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The forked tongue of Hanson-Young

By Sussan Ley - posted Thursday, 1 September 2011

With significant diversions during Federal Parliament last week one of the more contemptible political back flips in recent memory might have escaped your notice.

Without a blush Labor, supported by the Greens in the Senate, took $700 a year from 21,000 parents to fund its reform agenda for the childcare industry.

A little explanatory background is needed.


In April this year, Greens spokesperson for Early Childhood Education and Care, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, expressed what many took to be genuine concern at the prospect of the Government chopping back the 50% Childcare Rebate (CCR).

The CCR is available to cover half of any out-of-pocket expenses associated with childcare for parents working, studying or training.

“We would be extremely concerned about any changes to the childcare rebate that would make it harder for families to access affordable (care)”, gushed Ms Hanson-Young.

Labor had used its tenuous Lower House numbers to take the knife to the rebate in November but could not get this measure passed by a guarded Senate.

For those of us working in and with the childcare sector the Greens assertions were good news. We knew then as we do now, the last thing governments should be doing is making it tougher for mums and dads to afford this vital link in the labour force chain.

So among the imponderables last week, what happened?  


The legislation went back to the Senate where, without even a syllable uttered in its defence, the new block of Greens sided with Labor to cut and cap the rebate from $8179 to $7500 and freeze this from indexation for the next three years.   

All up, even on this Government’s flaky estimates, roughly five percent of our nation’s workers will now have to find $81m themselves over the next few years if they wish to maintain their current level of childcare.

They will have to do so under the unknown impost of a carbon tax and on top of increasing  prices across every nook of family expenditure, including rising childcare fees.

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About the Author

Sussan Ley is the Liberal Federal Member for Farrer

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