Really Simple Money took the Supawomen campaign to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this week – and received a surprising reply when we asked why he had not included super payments on parental leave in his Budget.

On the stage of an office high above Sydney’s Barangaroo, the Treasurer replied that a review committee into retirement incomes in 2019 had found that such a move would make little difference. He then pointed out the commendable moves his Budget had made, including two-parent household will have access to 20 weeks of paid parental leave which can be split between parents.

What he didn’t say was that the review, chaired by former Treasury official Michael Callaghan,  actually recommended the policy be implemented because of the good it would do.

But it was his response later, when Really Simple Money campaign director Peter Lynch asked about this, which was of most interest.

“I can’t do everything at once,” said the genial Treasurer as he wolfed down eggs at a business breakfast run by PWC and Business Sydney.

We’d like to think he meant that he would get round to it later.  But his Chief of Staff wasn’t saying as he suggested we talk to Super Minister Jane Hume, who has been avoiding us for weeks.

Labor is not much better. We tackled Tanya Plibersek about stories the party was about to perform a double backflip on the policy and move it back into its election agenda.

Ms Plibersek had already told us at a market meeting in Sydney that there was “huge support” within the party for the policy, but that after their other promises they simply couldn’t afford it.

But Greens spokesperson for women Larissa Waters says it is disappointing that neither major party had committed to paying super on federally funded parental leave.

“It’s a very small change that would have a really big impact. And it made me feel like once again, women are not being valued and we’re just treated like political pawns,” she said. “They’ve committed to paying parental leave, so they obviously understand there’s a role for them in that space. Don’t do half the job. Do the whole job.”

Meanwhile The Sydney Morning Herald acknowledged our campaign in a story about independents and the Greens supporting the change.

The report, by journalist Rachel Clun, quotes campaign our campaign director Peter Lynch as saying a poll of readers showed 83 per cent of them said that if parties moved on this issue, it would affect the way they voted.

“I think that’s an enormous number,” the story quotes Lynch as saying. “The heartening point is that business is seeing this, recognising that this is a big gap, but the government is not.”

Clun reports independent politicians vying for seats on the crossbench at the election want both major parties to pledge to pay superannuation on government-funded paid parental leave.

Independent MP Zali Steggall is quoted as pointing out: “Both the retirement income review and the Productivity Commission have recommended applying super to paid parental leave.

“Scrapping the much-criticised commuter carparks would cover over three years of this measure.

Pin It on Pinterest