Let Senator Xenophon know you oppose cuts to new parents' time at home

Let Senator Xenophon know you oppose cuts to new parents' time at home

The government's new proposed cuts to paid time at home for new parents will hurt 80,000 families; hit nurses, ambos, teachers and retail workers; and hurt low-income women -- that's what the shocking reality highlighted in a new report commissioned by Fair Agenda members just before Christmas.

For the new mums and dads in the scenarios modelled, the cuts would leave them with only enough income to cover 7 - 13 weeks of living costs while caring for their newborn baby. That's less than half of the 26 weeks experts recommend for both mother and baby's health and welfare.

The good news is there's still a chance to stop the cuts. They'll only become reality if they're approved by the Senate cross bench - including South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon. When first asked about the new changes Senator Xenophon indicated to media that he was opposed to the cuts - which is great news.[1] But we can be sure the government will be pressuring him to shift his vote over coming weeks. Can you make sure the Senator knows he has community support to stand strong against the cuts? 

Take 3 minutes to send him a personal email at [email protected] Click below to find out what to write.

Click here to find out what you should say

Here are some helpful hints for putting together a quick email (because we know personal emails from voters are much more effective than simple copy and pastes of generic emails):
  • Introduce yourself - Explain that you're a local voter concerned about the cuts to paid parental leave. Mention where you live and what you do. 
  • Explain the reason you're emailing - Let the Senator know that you're very concerned about the cuts. You might want to mention that you've read about the latest report on the projected impacts on paid parental leave (commissioned by Fair Agenda members), that show nurses, teachers, ambos and Woolies cashiers would lose precious time with their newborns if he and the other cross bench Senators approve the cuts, and how that makes you feel. (You can read a copy of the report at www.fairagenda.org/blog_report_newpplcuts).
  • Share your story - Is this issue going to affect you or someone else you know? Share that story. 
  • Thank the Senator for his position - Let the Senator know you've read that he intends to vote against the change, and that you're very glad to hear he plans to stand up against this cruel cut, and that you urge him to maintain this position.
  • Say thanks! - Thank the Senator for his time.

Once you've sent your email, please forward us a copy at [email protected] so we can keep track of all the powerful messages being sent to the Senator on this issue!

Want a quick refresher on the proposed cuts? Click here to get the facts

What's the proposed cut?

  • Experts recommends that 26 weeks is the minimum period of time off work needed for health and welfare benefits to new mothers and newborns.
  • The current government scheme provides parents with access to 18 weeks of government provided paid parental leave (at the minimum wage), and encourages new parents to top up this leave period with any additional paid time at home they have negotiated with their employer. This was specifically designed to allow more parents to be able to take the recommended level of 26 weeks of postnatal leave.
  • Now the Turnbull government want to cut the paid time at home parents can access; by cutting the number of weeks of government leave in line with the period of employer leave they are provided. So for a mother who currently has 8 weeks of employer leave (and can top up her 18 weeks of government provided leave to reach the recommended 26 weeks), the government want to cut the leave they provide from 18 weeks to 8 weeks -- leaving that new mum with a total of just 18 weeks of income to pay the bills while she cares for and nurtures the next generation.

What do the experts say?

  • Given what experts know about how women in Australia know about how women in Australia use parental leave, they expert that the proposed cuts will:
    • prevent more women from spending critical time at home with their new baby;
    • lead to financial duress;
    • reduce the number of women able to afford to stay at home for 26 weeks and thus adversely impact on the health and welfare outcomes of new babies and mothers; and
    • increase demand for childcare for the very young, in a system that is already struggling to keep up with demand.
  • Analysis of the impact of the proposed cuts on some example families shows that nurses, teachers, ambulance service workers and retail workers will be hit hard by the proposed changes. Under the government’s proposed cuts, the families in our case studies would be left with just 7 – 13 weeks of living costs covered. That’s less than half of the 26 weeks experts recommend. The financial loss suffered by these families would range from $3,942 to $10,512.
  • The report also shows that if the cuts are approved, we can expect negative flow on impacts for new families, and the communities in which they live. 

This cut will hurt Aussie families and communities. That's why it's critical the cross bench vote against it.

Make sure the Senator knows his constituents care about this issue, send him an email!


1. Paid parental leave compromise to face cross bench test, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 December 2015.

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