances on five key policies, including superannuation, childcare, Family Tax Benefits and addressing barriers to women’s participation in male dominated industries (like STEM).

 

How parties were scored (click to view)

The parties were asked a series of questions designed in conjunction with policy experts including the National Foundation for Australian Women.

Their policies were then scored out of a possible 5:

  • 1 point was available for a commitment to retain a mechanism (like the Low Income Super Contribution) to ensure the superannuation contributions of low income earners are not taxed at a higher rate than their income. 
  • 1 point was available for a commitment to adopt the Senate Standing Committee on Economics’ recommendation that the Australian Government amend the Superannuation Guarantee to remove the exemption from paying superannuation for employees who earn less than $450 from that employer per month.
  • 1 point was available for a commitment to investment in women’s participation in traditionally male dominated industries (like science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)).
  • 1 point was available for support for The Parenthood’s call for a childcare subsidy for a minimum of 2 days for all children aged 0 – 5.
  • 1 point was available for a commitment not to remove or reduce entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13. 

Click here to read the detail of our analysis of each party’s position  

Click here to read the exact questions and responses received

 

More on reproductive rights policies (click to view)

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has the ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures).

In the past, individual Senators have used their balance of power positions in the federal parliament to try and restrict women’s access to Medicare rebates which may be used for termination of pregnancy. As such, we have asked parties where they stand on this important issue.

Click here to view and share our reproductive rights specific scorecard.

 

How parties were scored (click to view)

The parties were asked a series of questions developed by Fair Agenda in partnership with Reproductive Choice Australia. 

In the detailed scorecard you will see scores marked against three: 

  • First, parties were asked if they have a party position relating to a woman's legal right to terminate a pregnancy. A green circle was given to parties with a party position recognising a woman's legal right to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy. If the party has no position on such issues, the party's result is marked with a grey circle with a question mark. If the party has a position that does not recognise a woman's legal right to decide to terminate a pregnancy, they received a red circle.
  • Second, the party was asked whether or not they are committed to protecting current Medicare arrangements related to pregnancy terminations, or if they would seek to restrict access to Medicare for termination related procedures. Again, in the detailed scorecard the parties received a green score/one point for a commitment to protect current Medicare arrangements; a red score/zero points if they indicated they would restrict access to Medicare for termination related procedures; or a grey circle with a question mark if their party had no position; or an unknown position on this matter.  
  • Finally parties were asked if they supported the creation of new Medicare item numbers to cover: pregnancy options counselling by medical practitioners or suitably trained nurses, medical termination of pregnancy, and a sexual and reproductive health education consultation. Parties supporting this policy received a green circle; partial support received a partially green circle; opposition received a red circle. An unclear or unknown policy, or a response indicating that party members would be given a conscience vote received a grey circle with a question mark.

Note: Parties only received a green rating overall (and an overall score) if they have a party position that recognises a woman's legal right to decide to terminate a pregnancy.

For those parties who do not have a party position on this issue, individual answers to the final two questions are available and displayed in the detailed scorecard available on the 'party scores' page; but their overall score was marked as "unknown" on the overall scorecard to indicate the uncertainty that the absence of their party position on a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy could create if party members were asked to vote on the other two matters. 

Click here to read the detail of our analysis and scoring of each party’s position  

Click here to read the exact questions and responses received


Party Scores

Scoring of Australian Greens (click to view)

Funding for family violence services

Overall funding: Family violence groups are calling for the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence services to meet unmet demand - estimated at $2 billion annually. The Greens have committed their support for this policy. 

However, it is important to note that only parties in a position to form Government will have control over the budget. Minor parties have been scored regarding their commitment to use any balance of power positions to support the allocation of funding in the areas needed.  (2/2)

Dedicated and long-term funding stream: The Greens responded yes, noting that their policy is for a 10 year, $5 billion dedicated National Partnership Agreement for Domestic Violence and Violence Against Women. (1/1)

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide vital specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are disproportionately affected by family violence. Limited funding means that currently their service provision is limited to just 14 locations. The FVPLS needs $28 million funding to deliver national reach. The Greens have said they support full funding of this service, noting their policy commits $144 million over 4 years for FVPLS and commits to a national roll out within 3 years. This meets the core of the ask. (1/1)

Community legal centres provide vital free legal advice to people affected by family violence. Their top two areas of work nationally are family law and family violence related. These services are currently forced to turn away in excess of 160,000 people per year, including but not limited to women affected by violence. Community Legal Centres are currently set to lose $34.83 million funding from 2017 – 2020. The Greens has committed to reverse this cut. (1/1) Their policy in this area also includes further funding for CLCs. (1/1).

Perpetrator response and intervention is a vital component of family violence response. No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service are calling for $37 million to expand perpetrator response and intervention nationally. The Greens have indicated they would support full funding in this area; noting they have committed to expand funding for perpetrator programs by $128 million over 4 years. (1/1)

Primary prevention is vital to prevent family violence in the future. Our Watch is the national organisation tasked with leading national strategy in this area. Our Watch currently has $1 million of core funding until June 2017. To expand their work they are calling for $5 million annually until at least 2022.

The Greens policy would invest $18 million over 6 years to support Our Watch, including continuing base funding of $1 million per year, with expanded funding for projects such as The Line at $2 million per year. Funding would be secure for 6 years, until at least 2021-22. While this commitment to project funding is very welcome, the question was about core funding, so this has not been taken into account.

While this long term commitment to existing levels of core funding is positive and significant, it does not full meet the ask of $5 million annual core funding. (0.5/1) 

The Greens have also indicated their support for the ask to support investment to build capacity of primary prevention practitioners in community groups, government, etc. While more funding is needed to deliver this work at scale, this meets the core of the ask. (1/1)

Overall score: 8.5/9

 

Policies to improve the safety of women and children in the family court system

The Greens have committed to support the "Put Safety First in Family Law" campaign in its entirety. This includes a commitment to:

  • placing domestic violence specialists in family court registries to undertake risk assessments at the very earliest stages of a case and provide recommendations on interim care arrangements for children

  • Amending the Family Law Act to stop victims being directly cross-examined by their abuser.

  • Incorporating specialist domestic violence lawyers and social workers in to the Family Court system

  • Amending the Family Law Act to require courts to consider family violence when determining a property division.

  • Establishing a national accreditation and monitoring scheme for all family report writers.

This meets the ask.

