Initial Reaction

My first thoughts on the budget – published at The Conversation:

There is a lot to like in this budget. A lot of the heavy lifting in returning the budget to surplus comes from reductions in spending. The changes to universities are significant and will lead to greater competition in the sector and drive change within individual Universities. At the same time there is a lot to dislike in the budget.

Comparing the Budget fiscal balance to the MYEFO fiscal balance (Table 6 page 3-27 in Budget Paper 1) we see that the improvement is mostly driven by parameter variations – in other words by changing assumptions and circumstance. It looks like a lot of spending has been cut but little of it comes from changes in actual policy.

Then there is the Medical Research Future Fund. This verges on the incoherent. The government will invest all the money from the GP co-payment, increased medicine payments, and savings from medical expenditure into the fund which will then finance research. In other words, the GP co-payment and increased medicine prices will not be used to reduce debt or deficit. So why have it all? Clearly there is no urgent need to introduce these higher prices and co-payments; they are driven purely by ideology. The Medical Research Future Fund exists to detract attention from that decision. Why deprive people of actual medical attention in order to finance research when there is no guarantee of any actual benefit?

Then there is the broken tax promise. Tony Abbott consistently and persistently promised no new taxes. This promise has been shattered by an increase in the top marginal tax rate above $180,000 and the reintroduction of petrol indexation. In time petrol indexation will generate a lot of income, but not in the next financial year. Similarly the increased tax rate (only for three years, we’re told) won’t raise much revenue either. So why break a promise for little revenue gain? This is a form above substance measure to share the pain. Most notably, however, while high-income earners are being asked (Hockey really means “compelled”) to pay higher taxes for three years, politicians’ salaries are only being frozen for one year.

Finally, of course, the budget and the forward projections all remain in deficit. Joe Hockey has not produced a surplus and over the foreseeable future isn’t forecasting a surplus either.

I should add the cuts to foreign aid are good but not deep enough.

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77 Responses to Initial Reaction

  1. Disillusioned

    I like the cuts to the public service. Should become an annual sacrifice for the overpaid, underworked minions of a bloated system.

  2. Infidel Tiger

    Arty types seem to hate it, so that’s something I suppose.

  3. Arnost

    Not enough heavy arty is the issue

  4. Andrew

    While spending didn’t reduce much, it’s on medical research and roads instead of seatwarmers and duplication of State responsibilities. That’s about the best we could have hoped for.

  5. coz

    The petrol excise is a worry, don’t we pay enough already, doesn’t it drive up costs and therefore wages generally. It’s like a pseudo-greens tax, but hey Tone and Hoe are there to bring in NWO values.

  6. Aussiepundit

    Why deprive people of actual medical attention in order to finance research when there is no guarantee of any actual benefit?

    Yes, indeed.
    The $6 co-pay is just going into a big superannuation-style pot of goodies for the research establishment.
    It will be used to fund big labs and expensive salaries, from retirees visiting their local doctor. It’s 100 percent worthless.

  7. Gab

    The Medical Future Fund is Hockey’s PPL.

    Clearly there is no budget emergency with spending up, minimal cuts and more taxes and welfare churn.

  8. 2dogs

    the GP co-payment and increased medicine prices will not be used to reduce debt or deficit. So why have it all?

    The fees reduce over-servicing by doctors. Patients don’t notice this when they’re not charged, but will if they need to pay $6.

  9. mundi

    This budget is possibly even worse than labor. Removing part of subsidised health of those currently sick to fund questionable investment that might help future sick people is quite simply insane.

    Can anyone check if Hockey’s wife brought some shares in a few medical companies yerterday?

  10. Gk

    In summation
    1. We have cut some spending
    2. We have increased a lot of spending
    3. We are giving company tax rate decrease
    4. We are increasing company tax rate (on the big ones) with a ppl levy
    5. We care about costs to families and business
    6. We have indexation on fuel reintroduced which will have a compounding effect on all goods throughout the economy and should help increase inflation
    7. We have a $7 co payment to help reduce health costs
    8. This co payment will start a new money gravy train and will provide jobs for us after politics
    9. We politicians will have a 1 year pay freeze
    10. Like last time after a year we will have a catch pay rise
    11. We must live within our means
    12. We will continue to honour things we cannot afford and don’t really know how much it costs like gonski, ndis, NBN

    Very disappointed with a ALP inspired budget.

