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.

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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


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