Overall score: 5/5

 

Paid parental leave

The Abbott and Turnbull Government have both tried to cut Australia’s paid parental leave system, and the Turnbull Government has indicated they still have plans for changes that are expected to cause thousands of parents to lose precious time at home with their newborn.

The Greens opposed both versions of previous cuts proposed in the last parliament; and have committed to vote against any future proposed cuts to the parental leave system. (1/1)

The Greens have also indicated their support for adopting the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics that the superannuation guarantee be paid on the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave system. (1/1)

Overall score: 2/2

 

Other policies for economic equality

On taxing the superannuation of low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) beyond June 2017.

The Greens has indicated their support for the retention of the LISC or similar mechanism, noting their ‘Progressive Superannuation’ policy would include a similar mechanism to the LISC, and would see low income workers (earning below $37,001 per annum) paying 0c in tax on their super contributions. (1/1)

On extending the superannuation guarantee for low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Government update relevant legislation to remove the exemption that allows employers with workers earning less than $450 per calendar month an exemption from paying the superannuation guarantee.

The Greens has indicated in principle support for removing this exemption, subject to understanding any cost implications and ensuring there were no unintended consequences. (1/1)

Supporting women’s participation in male dominated industries: The Greens has indicated their support for investment in this area. (1/1)

Extending the childcare subsidy: Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits. The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances. The Greens have indicated their support for this policy. (1/1)

Protecting Family Tax Benefit B for single parents: The Greens has committed not to support removing or reducing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13. This meets the ask. (1/1)

Overall score: 5/5

 

Reproductive rights

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures).

In the past, balance of power Senators have sought to restrict women’s access to reproductive rights related procedures through this avenue.

The Greens has responded that they have a party position in this area; which recognises a woman’s legal right to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy. (1/1)

The Greens have also committed to protecting the current Medicare arrangements that provide a small Medicare rebate for surgical termination of pregnancy (among other procedures). (1/1)

The Greens indicated they would also support the creation of new Medicare item numbers to cover the three areas outlined: pregnancy options counselling by medical practitioners or suitably trained nurses; medical terminations; and sexual and reproductive health education consultations. (1/1)

Score: 3/3

Click here to view of the Party's responses to the policy survey

 

Scoring of Australian Labor Party (ALP) (click to view)

Funding of family violence services

Overall funding: Family violence groups are calling for the federal government to commit the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence related services to meet demand - estimated at $2 billion annually. The ALP has said it will commit an additional $200 million (over an unspecified period of time) to ensure those affected by family violence can access critical services.

In addition, the ALP has also committed bipartisan support for the $100 million of additional funding for the Third Action Plan announced by the Coalition in the 2016 Budget. Therefore their $200 million commitment in relation to family violence would be in addition to this amount.  

While all new funding injections are important; the amount committed by the ALP still falls woefully short of the $2 billion additional funding experts say is needed to address service and system gaps nationally. (0.5/2)

The ALP has expressed its support for a visible and disaggregated funding stream for family violence services. While further commitments are needed to long-term funding at the level needed to meet need, the core of this ask has been met. (1/1)

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide vital specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are disproportionately affected by family violence. Limited funding means that currently their service provision is limited to just 14 locations. The FVPLS needs $28 million funding to deliver national reach. The ALP has committed an additional $1.5 million annually over three years to begin expanding services. While it is nowhere near sufficient to meet national need, it is a positive step. (0.5/1)

Community legal centres provide vital free legal advice to people affected by family violence. Their top two areas of work nationally are family law and family violence related. These services are currently forced to turn away in excess of 160,000 people per year. Community Legal Centres are currently set to lose $34.83 million funding from 2017 – 2020. The ALP has committed $39.3 million over 3 years to CLCs for family violence-related work which is welcome funding, but is not a commitment to reversing the broader funding cuts. (0.5/1)

The ALP’s commitment does include additional funding for the family violence related work of CLCs. This meets the core of the ask though it is important to note that this still does not meet the level of overall funding recommended by the Productivity Commission. (1/1)

Perpetrator response and intervention is a vital component of family violence response. No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service are calling for $37 million to expand perpetrator response and intervention nationally. The ALP has not committed anywhere near the funding being sought; but has made a commitment to work with States and Territories to identify areas of need and best practice; and to build on existing programs. This is a positive commitment; but needs to be matched with funding investment.  (0.25/1)

Primary prevention is vital to prevent family violence in the future. Our Watch is the national organisation tasked with leading national strategy in this area. Our Watch currently has $1 million of core funding until June 2017. To expand their work they are calling for $5 million annually until at least 2022.

The ALP's costings show that $1 million of additional funding will be directed to the organisation annually from 2017. Given the ALP's bipartisan commitment to the $100 million funding package in the 2016-17 budget, it can be assumed this funding would build on the amount committed by the Coalition (exact amount unspecified).

This long term commitment is significant and positive; but the amount committed does not fully meet the ask of $5 million core funding annually. (0.5/1) 

The ALP has also indicated its support for the ask to support investment to build capacity of primary prevention practitioners in community groups, government, etc. While more funding is needed to deliver this work at scale, this meets the core of the ask. (1/1)

Overall score: 5.25/9

 

Policies to improve the safety of women and children in the family court system

The ALP has recently committed $43.5 million over four years to ensure survivors of family violence won’t have to be directly cross-examined by perpetrators, and committed to the legislative change advocates have been calling for. This meets one of the priority policy asks put forward. (1/1) 

The ALP has indicated that they do not have specific policies on the other four areas needing urgent reform. (0/4)

Overall score: 1/5 

 

Protecting paid parental leave

The Abbott and Turnbull Government have both tried to cut Australia’s paid parental leave system, with changes expected to cause thousands of new parents to lose out.

The ALP opposed both versions of these cuts in the last parliament; and have committed to vote against any future proposed cuts to the parental leave system. (1/1)

The ALP have indicated that they would not support a change in line with the Senate Standing Committee on Economics’ recommendation that the superannuation guarantee be paid on the existing Paid Parental Leave system. (0/1)

Overall score: 1/2


Other policies for women's economic equality

On taxing the superannuation of low income earners: The Senate Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) beyond June 2017.

The ALP is committed to this policy, and has previously advocated for the retention of the LISC. (1/1)

On extending the superannuation guarantee for low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Government update relevant legislation to remove the exemption that allows employers with workers earning less than $450 per calendar month an exemption from paying those workers’ superannuation.