  11. coz

    A big mistake they’ve made is that MD consults for children should be free (if parents qualify via means test or the usual card), the bullshit about the first 10 visits being free means nothing, means you pay all the time, cos most adults between 18 and 55 (unless they’re hypochondriacs) wouldn’t remotely reach the 10 visits a year bullshit (ugh that’s where you pick up disease, doctors waiting rooms) but the elderly and kids are different in requiring access to a GP more frequently – kids are a disease vector and parents on low incomes shouldn’t be punished for seeking help with their kids prone-ness to disease, it keeps the disease levels in the general community down if kids are treated regularly.

  12. JC

    Dogs

    I have no problem with the co-payment and agree with the reason you espouse. But using the money to fund another big government boon doggle is nuts. If you’re going to do that, then you may as well leave the co-payment alone.

  13. Gab

    Good summary, Gk. It’s a dog’s breakfast of a budget, doubt Swan could have done worse.

  14. MM

    Agree with 2 dogs, the point of a co-payment is to discourage over use of the system. The savings from reductions in wastage will be banked in consolidated revenue. Interested to see what they are estimated to be, bet you it is a lot more than the $6 going into the medical research fund. No doubt the $6 will be ratchetted upward in future. I like it.

  15. wreckage

    CL: HA! NOPE.

    egg: I expect so, everyone was geared up for “tough but fair” and instead we got “Limp-wristed, yet still, somehow, unfair.”

  16. Chris

    The fees reduce over-servicing by doctors. Patients don’t notice this when they’re not charged, but will if they need to pay $6.

    But really just how many people have a blood test or an MRI on a whim for which there will now be a co-payment? It costs the vast majority of people more in travel costs and wasted time (especially something like an MRI) than $6. Are doctors really overprescribing those sorts of tests and what is the cost of people avoiding the tests (because they’re a bit short on cash at the time) resulting in a much more expensive treatment later because diseases are not picked up until they are more fully developed (say something like cancer where symptoms can be very vague, but if picked up earlier is much easier to treat)?

  17. entropy

    The problem with just pruning is that the grunts end up the ones being axed, while the politically attuned time servers manage to survive and immediately start rebuilding their empires as soon as possible. The end result is that savings are temporary at best, and the boondoggles are still operational.

    Better to decide what you are not going to do, then remove them, than across the board cuts that are easily reversed by the next mob. The ABC, in the long run, will not notice its cuts, for example.

  18. pete m

    16,000 job cuts is not “just pruning”.

  19. lem

    16,000 job cuts is not “just pruning”.

    Damned right. It’s just plucking a few leaves.

  20. sabrina

    There was budget emergency before the election.
    Now there is medical research emergency after the election.
    Cut funds for research at CSIRO, slug all doctor visits $7 to fund medical research.
    We have genius running the country!
    Sinclair – whatever it takes is the mantra adopted by all sides. Idiot obfuscators.

  21. Baldrick

    Mark Scott ABC’s managing director has this reaction:

    “The funding cuts will be disappointing for audiences. The task ahead will be extremely challenging for ABC management and staff. We will need to make funding cuts, while trying to also save money to invest in new priorities to ensure the ABC remains a compelling feature of the Australian media landscape – a public broadcaster in the digital era.”

    Just how top heavy is the ABC if it can’t make savings of $40 million (a 1% reduction) from a budget of more than $4 billion over 4 years. Or to put it another way, for every $1,000,000 the ABC spends, it will need to find of saving of $10,000 … hardly heavy lifting.

  22. Leon L

    Excellent post Sinclair.

    “So why have it all?”

    GP rebates have already been frozen for 18 months. Perversely if you pay up front when you see a GP, your rebate will be reduced by $5 from Medicare meaning you’ll be about $10 worse off than now when you visit the GP. If you get bulk billed the GP will be $2 better off.
    This policy will then reduce bulk billing and unnecessary visits? I think not.
    The PBS charges have been increased but there has been no thorough review of this complex and expensive program. Many drugs are now cheaper as a non PBS (private) script but you and your doctor don’t know this as the pricing info is not published.

  23. The best part of the budget is that spending didn’t increase from last year.

    Of course, when takings for last year are 365 and we are spending 415 this year, that is not particularly comforting. 50 big ones down the drain so that the pain can be tapered in, and another 45 next year.

