It has been a busy few days and Executive Director, Georgie Dent, gives you an update on our recent activities. Enjoy reading this special edition of our newsletter.
I’ll make this brief but I just wanted to jump in and give you an update on a very big week. On Tuesday night the Federal government handed down its history-making, record-spending Budget. Measures to help women, children and families were conspicuously absent. It contained nothing new on child care and less than one-third of 1% to address the precarious financial position women are facing as a result of the pandemic.
I tweeted and wrote as much on Tuesday night and it made the Prime Minister angry. I received a phone call from his office, which I only wish happened a few months earlier when I, along with so many other organisations and leaders, had offered to discuss the urgent need for reforming early childhood education and care.
#CredibleWomen was trending and went viral
Alas, it was after the event and it was a civil but heated conversation. In a nutshell, I was told they didn’t like me saying their budget didn’t deliver for women. When I said I wasn’t alone in reaching that conclusion I was told that ‘no one credible’ was saying that.
Fast-forward a few hours I reached out to a diverse group of women, privately, on Twitter and suggested adding the tag #CredibleWomen to any budget-related tweets. The group included business leaders, community leaders, economists, lawyers, doctors and more. Within a few hours, #CredibleWomen was trending and went viral, occupying the #1 ranked hashtag on Twitter.
Thousands of women - and men - used the hashtag to express their disappointment that the Budget didn’t offer support for women and families. So that was busy. And then news broke that Labor was going to make child care the central plank of its Budget Reply.
The Labor leader chose to make women the priority
On Thursday night Anthony Albanese put women at the heart of Labor’s plan to kickstart the economy and get Australians back to work. It is compelling politics and policy because addressing the economic reality women in Australia are facing is needed. Urgently.
The Labor leader chose to make women the priority in his Budget reply and it felt inspired and inspiring because he spoke with sincerity and understanding. And, he backed it up with a targeted, significant path for change. Pledging to make high quality, affordable child care universal if he became PM. “It’s not welfare, it’s structural reform,” he declared.
Under Labor's child care plan these changes would take effect immediately:
end the $10,560 child care subsidy cap which often sees women losing money from additional days worked;
lift the maximum child care subsidy rate to 90 per cent; and
increase child care subsidy rates and taper them for every family earning less than $530,000.
Longer-term, they would conduct a comprehensive review of the sector with the aim of implementing a universal 90 per cent subsidy for all families. It is a very significant development because it gives Australia an opportunity to have a substantive conversation about why getting our early education and care system is the most vital infrastructure project we can invest in. For children. For the economy. For women. For families. For the community.
We’re calling on the Federal government to examine Labor’s proposal and re-consider its policy stance.
I believe this is a fundamental moment in Australia’s history that we all need to seize. If this week has taught me anything it is to never underestimate the collective power we all have when we unite.
I can’t think of a more compelling proposition to unite behind than working towards universally accessible high-quality, early childhood education and care.
The time is now!
To that end, on Monday we’re hosting a special event where several #CredibleWomen will discuss the urgent need for universal, high quality early learning and care. I’ll be joined in conversation by Sam Mostyn, the CEO of the Diversity Council, Lisa Annese and Women’s Agenda’s Editor Tarla Lambert to explore how child care policy has become top of the political agenda, the type of reform needed, what happens next and how you can be part of the movement for change.
The talk is supported by The Parenthood, Women's Agenda and Thrive by Five.
Hope to see you there!
#CredibleWomen discuss affordable, high-quality early education
Join Georgie Dent for a special online event where #CredibleWomen discuss the urgent need for universal, high quality early learning and care. She'll be joined in conversation by Sam Mostyn, the CEO of the Diversity Council, Lisa Annese and Women’s Agenda’s Editor Tarla Lambert to explore how child care policy has become top of the political agenda, the type of reform needed, what happens next and how you can be part of the movement for change.
The talk is supported by The Parenthood , Women's Agenda and Thrive by Five.
A video invitation to our event on 12.10.
We know one of the best ways of increasing women’s participation in the workforce and solving the ‘pink recession’ is providing universal access to high-quality early learning and care.
So why are we still waiting for action?
There are thousands of very credible women across Australia fighting for equal rights
Proudly declaring that no gender analysis was done on the federal budget reveals a disturbing ignorance of the inherent bias in our economic system. Read Emma Dawson's great article in The Guardian.
I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If you did, feel free to send it another parent who might enjoy it too.
Look after yourselves.