The ALP does not support removing this exemption. (0/1)

Supporting women’s participation in male dominated industries: The ALP note that boosting the representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is a priority; and will offer 100,000 STEM award degrees over five years, with half going to women. The HECS-HELP debt of these graduates will be written off upon graduation. Labor has also committed to launch Girls into Code, a $4.5 million grants program to support girls learning to code. This meets the ask. (1/1)

Childcare subsidy: Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits. The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances.

The ALP have indicated they fully support this policy - noting that by continuing the current system they will ensure all children get 2 days (24 hours) subsidised care by definition. (1/1)

Want to know more about the details of the different childcare policies? Click here for more detail from our friends at The Parenthood and National Foundation for Australian Women.

Protecting Family Tax Benefit B for single parents: The ALP has indicated they do not support removing or reducing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13. This meets the ask. (1/1)

Overall score: 4/5

 

Reproductive rights

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures).

In the past, individual Senators have sought to restrict women’s access to medicare rebates which may be used for termination of pregnancy.

The ALP has indicated that they have a policy to improve reproductive health for all Australians, regardless of sex or gender; that includes supporting the rights of women to make decisions regarding reproductive health, particularly the right to choose a termination.

However, the ALP has also noted that their National Platform states that on any decision about "abortion" members of the Caucus will not be bound by any decisions reached in party forums on this issue. 

This creates some uncertainty around the following two policy questions asked, as (as with many other parties) the personal positions of candidates often vary widely on this issue. As such the overall rank of the ALP on this issue has been marked as unknown.

In the survey the ALP indicated that it would protect the current Medicare arrangements and oppose any restrictions on access to Medicare rebates for services related to pregnancy termination. (1/1) When asked about creating new Medicare item numbers to cover: pregnancy options counselling, medical terminations or a sexual and reproductive health education consultation, the ALP noted this is something it would look into in government.

Overall score: Unknown.

 

View the Party's responses to the policy survey

 

Scoring of Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) (click to view)

Funding of family violence services

Overall funding: Family violence groups are calling for the federal government to commit the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence related services to meet unmet demand - estimated at $2 billion annually. The CDP have pledged their support for this policy.

However, it is important to note that only parties in a position to form Government will have control over the budget. Minor parties have been scored regarding their commitment to use any balance of power positions to support the allocation of funding in the areas needed.  (2/2)

Dedicated and long-term funding stream: The CDP have committed their support for a dedicated and long-term funding stream. (1/1)

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide vital specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are disproportionately affected by family violence. Limited funding means that currently their service provision is limited to just 14 locations. The FVPLS needs $28 million funding to deliver national reach. The CDP have committed their support for full funding of this service. (1/1)

Community legal centres provide vital free legal advice to people affected by family violence. Their top two areas of work nationally are family law and family violence related. These services are currently forced to turn away in excess of 160,000 people per year. Community Legal Centres are currently set to lose $34.83 million funding from 2017 – 2020. The CDP does not have a policy on the funding of community legal centres. (0/2)

Perpetrator response and intervention is a vital component of family violence response. No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service are calling for $37 million to expand perpetrator response and intervention nationally. The CDP have indicated support for this. (1/1)

Primary prevention is vital to prevent family violence in the future. Our Watch is the national organisation tasked with leading national strategy in this area. The CDP have committed to support full core funding of Our Watch and additional investment in primary prevention capacity building. (2/2)

Overall score: 7/9

 

Policies to improve the safety of women and children in the family court system

The CDP have indicated their support for four of the five changes outlined in the policy survey. That includes:

  • placing domestic violence specialists in family court registries to undertake risk assessments at the very earliest stages of a case and provide recommendations on interim care arrangements for children

  • Amending the Family Law Act to stop victims being directly cross-examined by their abuser

  • Incorporating specialist domestic violence lawyers and social workers in to the Family Court system

  • Establishing a national accreditation and monitoring scheme for all family report writers.

The CDP does not have a policy regarding amending the Family Law Act to require courts to consider family violence when determining a property division.

Overall score: 4/5

 

Protecting paid parental leave

The Abbott and Turnbull Government have twice tried to cut Australia’s paid parental leave system, with changes expected to cause thousands of new parents to lose out.

The CDP has committed to vote against any future proposed cuts to the parental leave system. (1/1)

The CDP have indicated they would support the Senate Standing Committee on Economics’ recommendation that the superannuation guarantee be paid on the existing Paid Parental Leave system. (1/1)

Overall score: 2/2

 

Other policies for women's economic equality

On taxing the superannuation of low income earners: The Senate Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) beyond June 2017.

The CDP have indicated they support the retention of the LISC or similar mechanism. (1/1) 

On extending the superannuation guarantee for low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Government update relevant legislation that allows employers with workers earning less than $450 per calendar month an exemption from paying those workers’ superannuation. The CDP has no policy in this area. (0/1)

Supporting women’s participation in male dominated industries: The CDP has indicated their support for investment in this area. (1/1)

Childcare subsidy: Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits. The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances.

The CDP has indicated partial support for this policy - indicating their position would depend on the income of the family. (0.5/1)

Protecting Family Tax Benefit B for single parents: When asked if their Party would support removing or reducing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13, the CDP initially indicated partial support. When asked for clarification, the party representative indicated that "it depends on the income of the parent BUT in hindsight fully support". (0/1)

Overall score: 2.5/5

 

Reproductive rights

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures).

In the past, individual Senators have sought to restrict women’s access to medicare rebates which may be used for termination of pregnancy.

The CDP has responded that they have a unified party position in this area – that position does NOT recognise a woman’s legal right to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy. (0/1)

The CDP has also indicated that they would support restricting access to Medicare for termination related procedures. (0/1)

The CDP has indicated that party members would have a conscience vote regarding the creation of new Medicare item numbers to cover: pregnancy options counselling by medical practitioners or suitably trained nurses; medical terminations; and sexual and reproductive health education consultations. Given their party policy does not recognise the legality of terminations, it seems likely this would influence a candidates' position on these issues. 

Overall score: 0/3

 

View the Party's responses to the policy survey

 

 

Scoring of Coalition (Liberal and National Parties) (click to view)

Note: While the Liberal and National Parties were surveyed separately; only one response was received from Coalition HQ, so the two parties' responses are combined for the purposes of this scorecard.

Funding of family violence services

Overall funding: Family violence groups are calling on the federal government to commit the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence related services to meet unmet demand - estimated at $2 billion annually.