    It really only in the third year that the budget starts to correct, and that is an election year so it’s liable to go out the window.

  24. Cut funds for research at CSIRO

    There’s a lot of green research hiding at CSIRO. That doesn’t need to be funded anymore.

  25. Blogstrop

    The government’s expenditure review committee wanted a much larger efficiency dividend from the ABC but Turnbull talked them out of it. Now that is annoying.

  26. mundi

    The PPL is going to cause massive class warfare.

    My wife had twins and ended up with about $9k after tax from current PPL. Under this PPL she would get $100k.

    Thats a pretty big difference to living standards over the next few years that is off work.

    The big winners are anyone who is pregnant.

  27. entropy

    So it isn’t per pregnancy, but per birth?

  28. Robert O.

    I must agree on the cuts to foreign aid. Kevin Rudd used these to buy a worthless seat on the Security Council of the UN, and as it shows all to plainly that with a Russian veto it is a total waste of money, particularly if you live in the Ukraine.
    Governments do not produce anything much, but they should not get in the way of industry and commerce which does the heavy lifting. I think the time has come to start to look at Commonwealth/State relations with a view to reducing duplication and streamlining processes. I used to think the way to go was to eliminate state governments leaving more control to the Commonwealth and larger regional shires, but I am now thinking a much reduced Federal system might be better. Take the disaster to the northern cattle industry caused by Canberra. There were better ways of addressing problems of cruelty than an embargo; it really put our relations with Indonesia under strain. Do we need federal depts. of Health, Environment and Education when the states have these and Canberra doesn’t run a hospital nor school?

  29. A Lurker

    The government’s expenditure review committee wanted a much larger efficiency dividend from the ABC but Turnbull talked them out of it. Now that is annoying.

    Turncoat, the ABC’s BFF.

  30. Tintarella di Luna

    Do we need federal depts. of Health, Environment and Education when the states have these and Canberra doesn’t run a hospital nor school?

    No and we don’t need ministers for these departments either — cue Rabz mantra

  31. one old bruce

    Why introduce a $7 payment for all the big fat “mums” who hang around the waiting room of my local medical centre so much they’ve broken the chairs, to see the handsome young doctor and tell him about their latest aches and pains?

    Gee, that’s a hard one.

  32. .

    Forget the arty/illiterate/inummerate types whingeing about a measly $6 co-payment (becuase they know when they need an MRI, right?).

    We know the co-payment is simply a new tax to pay for some odd SWF to pay for pet projects. I’d say that libertarians ought to vote against it.

    Maybe it ought to be called the cancer tax.

  33. Tintarella di Luna

    16,000 job cuts is not “just pruning”.

    The Commonwealth Public Service increased by at least 24,000 during the internecine Rudd Gillard Rudd years

  34. The government’s expenditure review committee wanted a much larger efficiency dividend from the ABC but Turnbull talked them out of it. Now that is annoying.

    Turnbull’s correct on this. The efficiency dividend is not the best way to cut the public service, and it doesn’t lead to greater efficiency.

  35. Tom

    There is a lot to like in this budget.

    In the 2013-14 forward estimates, Shane Wand and the Liars proposed spending $415.7 billion in 2014-15.
    The Liberal socialists tell us they’re slashing outlays and will spend only $414.8 billion, a swingeing reduction of 0.22%.
    In his last (pre-election) budget, Costello proposed spending $235.6 billion before the Liars ransacked the Treasury.

    So there’s “a lot to like” about big government if it’s the right sort of big government.

    FMD.

  36. .

    The Liberal socialists tell us they’re slashing outlays and will spend only $414.8 billion, a swingeing reduction of 0.22%.

    So there were no cuts.

    This is just paper shuffling stuff, really. Swapping some industry welfare over here for industry welfare over there.

    What really amuses me and almost makes me want to spew is how lefties are apoplectic about this budget.

    They literally have no cause to complain, spending went up in nominal terms and so are fuel and income taxes.

  37. rickw

    Clearly unable to pull their heads out of their arses.

    Foreign Aid (sticking to something I know a bit about):

    I currently work in a third world country that is a major recipient of Australian Foreign Aid, I have also been to plenty of others that are major recipients. Is the problem with these countries a lack of money? Absolutely not. The problem is ALWAYS the local culture, fix the culture and the country fixes itself. Don’t fix the culture and you are wasting your time, and taxpayers money.

