The five one-off cash bonuses in yesterday’s stimulus plan include:

  1. Tax Bonus for Working Australians of up to $950 paid to every eligible Australian worker (taxpayer) earning $100,000 or less. This will support up to 8.7 million individuals;
  2. $950 Single Income Family Bonus to support 1.5 million families with one main income earner.

These sexist, moralistic, mean payments will send all the wrong messages, for instance:

  • It will fund “Family A” an extra $950 because the mother earns $380pw but not “Family B” because the mother earns $450 per week. This is discrimination worthy of Howard’s white picket fence.
  • It will not give any money to people without children on Newstart who live on $230 per week, way less than the Age pension but will give money to workers who earned up to $100,000 last year!
  • It will not give any money to workers who pay no tax because they are below the tax threshold, or have deductions and other offsets that mean they pay no tax. So those people with no children who earn $110 per week get nothing.

There is also no imagination in the package. Apart from Insulation, there is nothing about green jobs nor recognition that we could use the package to change the way we see the unemployed. This is a bit odd because there were leaks that indicated there were some more interesting options on the table. Who killed these off?

All right, it was always on the cards that any stimulus would make the assumptions that most workers are still male, and as breadwinners they need attention. All the hard infrastructure stuff has been very much about male jobs in most cases and that is traditional.

One could hope that maybe a new and enlightened government would think about some funding for soft infrastructure such as funding for care services and those other areas where more labour is always welcome … but nothing there.

I know that there will be women in the offices and sales areas that will benefit but…

Peter Fray

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