While the Coalition did not provide direct answers to this or other funding related survey questions, it has noted that in the latest budget the Coalition committed an additional $100 million (over 3 years) to deliver the Third Action Plan of the ‘National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022’. This built on the $100 million of additional ‘Women’s Safety Package’ funding announced last September, which was allocated across services, as well as policing and other initiatives. 

While all new funding is important, the amount committed by the Coalition falls woefully short of the additional $2 billion experts say is needed to address service and system gaps nationally. (0.25/2)

The Coalition is yet to publicly commit to the dedicated and long-term funding stream the sector has been calling for to increase transparency around the funding provided to services (which are currently funded in large part as a sub set  of homelessness services). Previously the Abbott Government revoked the dedicated funding program for the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services - which has meant these services have had to compete for funding against other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services in a competitive process under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.  (0/1)

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide vital specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are disproportionately affected by family violence. Limited funding means that currently their service provision is limited to just 14 locations. The FVPLS needs $28 million funding to provide national coverage. They did not receive any additional boost in the Women’s Safety Package. They are expected to receive some of the funding announced in the most recent budget, but the exact details and amount have not been confirmed. (0.5/1)

Community legal centres provide vital free legal advice to people affected by family violence. Their top two areas of work nationally are family law and family violence related. These services are currently forced to turn away in excess of 160,000 people per year. Community Legal Centres are currently set to lose $34.83 million funding from 2017 – 2020. The Coalition has not committed to reverse this cut. (0/1)

The most recent budget included $30 million of new funding for legal services to undertake family violence-related work - of which community legal centres are expected to receive a portion. This meets the ask. However, it is noted that the funding committed is not enough to offset the amount due to be cut, or broader funding shortfalls or unmet demand, nor does it implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendations. (1/1)

Perpetrator response and intervention is a vital component of family violence response. No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service are calling for $37 million to expand perpetrator response and intervention nationally. The Coalition has not committed anywhere near the funding sought. However there is hope that relevant recommendations from the Third Action Plan will be included and funded through the funding committed in this year’s budget. (0.25/1)

Primary prevention is vital to prevent family violence in the future. Our Watch is the national organisation tasked with leading national strategy in this area.

The Coalition has announced that $20 million of the $100 million budget package (spread over 3 years) announced in this year's budget will be directed to strengthening prevention efforts. This includes 'support[ing] Our Watch to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence against women and children", amongst other initiatives.

Our Watch currently has $1 million of core funding until June 2017. To expand their work they are calling for $5 million annually until at least 2022.

While there is no specific commitment from the Coalition to what amount of funding from the most recent budget would go to Our Watch, a quarter of a point has been awarded on the assumption that part of the money announced for prevention would be used to at least maintain current core funding levels for Our Watch. This would still be significantly less than the amount of annual funding needed to expand the organisation's work. (0.25/1)

The Coalition has also indicated its support for the ask to support investment to build capacity of primary prevention practitioners in community groups, government, etc. While more funding is needed to deliver this work at scale, this meets the core of the ask. (1/1)

Overall score: 3.25/9

 

Improving safety in family law

The Coalition failed to answer the specific survey questions asked, and has not made any public commitments in support of the policy changes needed. Therefore their policy in this area has been marked unknown.  

Overall score: Unknown

 

Paid parental leave

When surveyed about their position on parental leave, The Coalition did not directly address the question. Therefore scores have been allocated based on what information is publicly available on the Coalition's position.

On Mother’s Day 2015 the Abbott Government announced its intention to cut Australia’s paid parental leave system. As a result of extensive community backlash and campaigning, those initial proposed changes were unable to make it through the Senate.

Then in December 2015 the Turnbull Government made another attempt to cut parental leave. Media coverage noted that this proposal would have mean eligible women would still lose part of their government provided leave if their employment agreement included any paid leave. Modelling commissioned by Fair Agenda showed those changes would have resulted in nurses, teachers and retail workers having between 6 – 16 weeks of income cut. This same proposal did include a small improvement to eligibility criteria for women working in hazardous professions (such as jockeying or mining); but this minor benefit was overwhelmingly outweighed by the impact of the cuts expected to hit thousands of families.

Community campaigning meant that those changes were also unable to pass in the Senate. In April this year the Minister told media that the fact that the policy had not been changed in [the then] Parliament does not mean that this government at the moment is not trying to change [the current system], or if it were re-elected wouldn’t also be looking at ways in which to modify the existing system along the lines that we have suggested.”. 

What's more, the Budget confirmed the government plans to press ahead with its planned changes to the combined system (source). (0/1)

When surveyed about their position on parental leave, the Coalition did not directly address the question. Therefore their position on the extension of the superannuation guarantee to Commonwealth paid parental leave that matter remains unknown. (0/1)

Overall score: 0/2

 

Economic Equality

On taxing the superannuation of low income earners: The Senate Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) beyond June 2017.

The Coalition has indicated that it will support low income earners to accumulate superannuation through the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset, which is expected to replace the LISC. (1/1)

On extending the superannuation guarantee for low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Government update relevant legislation that allows employers with workers earning less than $450 per calendar month an exemption from paying those workers’ superannuation.

The Coalition didn’t provide a direct response to the survey question asked. Its policy remains unknown. (0/1)

Supporting women’s participation in male dominated industries: The Coalition has committed to support women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, plus the research sector, start-ups and entrepreneurial firms by investing $13 million in the area over 5 years. (1/1)

Childcare subsidy: Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits. The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances.

The Coalition did not provide a direct response to the survey question regarding their policy on childcare subsidy, therefore analysis has been conducted on publicly available information about their position.

The Coalition has committed to simplify the childcare system. Their proposed changes are also expected to see a number of families better off than they are under the current system, but some parents are also expected to lose out (source). The Coalition policy will provide all children from low income families with 12 hours of subsidised care a week (source). This does not fully meet the ask.

What’s more, the Coalition have said their childcare package is contingent on the Senate passing cuts to other policies impacting on women and families, including Family Tax Benefit cuts. (0.5/1) 

Want to know more about the details of the different childcare policies? Click here for more detail from our friends at The Parenthood and National Foundation for Australian Women.

Protecting Family Tax Benefit B for single parents: Parties were asked about their policy regarding reducing or removing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13.

The Coalition did not directly respond to the survey question in this area. Therefore the budget position and unlegislated measures table has been taken as the Coalition position (more info). (0/1)

Overall score: 2.5/5

 

Reproductive rights

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures).

In the past, individual Senators have sought to restrict women’s access to medicare rebates which may be used for termination of pregnancy.