    When I say waste, what happens with the money is actually worse than taking it into the back yard and burning it. In the country where I work 50% of aid money is unaccounted for, the remaining 50% they know where it went, and a proportion of that also doesn’t end up where it is supposed to. So what happens to that money? The Politicians and Beaureacracts siphon of the money and buy property on the East Coast of Australia.

    Increadibly the net effect of this aid is not only to rip money out of the pockets of Australians and out of the Australian economy, but at the same time it also manages to inflate Australian property prices !! You could not get a worse deal.

    I used to be soft on Foreign Aid spending to preserve strategic interests. I am now dead against this also. Fiji is a classic example. Following the most recent coupe Australia and New Zealand cut aid and diplomatic ties. In theory opening the door to the Chinese. So what did the Chinese get? Well they spent a ton of money and….. they haven’t really got anything in return except some extended fishing rights. The local Politics will always sort things out, the locals recognise that China is a threat in a way that Australia and New Zealand simply aren’t.

    So how big should the Foreign Aid budget be? $0

    Of course that will be a terrible thing for the Ausaid staff, they’ll have to give up their grossly inflated expat wages and sail their yatchs back to Australia.

  38. James of the Glen

    “Why deprive people of actual medical attention ..”

    How are people being “deprived” of medical attention?

  39. Petros

    Robert O many of us have know this for decades. It’s why the US is more competitive. More independence for the states. Keep the big government clowns out of things. They are out of touch usually. Make the states more competitive with one another.

  40. Rabz

    I am still absolutely gobsmacked about that z-grade fucking moron Goose Swansteen managing to deliver a $50 billion deficit in the current financial year.

    This is absolutely criminal incompetence and it goes without saying it is the most damning indictment possible of labor’s so called economic management credentials – and don’t forget, this ‘outcome’ was achieved with government receipts running at an all time high.

    Swansteen and the fucking morons who aided and abetted him should be gaoled.

    This is simply inexcusable.

  41. Des Deskperson

    ”16,000 job cuts is not “just pruning”.

    Assuming that this doesn’t include cuts already made to, for example ATO, then overall reductions by this government will bring the numbers back to around 145,000 staff, the same size as in the last year of the Howard Government. It was 113,000 in June 1999!

    More importantly, a lot of these cuts seem to be the result of amalgamations. These may (or may not) improve administrative efficiency, but they don’t involve reductions in government functions. The agencies that have actually been abolished are small and marginal ones.

    There has been no attempt to follow the C of A recommendations about reductions in central agencies that don’t add value. For example, the Australian Public Service Commission has been retained, despite the fact that anything important that it does could be handled by a couple of sections in PM&C.

  42. Gab

    ”16,000 job cuts is not “just pruning”

    14,500 of which were already earmarked by Labor. Nothing much to see here, just another little gesture by the Libs.

  43. Bruce

    Commenting on threats by Labor to vote down some of the Budget measures radio talk back urger, Alan Jones this morning was beating his drum for a Double Dissolution. Yeah, that’ll work!

  44. Adam D

    Politically I don’t get it? R they expecting a double dissolution?

    So they broke a number of promises, had a number if brain farts and barely tackled the elephant in the room. My understanding would suggest massive cuts this year and next and then in the election year massive tax cuts, improved economy and splashing your leftovers to buy some votes. Instead they have decided to piss everyone off for no discernible benefit and have nothing to show in the election year.

    One thing labor taught us is the short, short memory of the voters. He’ll I don’t remember anything from gaillards first budget.

  45. Baldrick

    Moochers get a haircut …

    The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (a national voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, owned and controlled by its membership and is independent of Government) will not get $15 million earmarked for the representative body over the next three years.

    Let’s see how truly independent from Government they can be, since, as they themselves claim, they do not:
    -provide service delivery or funding for public programs
    -have representatives or memberships who are handpicked by government
    -depend upon the good will of parliament or the government of the day
    Money well saved.

  46. Alex Robson

    Comparing the Budget fiscal balance to the MYEFO fiscal balance (Table 6 page 3-27 in Budget Paper 1) we see that the improvement is mostly driven by parameter variations

    Not true. Table 6 shows decisions to reduce spending of $15 billion to 2016-17, whilst the effect of parameter variations on spending is less than half that, at $7.2 billion.

