Tony Abbott, the Minister for Women, must resign! - AWCCI

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Tony Abbott, the Minister for Women, must resign!

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There’s has been a lot of discussion on the various outcomes of the 2015 budget. Some believe that small businesses are the big winners; whilst others claim it will only be a few of the big retailers who will make money while small business spends merely to bring forward tax rebates on their capital or operational expenditure.

The one thing no one has brought to the attention of the public or the media is the fact that women received only ONE LINE in this year’s budget, a repetition from last year.

Let me explain…

During the budget lockup – this is where stakeholders from around the country are literally locked up for four hours in the depths of the Treasury Building in Canberra prior to the official release of the Budget.  Before entering, we sign a non-disclosure agreement and hand in our phones to avoid contact with the outside world until the doors open at 7.30pm, just after the Treasurer has made his Budget speech.

Inside the lockup we have the privilege of speed reading around 25 documents running to thousands of pages. As you can imagine, I focus only on how the budget will affect small business and issues that affect women.

Once again, I was flabbergasted to learn that the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet had given women a single line!

According to the Budget papers (Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio Overview) the PM&C’s role is to provide policy advice and support to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Portfolio Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries through a coordinated approach to the development and implementation of government policies. More specifically, PM&C will:

  • Provide timely advice and funding to external stakeholders who provide programmes and support to promote women’s economic empowerment; and …
  • The annual budget for the Office for Women - lest we forget that the PM is the Minister for women - is $3,555,000. 

When I enquired about the one line which mentioned ‘women’, I was advised “Yes, that is correct!”  

“Great,” I said, “Can you please provide further information about how this will be spent? “

“No, that is all we have.”

Congratulations, to the Minister for Women!

Once upon a time, whilst in lockup, we had the opportunity to ask Ministers and advisors from various departments questions about the Budget.  Yes, they actually came into the lockup and talked to stakeholders. This practice, however stopped when Abbott took office.  Now we need to ‘log’ a call.  We then wait until someone has time to call us back and receive a coffee-shop style queue buzzer, alerting us to the call-back.  We are not privileged enough to know with whom we speak with and they hang up when they have fed us the ‘appropriate’ line.  Sometimes I wonder if I am living in Cuba!

Furthermore, to my outrage, I discovered that the National Australia Day Council receives more ($3,803,000) than the Office for Women!

So there you have it.   We are 51% of the population.  Unless you are a victim of domestic violence or need childcare, you don’t count (and then only in special circumstances), thus you and I are not included in Australia’s Budget.  This is ample evidence of why we need a woman to represent women in the Federal Government.  Lip service is old, dated and REALLY tiresome.

On the matter of childcare….well, don’t stress yet.  The changes proposed in this budget are just that and carry with a very big ‘if’.   Nothing will change until the legislation passes the Senate, which doesn’t like being blackmailed.  I’ve had discussions with many who have confirmed that it will NOT go through.  If the legislation does pass, however, the government can introduce further legislation, make cuts and continue calling working mothers ‘double dippers!’ but families will see no changes until 2017! 

To see what others say on the budget, here are a few links to enlighten you:

Women with children to be given jobs 

10 Ways women have been let down by the Budget

Bad for business, women & families: There are no winners here 

Who is responsible for the PPL? 

Why women prefer male bosses!

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Guest Monday, 20 November 2017