Malcolm Turnbull has this morning announced moves that may bring on an early election.
Let’s get the boring process stuff out of the way first. The Prime Minister has asked the Governor-General to recall both houses of Parliament early. They had been due to sit in the second week of May, however they will now return to Canberra in the middle of April to deal with contentious legislation relating to the construction industry unions.
He also said the budget would be presented a week earlier than previously intended.
If the legislation for the Australian Building and Construction Commission legislation fails to pass both houses, the Prime Minister says he will call a double dissolution election for the 2nd of July.
While there are a number of things that the Australian community remains concerned about (negative gearing reforms and education funding for example) parents face ongoing uncertainty over childcare funding reforms and paid parental leave.
Last year, the Government made a number of announcements relating to paid parental leave. Currently, the Government's policy is to fund 18 weeks of paid parental leave at the minimum wage to women, but only to women who don't have access to an employer funded paid parental leave scheme that is 18 weeks or less.
When it was announced, this scheme was supposed to start on 1 July 2016. However, legislation to make this policy law has not yet been introduced into the Parliament. If it is introduced and rushed through the House and Senate in the next few weeks, some question the bureaucracy's capacity to accommodate the changes in time for a 1 July start date. That's not a criticism of hard working public servants, it's merely a comment on the size of such a task and the lack of resources and time available.
Simply put, for parents who are due to have a baby after 30 June, they just do not know what and how much paid parental leave they will be able to access. With a baby on the way, parents need as much financial certainty as possible so that they can concentrate on those critical first few weeks of caring for and bonding with their new child.