CONSCIOUS that his embattled government needs to sell its successes, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, made an unexpected appearance to urge the Senate to pass the government’s paid parental leave scheme.With the Senate debate due to start yesterday, Mr Rudd joined the ACTU president, Sharan Burrow, and the Families Minister, Jenny Macklin, to receive a 25,000-signature petition calling on the Senate to pass the bill.The Coalition has agreed to pass the legislation but it has misgivings about the scheme, which will pay all parents who stay at home the minimum wage of $570 a week for 18 weeks.The Nationals oppose paid parental leave without similar payments for non-working mothers but have agreed to keep quiet until after the election.The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, wants a more generous scheme that would pay a stay-at-home parent their full salary for six months, capped at $150,000.The government’s $260 million scheme will be funded from the budget whereas Mr Abbott’s $2.7 billion scheme would be funded by a 1.7 per cent increase in the company tax rate for more then 3000 businesses.Women who gave birth prematurely, or who were unable to work because of complications with their pregnancy, would also be eligible for payments, under amendments to the scheme outlined yesterday.As Mr Rudd spoke yester- day, the opposition’s childcare spokeswoman, Sharman Stone, heckled him.But she gave an assurance that the Coalition would pass Labor’s legislation, enabling the scheme to begin on January 1.Mr Rudd said he would believe it when he saw it, given that the Coalition had reneged on its deal to pass the emissions trading scheme it negotiated with the government by dumping Malcolm Turnbull as leader.”Get out of the road guys. Just get on with it,” Mr Rudd said.
Nanjing Night Net