Double dipping. The catchphrase was never going to go down well — especially when applied to new mothers, as the Abbott government has been doing in the past week while trying to sell its trimmed-down paid parental leave scheme.

Convincing the electorate that new mothers are rorters and fraudsters is a tough, probably impossible, sell. Now, with the revelation that even some of Abbott’s own ministers “double dipped” on paid parental leave — or, as assistant treasurer Josh Frydenberg put it, “we accessed both schemes as my wife was entitled to” — the whole lie has been exposed.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann went one step further when pushed on the issue:

“Let me confirm … that I have indeed had a little child in 2013 and that our family of course worked within a system that was available at the time like any other family and that my family will work within whatever system is in place in the future.”

Well, yes, exactly, minister. So how and why did this become double dipping?

Has the communications adviser who came up with this soundbite been sacked? He or she should be.

Peter Fray

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