(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

The government's desperation to dig itself out of the deep pit of gender damage it blundered into in February will yield benefits for a targeted section of working families, with an extra $1.7 billion a year in childcare subsidies. From next year, this will benefit families with more than one child in childcare and families earning higher incomes.

It's possible that this package, or perhaps a small version of it, would have happened anyway before the events of February and March. Anthony Albanese spotted and hammered a Coalition weak point in his budget reply last year with his much larger childcare plan to lift subsidies and income thresholds (the Coalition's response at the time, via Jane Hume -- present at yesterday's policy announcement -- was to complain the policy wasn't properly funded...)

Scott Morrison's shrillness and tin ear on gender issues was on display back then. But Brittany Higgins, the Christian Porter allegations and the Coalition's toxic attitude to women made sure that the budget would have to include a substantial bribe for women to take another look at Morrison.