The Turnbull government's bill to stop parental leave "double dipping" will reduce the payments of more than half of new mothers, and some fathers. By shifting from a base of government-funded 18 weeks of pay at the minimum wage, able to be topped up by employers, to a maximum of 18 weeks including any employer payment, the government hopes to push the primary carer back to work by reducing funded leave.
This is a major Coalition shift of policy as, in July 2002, then-PM John Howard included debate on paid "maternity" leave in his "barbecue stopper" issue of balancing paid work and family responsibilities. Shortly thereafter he rejected funding a paid maternity leave proposal, put by his personally appointed sex discrimination commissioner, Pru Goward. Instead, the following year he introduced the baby bonus for all mothers so there would be no favouring of mothers who took on paid work.