The Coalition did not provide a direct response to Fair Agenda’s survey questions regarding their party position on policies in this area. As such their position is unknown.

Overall score: Unknown.

 

View the Party's responses to the policy survey

 

Scoring of Glenn Lazarus Team (GLT) (click to view)

Overall funding: Family violence groups are calling for the federal government to commit the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence services to meet unmet demand - estimated at $2 billion annually. The GLT have indicated support for this policy.

However, it is important to note that only parties in a position to form Government will have control over the budget. Minor parties have been scored regarding their commitment to use any balance of power positions to support the allocation of funding in the areas needed.  (2/2) 

Dedicated and long-term funding stream: The GLT have committed their support for a dedicated and long-term funding stream. (1/1)

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide vital specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are disproportionately affected by family violence. Limited funding means that currently their service provision is limited to just 14 locations. The FVPLS needs $28 million funding to deliver national reach. The GLT have committed their support for full funding of this service. (1/1)

Community legal centres provide vital free legal advice to people affected by family violence. Their top two areas of work nationally are family law and family violence related. These services are currently forced to turn away in excess of 160,000 people per year. Community Legal Centres are currently set to lose $34.83 million funding from 2017 – 2020. The GLT has committed to reverse this cut, (1/1) and to support further funding. (1/1)

Perpetrator response and intervention is a vital component of family violence response. No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service are calling for $37 million to expand perpetrator response and intervention nationally. The GLT have committed to support full funding in this area. (1/1)

Primary prevention is vital to prevent family violence in the future. Our Watch is the national organisation tasked with leading national strategy in this area. The GLT have committed to support full core funding of Our Watch and additional investment in primary prevention capacity building. (2/2)

Overall score: 9/9

 

Improving safety in family law

The GLT have indicated their support for the five key changes outlined in the policy survey. That includes:

  • placing domestic violence specialists in family court registries to undertake risk assessments at the very earliest stages of a case and provide recommendations on interim care arrangements for children
  • Amending the Family Law Act to stop victims being directly cross-examined by their abuser.
  • Incorporating specialist domestic violence lawyers and social workers in to the Family Court system
  • Amending the Family Law Act to require courts to consider family violence when determining a property division.
  • Establishing a national accreditation and monitoring scheme for all family report writers.

Overall score: 5/5

 

Paid parental leave

The Abbott and Turnbull Government have twice tried to cut Australia’s paid parental leave system, with changes expected to cause thousands of new parents to lose out. 

The GLT indicated opposition to cuts in the last parliament; and have committed to vote against any future proposed cuts to the current parental leave system. (1/1)

The GLT have committed their support for the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics that the superannuation guarantee be paid on the existing Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave system. (1/1)

Overall score: 2/2

 

Economic Equality 

On taxing the superannuation of low income earners: The Senate Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) beyond June 2017.

The GLT supports the retention of the LISC or similar mechanism. (1/1)

On extending the superannuation guarantee for low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Government update relevant legislation to remove the exemption that allows employers with workers earning less than $450 per calendar month an exemption from paying those workers’ superannuation.

The GLT has indicated support for this policy. (1/1)

Supporting women’s participation in male dominated industries: The GLT has indicated their support for investment in this area. (1/1)

Childcare subsidy: Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits. The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances.

The GLT has indicated partial support for this policy, noting they support means testing for this policy. (0.5/1)

Protecting Family Tax Benefit B for single parents: The GLT has committed to oppose removing or reducing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13. (1/1)

Overall score: 4.5/5

 

Reproductive rights

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures). 

In the past,  individual Senators have sought to restrict women’s access to medicare rebates which may be used for termination of pregnancy.

The GLT has indicated it has no party position on the question of whether it recognises a woman’s legal right to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy, and that party members would be expected to vote individually according to their conscience. 

This creates some uncertainty around the following two policy questions asked, and as such the overall rank of the GLT displayed on the full scorecard has been marked as unknown.

On the related policy questions, the GLT indicated it would protect the current Medicare arrangements that provide a small Medicare rebate for surgical termination of pregnancy (among other procedures). (1/1)

Although it has no party position on a woman’s legal right to terminate her pregnancy; the GLT has also indicated that it would support the creation of new Medicare item numbers to cover: pregnancy options counselling by medical practitioners or suitably trained nurses; medical terminations; and sexual and reproductive health education consultations. (1/1) 

Overall score: Unknown

 

View the Party's responses to the policy survey

 

Scoring of Jacqui Lambie Network (JLN) (click to view)

Funding of family violence services

Overall funding: Family violence groups are calling on the federal government to commit the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence related services to meet unmet demand - estimated at $2 billion of funding annually. The JLN responded a partial yes to the question about their commitment to this level of funding.

The Senator indicated that she supports in principle the need to significantly improve funding for family and domestic violence related services. She noted that she would like to better understand where the funding needs to be spent - and where the funding will come from. The Senator has indicated she is happy to work with peak bodies to put a program together with a detailed budget which will properly address the funding shortfall in family and domestic violence services, before the Senate.

However, it is important to note that only parties in a position to form Government will have control over the budget. Minor parties have been scored regarding their commitment to use any balance of power positions to support the allocation of funding in the areas needed.  (1.5/2)

Dedicated and long-term funding stream: The JLN have committed their support for a dedicated and long-term funding stream. (1/1)

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide vital specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are disproportionately affected by family violence. Limited funding means that currently their service provision is limited to just 14 locations. The FVPLS needs $28 million funding to deliver national reach. The JLN have committed their support for full funding of this service. (1/1)

Community legal centres provide vital free legal advice to people affected by family violence. Their top two areas of work nationally are family law and family violence related. These services are currently forced to turn away in excess of 160,000 people per year. Community Legal Centres are currently set to lose $34.83 million funding from 2017 – 2020. The JLN has committed to reverse this cut, and to support further funding. (2/2).

Perpetrator response and intervention is a vital component of family violence response. No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service are calling for $37 million to expand perpetrator response and intervention nationally. The JLN have no policy in this area. (0/1)

Primary prevention is vital to prevent family violence in the future. Our Watch is the national organisation are the national Foundation tasked with leading national strategy in this area. The JLN have no policy regarding the provision of long term, core funding for Our Watch (0/1) but would support additional investment in primary prevention capacity building. (1/1)

Overall score: 6.5/9

Policies to improve the safety of women and children in the family court system

The JLN have indicated their support for four of the five key top priority changes outlined in the policy survey. Those are:

  • placing domestic violence specialists in family court registries to undertake risk assessments at the very earliest stages of a case and provide recommendations on interim care arrangements for children

  • Amending the Family Law Act to stop victims being directly cross-examined by their abuser.