  47. Sinclair Davidson

    This year, Alex, this year. The fact that it all turns around in the out years is a Swanism.

  48. C.L.

    Bogans galore on radio saying the $7 co-charge will stop them seeking medical attention.

    Especially not on the days they customarily buy their family-sized bottles of Fanta in bulk.

  49. Rococo Liberal

    Ah, Fanta, Bogan Champagne

  50. Rococo Liberal

    But seriously, one can only think of the ‘C’ word to describe these people.

    They are just scum.

    Fancy not being able to pay half the price of a packet of smkes to see the Doctor. WHo told them that somehow they have an entitlement to see the doctor on my dollar. Fucktards!

    If they want to be able to see a doctor why don’t they get off their fat arses and work a bit more.

    I don’t care if they are sick. SOme are complaining because they won’t be able to take little Britney and Fartface to the doctor for each time the little brats have a cold. FFS, ‘ Idiot Nation’ has already come true.

  51. Demosthenes

    How are people being “deprived” of medical attention?

    At the margin, some people will choose to alter their behaviour based on changed incentives. No-one will be ‘deprived’.

  52. Rabz

    Bogans galore on radio saying the $7 co-charge will stop them seeking medical attention.

    Excellent.

  53. Sinclair Davidson

    Betting market has Coalition at $1.60 and ALP at $2.30

  54. There was an old cove on the Price/Bolt show last night claiming that he’d never vote for the Liberal again because of the new $7 co-payment—then he admitted that he currently pays $20 a visit to his GP (handing over $70 each time but receiving $50 from Medicare).

  55. Michel Lasouris

    Perhaps a tad harsh, Rococo Liberal, but nonetheless true. For all of Sinc’s bellicose comments, the basic facts seem to be;
    2007 No debt, No deficiet, No interest.
    2013 60bn on the card, 667bn on the mortgage 12bn p.a. interest.
    What happened? According to the commies ( in Gillard speak) nuffink. All the complicated, nuanced minutiae discussed here is as nought.
    Another point. Yesterday the Pom’s FTSE rose to a level not seen since 1997. The US ,France, Germany and Japan have share levels at or above pre-crash levels. Australia? Still loitering about 80% of pre-crash level; 5500 to 6600. I think I know why. We’re being manipulated by clever people ripping money out of the value of our Companies. The tip of the problem is being discussed abroad. Why could it not be happening here as well? I wish Sinc and rest would spend more time on this rort.

  56. egg_

    Betting market has Coalition at $1.60 and ALP at $2.30

    It’ll take time for the polls to soak up the meeja commentary, but methinks Abbott’ll take a permanent hit.
    Betting’s likely longerterm but methinks will also reflect with time.

  57. Infidel Tiger

    Get on the $2.30.

    It only gets worse from here.

  58. davey street

    Interestingly, funding for The Conversation, from which this article comes, was not touched last night. It was specifically left in place. Also the PPL has been available to unionised public servants in Canberra for years at this exact level. Abbott is trying to extend it outside the public service. Ironically, Leigh Sales presenter of the 7.30 Report, is on her second lot of maternity leave in a few years on this exact arrangement. BTW, ABC CEO Scott is more worried about the Gillard ABC slush fund supposedly for the into Asia TV service, not being available any longer for general spending, read pay and staff number rises.

  59. .

    IT

    Can you buy them as futures?

  60. Notafan

    What is being alleged about rorting Australian companies?

  61. brc

    The fees reduce over-servicing by doctors. Patients don’t notice this when they’re not charged, but will if they need to pay $6.

    But really just how many people have a blood test or an MRI on a whim for which there will now be a co-payment? It costs the vast majority of people more in travel costs and wasted time (especially something like an MRI) than $6. Are doctors really overprescribing those sorts of tests and what is the cost of people avoiding the tests (because they’re a bit short on cash at the time) resulting in a much more expensive treatment later because diseases are not picked up until they are more fully developed (say something like cancer where symptoms can be very vague, but if picked up earlier is much easier to treat)?

    Complete straw man. The reason for this is that it will cause people to stop going to the doctor for pointless visits, which costs the taxpayer. Even a small co-payment will cause big change at the margin.

