‘Why do you presume?’: Sales fires up

 

Scott Morrison's failure to tackle the cost of childcare in the budget has been slammed in a fiery interview with the ABC's Leigh Sales who challenged the PM to explain "who will look after the children"?

As Anthony Albanese prepares to pledge a Labor government will slash the cost of childcare for families in his budget in reply speech, the Prime Minister has ruled out offering "free" childcare.

But in a testy and challenging interview at 7.30, the Prime Minister insisted he had not forgotten families under his plan to create one million new jobs.

"Who do you think is going to look after the children of the new workers?,'' Sales asked.

But it was his subsequent observation that record spending on childcare was good for women's workforce participation that sent the interview careering down an alley the Prime Minister didn't see coming.

"Why do you assume I'm talking about women. Men are responsible,'' Sales interjected.

"Men are responsible for childcare as well, you have pivoted to talking about women but men should be 50 per cent responsible for childcare, too."

The Prime Minister said he was "not disagreeing with that" but added that women's participation had improved as childcare became more affordable.

"If you are suggesting we should have free childcare for everybody, that is not something we are proposing,'' he said.

 

ABC's Leigh Sales fires up at the Prime Minister.
ABC's Leigh Sales fires up at the Prime Minister.

'Free' childcare was offered by the Morrison Government as a temporary option during the COVID-19 pandemic but was subsequently axed.

It is also the policy Bill Shorten took to the last election as a "game changer" but only for low income earners.

But a testy Anthony Albanese offered a one word answer "no" after news.com.au reported he would offer free childcare in Thursday's speech.

Instead, Labor has closely examined a plan to cover 90 or even 95 per cent of the cost of childcare for low income earners with a small co-payment largely to boost attendance rates.

The ALP's new policy, to be announced on Thursday night, follows close examination of the Grattan Institute's push for a childcare co-payment as little as $20 a day for most parents.

"Under this scheme, 60 per cent of families would pay less than $20 per day per child for childcare, and no family would be worse off,'' the Grattan report states.

"The childcare subsidy for low-income families should be raised from 85 per cent to 95 per cent, gradually tapering for households with income above $68,000."

Labor's treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers confirmed that making childcare more affordable would be a big part of Labor's budget-in-reply speech but would not be drawn on the details.

"One of the key omissions from the budget, one of the things that a lot of Australians are scratching their heads about is why they couldn't do something about childcare in particular,'' Dr Chalmers told The Project.

"We don't want a lot of working parents, often mums, to have to make a decision about going to work when almost all of their salary goes into paying for childcare. We'll have more to say about childcare but that's one of the obvious omissions from the budget."

Earlier, the Prime Minister came out swinging in parliament over claims there's nothing in the federal budget for women.

Accusing Mr Albanese of stereotyping women, Mr Morrison said women would benefit from tax breaks for business and infrastructure spending.

"It may come as some surprise to the Leader of the Opposition, but women run small businesses," the Prime Minister said.

"Women pay tax. Women hire other Australians in their businesses. Women want to drive on safe roads. Women want to go to university, and they want to study science and technology and engineering and maths. They want to get apprenticeships. They want to get traineeships. They want to get jobs."

 

 

Originally published as 'Why do you presume?': Sales fires up

Scott Morrison appears on ABC's 7.30 program.
Scott Morrison appears on ABC's 7.30 program.

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