  • Amending the Family Law Act to require courts to consider family violence when determining a property division.

  • Establishing a national accreditation and monitoring scheme for all family report writers.

The JLN does not have a policy on the call for incorporating specialist domestic violence lawyers and social workers into the Family Court system.

Overall score: 4/5

 

Protecting paid parental leave

The Abbott and Turnbull Government have both tried to cut Australia’s paid parental leave system, with changes expected to cause thousands of new parents to lose out.

The JLN indicated opposition to cuts in the last parliament; and have committed to vote to protect the current paid parental leave system and oppose any future proposed cuts to the parental leave system. (1/1)

The JLN have indicated their support for the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics that the superannuation guarantee be paid on the existing Paid Parental Leave system. (1/1)

Overall score: 2/2

 

Other policies for women's economic equality

On taxing the superannuation of low income earners: The Senate Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) beyond June 2017.

The JLN supports the retention of the LISC or similar mechanism. (1/1) 

On extending the superannuation guarantee for low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Government update relevant legislation to remove the exemption that allows employers with workers earning less than $450 per calendar month an exemption from paying those workers’ superannuation.

The JLN has indicated support for this policy. (1/1)

Supporting women’s participation in male dominated industries: The JLN has indicated their support for investment in this area. (1/1)

Extending the childcare subsidy: Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits. The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances.

The JLN has indicated support for this policy. (1/1)

Protecting Family Tax Benefit B for single parents: The JLN has committed to oppose removing or reducing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13. (1/1)

Overall score: 5/5

 

Reproductive rights

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has the ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures).

In the past, individual Senators have sought to restrict women's access to Medicare rebates which may be used for termination of pregnancy.

The JLN has indicated it has no party position on the question of whether it recognises a woman’s legal right to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy; but have noted that if the physical and mental well being of a woman is threatened it shouldn’t be illegal.

In the absence of a party position on matters relating to a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy, there is some uncertainty around the following policy questions asked, and as such the overall rank of the JLN on this issue has been marked as unknown.

Despite indicating that it has no party position on abortion, the JLN has indicated it would vote to protect the current Medicare arrangements that provide a small Medicare rebate for surgical termination of pregnancy, (1/1) and indicated partial support for the creation of a new Medicare item numbers to cover: pregnancy options counselling by medical practitioners or suitably trained nurses; medical terminations; and sexual and reproductive health education consultations. These are both positive commitments. (0.5/1)

Overall score: Unknown

 

View the Party's responses to the policy survey

 

Scoring of Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) (click to view)

Funding of family violence services

Overall funding: Family violence groups are calling on the federal government to commit the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence related services to meet unmet demand - estimated at $2 billion annually. The NXT have indicated their support for full funding - noting that while they cannot form Government, if they were in a balance of power position they would push for full funding of these services no matter the cost.

However, it is important to note that only parties in a position to form Government will have control over the budget. Minor parties have been scored regarding their commitment to use any balance of power positions to support the allocation of funding in the areas needed. (2/2)

Dedicated and long-term funding stream: The NXT have committed their support for a dedicated and long-term funding stream. (1/1)

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide vital specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are disproportionately affected by family violence. Limited funding means that currently their service provision is limited to just 14 locations. The FVPLS needs $28 million funding to deliver national reach. The NXT have committed their support for full funding of this service. (1/1)

Community legal centres provide vital free legal advice to people affected by family violence. Their top two areas of work nationally are family law and family violence related. These services are currently forced to turn away in excess of 160,000 people per year. Community Legal Centres are currently set to lose $34.83 million funding from 2017 – 2020. The NXT is committed to reverse this cut, (1/1) and to support further funding. (1/1)

Perpetrator response and intervention is a vital component of family violence response. No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service are calling for $37 million to expand perpetrator response and intervention nationally. The NXT have committed to support full funding in this area. (1/1)

Primary prevention is vital to prevent family violence in the future. Our Watch is the national organisation tasked with leading national strategy in this area. The NXT have committed to support full core funding of Our Watch and additional investment in primary prevention capacity building. (2/2)

Overall score: 9/9

 

Policies to improve the safety of women and children in the family court system

The NXT have indicated their support for the five key changes outlined in the policy survey. That includes:

  • placing domestic violence specialists in family court registries to undertake risk assessments at the very earliest stages of a case and provide recommendations on interim care arrangements for children

  • Amending the Family Law Act to stop victims being directly cross-examined by their abuser.

  • Incorporating specialist domestic violence lawyers and social workers in to the Family Court system

  • Amending the Family Law Act to require courts to consider family violence when determining a property division.

  • Establishing a national accreditation and monitoring scheme for all family report writers.

Overall score: 5/5

 

Protecting paid parental leave

The Abbott and Turnbull Government have twice tried to cut Australia’s paid parental leave system, with changes expected to cause thousands of new parents to lose out.

The NXT indicated opposition to cuts in the last parliament; and have committed to vote against any future proposed cuts to the parental leave system. (1/1) 

The NXT do not have a policy regarding the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics that the superannuation guarantee be paid on the existing Paid Parental Leave system. (0/1)

Overall score: 1/2

 

Other policies for women's economic equality

On taxing the superannuation of low income earners: The Senate Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) beyond June 2017.

The NXT supports the retention of the LISC or similar mechanism. (1/1)

On extending the superannuation guarantee for low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Government update relevant legislation to remove the exemption that allows employers with workers earning less than $450 per calendar month an exemption from paying those workers’ superannuation.

The NXT has indicated support for this policy. (1/1)

Supporting women’s participation in male dominated industries: The NXT has indicated their support for investment in this area. (1/1)

Childcare subsidy: Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits. The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances.

The NXT has indicated partial support for this policy (0.5/1)

Protecting Family Tax Benefit B for single parents: The NXT has committed to oppose removing or reducing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13. (1/1)

Overall score: 4.5/5

 

Reproductive rights

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures). 

In the past, individual Senators have sought to restrict women’s access to medicare rebates which may be used for termination of pregnancy.