    If McDonald’s gave away fries to whoever showed up, they’d be cooking the things 24×7, and there would be half-eaten bags of fries discarded everywhere. Even though a bag only costs $2 or so, people ration their purchase and eat all their fries.

    A lot of people already make a co-payment to their GP. The small increase in cost (which is capped across a set of yearly visits) won’t stop anyone from going to the doctor if they genuinely are sick.

    I also think it should be applied to any walk-in emergency room visits for consistency.

    Watch Labor campaign on it relentlessly but never actually take it away again.

  62. Bruce

    If the ALP is on offer at $2.30 they must have shortened a hell of a lot from a month ago and that can only be a reaction to the promises that Abbott broke last night. Regardless of how the Budget might effect one on an individual basis he has now branded himself as a bigger liar than TLS. I can’t believe that having seen that corrupt Government booted from office, largely on the basis of the carbon tax lie,only eight months ago that Abbott could be so arrogant/stupid to think that that he could pick up where she left off. Last night he laid out for Labor the basis of their campaign for 2016.

  63. Ellen of Tasmania

    I currently work in a third world country that is a major recipient of Australian Foreign Aid, I have also been to plenty of others that are major recipients.

    Interview on the Tom Woods show with this man:

    Why Humanitarian Action Fails – May 09, 2014
    Chris Coyne discusses his new book ‘Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails

  64. C.L.

    Fancy not being able to pay half the price of a packet of smokes to see the Doctor.

    Half?

    Try a third.

  65. sabrina

    We should all accept the fact that politicians will lie, promise anything to get elected and break these at will soon after being elected.

    Too much expectation was raised in our mind prior to the election, and the behaviour of all in the ALP government. From now on, let us get used to not trusting anything the pollies say, particularly before the election,

  66. .

    I struggle to consider this a co-payment given why Hockey has justified it, perhaps it should be opposed.

    I consider it a cancer tax on the poor.

    The fact of the matter is bugger all people will actually pay more to see a doctor.

    At the end of proceedings, the excise increases are going to hurt the poor more anyway.

    As a kind hearted gesture, I’d abolish excise taxes. This would help the less well off quite a lot, along with abolishing the carbon tax.

  67. Bruce

    And they’ll call his bluff because he’s not game enough to call it on and if he did he could go backwards. I really hope he’s not taking advice on electoral strategy from Alan Jones.

  68. .

    C.L.
    #1305047, posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:56 am
    Abbott threatens new election.

    Great idea if there were cuts, cuts, cuts to sheltered workshops and inefficiencies, not silly taxes on the poor and taxes on hard workers.

    Then he’d have a mandate. If he wins, he has a mandate to pass a budget 0.22% different to Swan.

  69. .

    TONY Abbott appears ready to risk an election over the federal budget as he warns Senators to approve deep cuts to spending despite outcries against changes to health and welfare.

    LOL

    What a sick joke. Spending is up.

  70. Vicki

    Betting market has Coalition at $1.60 and ALP at $2.30

    There it is.

    And Abbott still persists (this morning to media) in his denial that he has breached trust. Well, good luck with that.

    And now he’s hatching a GST bomb for the next election which he will lay at the feet of the states???

    And that’s a Master Class in politics, is it??

  71. The Hunted Mind

    Had an elderly patient complain to me this morning about the co-payment. He then told me how he was about to head off on a holiday overseas for 3 months.

    Put the fucking thing up.

  72. .

    We’re not that different from the Greeks, it seems.

  73. john constantine

    rural abc radio chick had a crack at ‘gotcha’ barnaby joyce today.

    “you will be increasing the diesel fuel rebate won’t you?”

    apparently, to the abc mentality, paying more for diesel through indexation, then getting your road tax back for non road use–gotcha, it’s not your money, it is a gift from government.

    hopefully, there will be a good investigation into abc ineffiency and waste, and they can choke on their own smugness.

  74. Des Deskperson

    ‘Also the PPL has been available to unionised public servants in Canberra for years at this exact level’

    Lets get a bit of perspective about this, shall we.

    APS (Commonwealth) employees are entitled under s. 6(3) of the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1975 to not more than 12 weeks paid maternity leave. Under enterprise bargaining, most agencies have upped this to 14 weeks.

    Abbott’s scheme would provide 26 weeks of paid maternity leave!!

    The APS arrangements are available to all employees, not just union members, who in any case comprise only around 30 % of staff.

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