After the RU486 legislation, will child care in
Parliament House be the next subject of a bipartisan push by women MPs?

Last weekend in the Sun-Herald, former minister Jackie Kelly threatened to vote against any
further spending on the Federal Parliament unless a child-care centre is
installed.

“The
argument for any future improvements is no longer sustainable unless we have
world’s best practice child-care in this workplace,” she said. “I call on all
parents in this house to vote against spending any more money on this building
until we have invested in a child-care centre for the parents who work here.
Let us provide a role model for the workplaces of Australia in supporting work-family
choices.”

And back in 2003, Kerry-Anne Walsh reported on a
remarkable bit of bureaucratic bafflegab that’s being used to block the
proposal in the same paper:

ASIO
and the protective services have safety and security concerns. Then there is
the National Capital Authority, which tightly regulates new and altered
developments.

The
planning issue is compounded by the quaint Canberran notion that some buildings
have moral rights, meaning that the original concept and structure, or even the
layout around the building, can’t be altered.

Which
brings up the parliamentary tennis courts, whose moral rights are greater, at
this stage, than those of the parents who work in Parliament.

Phase
one of a recently commissioned but unreleased $300,000 feasibility study
selected the all-weather courts on the House of Representatives side as the
preferred spot for the child-care centre…

Nice to see where their priorities lie.

Peter Fray

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