Transcript: Transcript 10/6/20
1.30pm | June 10, 2020
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 10 JUNE 2020
SUBJECTS: Economic impacts of COVID19 on women; Government’s childcare snap back.
JENNY MCALLISTER, SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY: Yesterday, the Treasury confirmed that the impact of COVID-19 is being felt mostly by young people and women. Some people are calling this a pink collar recession, because we know that it is women who are more likely to have lost their jobs and it is women who are more likely to have lost hours as a consequence of the shutdown that has been put in place.
Now, the Government doesn’t have a good track record of taking women’s economic interests seriously over their seven years in government. They have done nothing over the past seven years to address job security for women, who are of course disproportionately represented in casual work. They have done nothing to address the pay gap, they have done nothing to address the superannuation gap – the retirement income gap, that comes about because of the disparities in pay and also women’s involvement in part time work. And they have shown very little interests in the cost of childcare, which of course weigh heavily of women’s participation in the workforce.
Now we find ourselves in a situation where the very first sector to experience the roll back of government support is the childcare sector. And as Amanda Rishworth has been pointing out, a snap back to the old system will not be good enough. Childcare, affordable, available and high-quality childcare, is integral to women’s workplace participation.
Many families were struggling to afford the very high cost of childcare under the Government’s old flawed system. In the current environment most families are still struggling. Many families have lost income, many families are struggling with mortgages or debt. To snap back to the old system puts enormous pressure on women’s workforce participation. There is already some concern that the impacts that are being felt now, will be locked in for a decade, for women, impacting on the gains that women have made, making their way into the workforce. We don’t want to see that happen. The Government needs to start talking about this. We need to hear from government about their plans to support women through the COVID crisis and through the recovery from this crisis. So far, we have heard very little and it’s time the Government start taking this seriously.
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