PPL changes in doubt after Nick Xenophon backs away

by John Hilton01 Nov 2016
Malcolm Turnbull’s planned changes to paid parental leave are in doubt after the Nick Xenophon Team confirmed they will not support the proposal in its current form.
 
As it stands, Labor and the Greens do not support the policy changes, meaning Turnbull needs the support of the NXT, One Nation Party and crossbenchers David Leyonhjelm and Derryn Hinch to pass the legislation.
 
It was also revealed recently that that NXT senator Skye Kakosche-Moore had previously guaranteed women's advocacy group Fair Agenda that "we would vote to protect the current paid parental leave system and oppose any diminution of the current system".
 
"We made a commitment prior to the last election to make sure the scheme was kept intact, that's still our commitment," said Xenophon.
 
The government hopes to save $1.2 billion by stopping new parents from receiving the full 18 weeks available under their scheme if their employer is also offered parental leave.

If passed by parliament, these plans could take effect as soon as January 2017 and is estimated to impact 80,000 mothers. 
 
Xenophon added he was still willing to negotiate with the government to make the scheme "fairer" and "more equitable", but did not say what amendments could be made.
 
It appears that concessions (such as protections for families on lower incomes) will be required for the government to gain the NXT’s three votes, according to Fairfax Media.

Xenophon also criticised the government for the range of policy shifts on this issue in recent years.

"A couple of years ago, Tony Abbott wanted to give us a Rolls Royce paid parental leave scheme. Right now what the Government wants us to go to is one that is a bit like an East German Trabant," he said.

Related stories:

Election limbo leaves workplace policies hanging

Proposed PPL changes could impact health of expectant mothers: Lawyer
 

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