Sounds sensible enough, doesn’t it?
A scheme to pay grandparents to care for their grandchildren. A good solid plan to compensate all those Grannies and Grandads who gave away their dream of caravanning around Australian to focus on teaching Maddison and Charlie how to count to 10.
The proposal, floated over the weekend by Independent senator Glenn Lazarus and Jackie Lambie, involved a payment whereby grandparents would be financially rewarded for looking after the children of working parents as part of a Senate crossbench wish-list in exchange for supporting the government’s $3.5 billion families package for families with incomes between $65,000 and $170,000 per year.
The idea in theory sounds like a great idea. After all we are desperately in need of childcare in Australia and anything that increases female participation in the workforce is a bonus. Right?
As with these things upon first hearing of the proposal many questions were raised.
How would such a scheme be paid for?
What form would the payments take?
And mostly shouldn’t grandparents be looking after their snotty-nosed little tackers for the love of it?
Talk back radio today lit up with the idea with most callers outraged about how “in their day” they just made do. That “in their day” grandparents did it “out of love.” And that in “their day” mothers stayed home to look after their own kids themselves.
“Don’t have kids if you can’t afford them” was the general predictable rabble.
Comments on social media like this one summed it up:
If we lived within our means, like our grandparents did there would be no need for all these handouts. There was only Family Allowance ($30 a fortnight) when I had my two girls. No baby bonus, no family Tax Benefit A and B, no back to school allowance, no child care allowance, no maternity paid leave (in most cases you had to just LEAVE your job) and although we didn’t have a mansion for a house, tv’s, iPhones, iPads, xboxes, kids laptops and two nice cars, no annual family vacation overseas we did ok!!!!!
Haven’t we heard it before? It’s the same old argument put forth whenever any type of welfare change is suggested.
In our day we made just made do. Young people today.
(Insert eye rolling and a few tuts.)
The fact is that things have changed rapidly since “their day.”
Australian Institute of Families studies figures show how in the early 1980s about four in 10 mothers were employed, compared that to more than 6 in 10 in 2011, and that number increasing.
Each and every one of these families needs to find a way to care for their children around their work responsibilities.
The majority of informal care in Australia is provided by one group of people.
Shall we call them the Grey Army? Although would that be slightly offensive to my fit and stylish blonde mother who steps up several times a week to do her bit for her six grandkids.