The NXT has indicated that it has a party position which recognises a woman’s legal right to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy. (1/1)

The NXT are also committed to protecting the current Medicare arrangements that provide a small Medicare rebate for surgical termination of pregnancy (among other procedures). (1/1) 

The NXT has indicated its partial support for new Medicare item numbers to cover: pregnancy options counselling by medical practitioners or suitably trained nurses; medical terminations; and sexual and reproductive health education consultations; noting they would need further details on these policies. (0.5/1)

Overall score: 2.5/3

View the Party's responses to the policy survey

 

 

Scoring of The Sex Party (click to view)

Funding of family violence services

Overall funding: Family violence groups are calling on the federal government to commit the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence related services to meet unmet demand - estimated at $2 billion annually. The Sex Party have committed their support for this policy. 

However, it is important to note that only parties in a position to form Government will have control over the budget. Minor parties have been scored regarding their commitment to use any balance of power positions to support the allocation of funding in the areas needed.  (2/2)

Dedicated and long-term funding stream: The Sex Party have committed their support for a dedicated and long-term funding stream. (1/1)

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide vital specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are disproportionately affected by family violence. Limited funding means that currently their service provision is limited to just 14 locations. The FVPLS needs $28 million funding to deliver national reach. The Sex Party have committed their support for full funding of this service. (1/1)

Community legal centres provide vital free legal advice to people affected by family violence. Their top two areas of work nationally are family law and family violence related. These services are currently forced to turn away in excess of 160,000 people per year. Community Legal Centres are currently set to lose $34.83 million funding from 2017 – 2020. The Sex Party has committed to reverse this cut, and to support further funding. (2/2).

Perpetrator response and intervention is a vital component of family violence response. No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service are calling for $37 million to expand perpetrator response and intervention nationally. The Sex Party have committed to support full funding in this area. (1/1)

Primary prevention is vital to prevent family violence in the future. Our Watch is the national organisation tasked with leading national strategy in this area. The Sex Party have committed to support full core funding of Our Watch and additional investment in primary prevention capacity building. (2/2)

Overall score: 9/9

 

Improving safety in family law

The Sex Party have indicated their support for the five key changes outlined in the policy survey. That includes:

  • placing domestic violence specialists in family court registries to undertake risk assessments at the very earliest stages of a case and provide recommendations on interim care arrangements for children
  • Amending the Family Law Act to stop victims being directly cross-examined by their abuser.
  • Incorporating specialist domestic violence lawyers and social workers in to the Family Court system
  • Amending the Family Law Act to require courts to consider family violence when determining a property division.
  • Establishing a national accreditation and monitoring scheme for all family report writers.

Overall score: 5/5

  

Paid parental leave

The Abbott and Turnbull Government have twice tried to cut Australia’s paid parental leave system, with changes expected to cause thousands of new parents to lose out.

When asked if they would commit to vote against cuts to the current parental leave system, the Sex Party have indicated they don’t have a policy in this area. They do note that they support a minimum of 18 weeks paid parental leave. This does not meet the ask. (0/1)

The Sex Party do not have a policy regarding the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics that the superannuation guarantee be paid on the existing Paid Parental Leave system. (0/1)

Overall score: 0/2

  

Economic Equality

On taxing the superannuation of low income earners: The Senate Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) beyond June 2017.

The Sex Party have indicated they do not have a policy regarding the retention of the LISC or similar mechanism. (0/1)

On extending the superannuation guarantee for low income earners: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Government update relevant legislation to remove the exemption that allows employers with workers earning less than $450 per calendar month an exemption from paying those workers’ superannuation. 

The Sex Party has indicated they do not have a policy in this area. (0/1)

Supporting women’s participation in male dominated industries: The Sex Party has indicated their support for investment in this area. (1/1) 

Childcare subsidy: Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits. The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances.

The Sex Party has indicated they have no policy on this. (0/1)

Protecting Family Tax Benefit B for single parents: When asked if they would support removing or reducing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13, the Sex Party indicated they have no policy in this area. (0/1) 

Overall score: 1/5

 

Reproductive rights

While laws and regulations regarding legal termination of pregnancy are legislated at a state and territory level, the federal government has ability to influence policy by making changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (therefore impacting the affordability of such procedures).

In the past, individual Senators have sought to restrict women’s access to medicare rebates which may be used for termination of pregnancy.

The Sex party has a party position which recognises a woman’s legal right to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy. (1/1)

The Sex Party are also committed to protecting the current Medicare arrangements that provide a small Medicare rebate for surgical termination of pregnancy. (1/1) 

The Sex Party has also indicated it would support creating new Medicare item numbers to cover: pregnancy options counselling by medical practitioners or suitably trained nurses; medical terminations; and sexual and reproductive health education consultations. (1/1)

Overall score: 3/3

 

View the Party's responses to the policy survey

More on Scoring

The issues highlighted in Fair Agenda’s scorecard have been set in line with priorities set by Fair Agenda members.

Who did the scoring? (click to view)

The scores in each category have been developed in consultation with policy experts.

The survey questions and scores on family violence policy have been developed in consultation with: Domestic Violence NSW, Domestic Violence Victoria, Women’s Legal Services Australia, National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum, National Association of Community Legal Centres and No To Violence/Men’s Referral Service.

The survey questions and scores on parental leave and policies for economic equality have been developed in consultation with the National Foundation for Australian Women and other relevant experts.

The survey questions and scores on reproductive rights have been developed in consultation with Reproductive Choice Australia.

Who developed the questions? (click to view)

In our recent member survey Fair Agenda members nominated: addressing gendered violence, improving women's economic equality (including protecting parental leave) and protecting reproductive rights as priority issues for our community.

Therefore, in conjunction with Domestic Violence Victoria, Domestic Violence NSW, Women's Legal Services Australia, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, National Association of Community Legal Centres, Reproductive Choice Australia, and the National Foundation for Australian Women; Fair Agenda developed a survey to clarify the parties' stances in key relevant policy areas in all of these areas.

What were the questions? (click to view)

The issues highlighted in Fair Agenda’s scorecard have been set in line with priorities set by Fair Agenda members. The Fair Agenda community is deeply concerned about addressing family violence and women's economic inequality (including protecting parental leave); as well as protecting reproductive rights.

These are therefore the focuses of Fair Agenda's election survey and scorecard.

The questions about family violence (click to view)

Funding for services

These questions are being asked in partnership with a number of domestic violence specialists, including Domestic Violence NSW, Domestic Violence Victoria, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Women's Legal Services Australia and No To Violence. 

Q1. Inadequate and unpredictable funding for family and domestic violence services limits the capacity of specialist agencies to respond to the urgent and ongoing needs of those affected. Would your party support the implementation of guaranteed, long-term funding for family violence services, delivered through a dedicated Commonwealth funding stream? 

Q2. Would your Party commit the additional federal funding needed for family and domestic violence related services to meet unmet demand – estimated at $2 billion annually? 

Q3. The Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide specialist and culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but are currently limited to just 14 locations. Would your Party provide the funding needed to ensure national coverage -- estimated at an additional $28 million annually? 

Q4. Community Legal Centres provide vital free legal advice to people experiencing family violence. The top two areas of work CLCs do nationally are family law and family violence related. Would your Party commit to reverse the scheduled $34.83 million cuts to CLCs between 2017-2020, and provide additional funding? 

Q5. Would your Party provide additional federal funding to expand perpetrator responses and intervention such as men’s behaviour change programs, estimated by No To Violence to require an additional $37 million of federal funding annually? 

Q6. Our Watch is the National Foundation for the Prevention of Violence Against Women and their Children. It oversees and leads the implementation of the national strategy to prevent violence against women. Does your Party support the provision of long term, core funding of Our Watch of $5 million annually until at least 2022 (the final year of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children)? 

Q7. Would your Party support investment to build the capacity of practitioners in community groups, government, organisations and key sectors to ensure they have expertise in the prevention of violence, and are able to expand the reach of current primary prevention activities? 

Policies to improve the safety of women and children in the family law system

The Women’s Legal Service Australia, in partnership with Rosie Batty, recently launched their ‘Safety First in family law’ proposal, outlining the policy changes needed to keep women and children affected by family violence safe in the family law system. This section of the survey deals with your party’s position on key policies from that proposal. 

Q1. Would your Party implement a policy to place domestic violence specialists in family court registries to undertake risk assessments at the very earliest stages of a case and provide recommendations on interim care arrangements for children? 

Q2. Would your party amend the Family Law Act 1975 to introduce legislative protections to stop a victim being directly cross-examined by their abuser? 

Q3. In 2012 a Co-Ordinated Family Dispute Resolution pilot which incorporated specialist domestic violence lawyers and social workers into the Family Court system was tested in a number of locations, and was highly successful at ensuring the best interests of children were met in matters.

Would your Party roll out this mediation model nationally? 

Q4. Right now family violence is not legislated as a relevant consideration when the Family Court determines a property settlement. In 2001 The Family Law Council advised the Attorney-General to amend the Family Law Act 1975 to require courts to consider family violence when determining a property division. Would your party implement this recommendation? 

Q5. Family Report Writers are professionals (such as a social workers or psychologists) who are responsible for preparing reports to the Family Court on matters related to children's best interests. These reports are often very influential in Court decisions, and can have dangerous implications if they do not recognise or take into account family abuse or violence.

Would your party establish a national accreditation and monitoring scheme for all family report writers; with mandatory training on domestic violence, cultural competency and working with victims of trauma? 

The questions about paid parental leave (click to view)

Paid parental leave

Q1. The World Health Organisation recommends that the minimum period of exclusive care for optimal maternal and infant health outcomes is 26 weeks. The current paid parental leave system was introduced in line with recommendations from the Productivity Commission and allows an eligible parent to top up the minimum government provided leave (of 18 weeks at the minimum wage) with additional leave they have negotiated into their employment arrangements.

It has recently been proposed that cuts be made to this paid parental leave system, reducing the amount of government provided leave available to a new parent if their employer also provides paid parental leave. Would your party vote to protect the current paid parental leave system?

Q2. The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the superannuation guarantee* should be paid on the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave system. Would you support this change?

*The Superannuation Guarantee requires employers to contribute a percentage of an employee's earnings into a superannuation fund. 

The questions about other policies for economic equality (click to view)

Q1. On average women retire with approximately half the level of retirement savings of men.

The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the concessional superannuation contributions of lower income earners not be taxed at a higher rate than their ordinary income, through the retention of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution beyond June 2017. Do you support the retention of the LISC or similar mechanism? 

Q2. The Senate Standing Committee on Economics recently recommended that the Australian Government amend the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 to remove the exemption from paying the superannuation guarantee in respect of employees whose salary or wages are less than $450 in a calendar month.

Would your Party support removing that exemption? 

Q3. Will your Party invest in measures to support women's participation in traditionally male dominated industries? 

Q4. Early Childhood Australia say that two days per week is the minimum amount of time children need in early childhood education for early learning benefits.

The Parenthood are calling for a minimum of 2 days of childcare subsidy to be available for every child aged 0 - 5 (at the current rate or more), regardless of parents' working circumstances. Would you support this policy? 

Q5. Would your Party support removing or reducing entitlements to Family Tax Benefit Part B from single parents when their youngest child turns 13? 

The questions about reproductive rights (click to view)

Q1. Do you have a party position on matters relating to a woman’s legal right to terminate a pregnancy? 

Q2. If your party has a unified position, does it recognise a woman's legal right to decide whether to continue or terminate her pregnancy? 

Q3. The Federal Parliament has the power to make changes to Medicare. Currently there is a small medicare rebate for surgical termination of pregnancy. Would your party support any restrictions on access to Medicare rebates for services related to pregnancy termination? 

Q4. Right now there is no medical rebate specifically for pregnancy options counselling or medical termination of pregnancy. Nor is there a rebate for sexual or reproductive health consultations aimed at educating patients about safe sex practices and contraception.

Would your party support the creation of new Medicare item numbers to cover; pregnancy options counselling by medical practitioners or suitably trained nurses, medical termination of pregnancy, or a sexual and reproductive health education consultation rebate? 

How were scores calculated? (click to view)

Scores in each category were awarded against each of the survey questions; and agreed in consultation with partners with relevant policy expertise.

To view the detailed point system used in each issue area, please visit the detailed breakdown on the issues page here.

 

Why are only some parties in the scorecard? (click to view)

The scorecard displays the parties who responded to Fair Agenda's election survey.

The survey was also sent to:

  • Senator Ricky Muir and the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party
  • Senator John Madigan and the Australian Manufacturing and Farming Party
  • The Palmer United Party
  • Family First
  • Liberal Democrats
  • One Nation
  • Derryn Hinch's Justice Party

Responses were not received from these parties.

Where can I see the parties' responses (click to view)

Can you share the scorecard?

Authorised by Renee Carr, Fair Agenda, Suite 103, 55 Holt Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010