Citizen Journalism

Archive for the ‘Paid Parental LEave’ Category

Trying for Pyne and Entsch accountability on @MRowlandMP baby leave

In Ideology, Industrial Relations, Liberal Party, Margo Kingston, Misogyny, Paid Parental LEave on May 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM
Refused leave to look after her sick daughter: Michelle Rowland with daughter Octavia Chaaya and husband Michael Chaaya. Photo: Supplied - The Age

Refused leave to look after her sick daughter: Michelle Rowland with daughter Octavia Chaaya and husband Michael Chaaya. Photo: Supplied – The Age

By Margo Kingston

May 21, 2013

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about the Coalition’s May 16 response to the revelation of its decision to refuse Labor MP Michelle Rowland a pair to be with her ill baby.

Christopher Pyne, the likely new head of government business in the House of Representatives,  and Warren Entsch, the likely chief whip in an Abbott Government, made several false statements to the public about the matter which they have not withdrawn. Neither have apologised to Ms Rowland for relying on that false information to question her behaviour as a mother. Mr Abbott has not been questioned about their behaviour, and Mr Pyne has sought to erase his statements from the public record by failing to post the transcript on his website

http://www.pyneonline.com.au/category/media/transcripts

I believe it is a baseline responsibility of political journalists to require that politicians tell the truth to the public. If they don’t, more politicians will lie more often, and the public will be more misinformed than they already are. It’s an accountability responsibility of the fourth estate which involves seeking to uncover the truth and insisting that politicians who have not told the truth correct the record and explain the reasons for their falsehoods.

Last Thursday, May 16, News Limited papers published the news that Mr Entsch had refused Ms Rowland’s request for permission to return to Sydney early to be with her sick baby.

Press gallery journos on morning duty outside the doors of Parliament House, and the gallery, led by Fairfax media, Nine news and ABC radio, did a strong job getting most of the truth and the lies on the public record. Due to Pyne’s transcript cover-up, the record of his doorstop was missing, and I published it after Fairfax online editor Tim Lester kindly sent me the audio feed available to the Press Gallery.

But hey, the issue blew up on budget reply day and Press Gallery journos moved on. Fair enough – there’s a lot fewer of them these days, and they have many more platforms to fill.

So there’s a gap that new media needs to fill. We can’t do the job as well, of course, because we aren’t backed by big media employers and thus don’t have the power to pressure politicians to answer our questions. But we can put on the record the fact that politicians who have misled the people have been asked to correct false statements.

My first step was to DM Ms Rowland asking her to write a piece detailing her version of exactly what happened. And that’s when I realised that there is yet another factor in play in the brave new world of public affairs that I hadn’t comprehended – the social media pressure on politicians not to pursue stories to protect themselves from harm.

Ms Rowland said she didn’t want to write about her ordeal because she had already been falsely accused of playing politics with her child and needed to move on. As a result of statements by Mr Entsch questioning the quality of her care for her baby, she said she had been bombarded with tweets and emails saying, among other things, that she was heartless mother and would be referred to DOCS (the NSW Department of Children’s Services). ‘I don’t want crazies to mess with my mind on this. I’m a first time mother and this is the first time my baby has been this sick.’

She was happy to give me the facts as she knew them, and I talked her into letting me quote her for this story.

So here we go. Read the rest of this entry »

Is the world ready for PM Tony ‘what he meant to say’ Abbott?

In Federal Election, Misogyny, Noely Neate, Paid Parental LEave on May 8, 2013 at 6:48 PM
#WomenWithCalibre

#WomenWithCalibre

By Noely Neate

May 8, 2013

I was not going to go here, because all manner of Feminists, accredited and self-proclaimed, have had a say.  Some I agree with, some I think are getting hung up on exactly what many of us on Twitter are always complaining about, that is, focussing on a ‘gotcha’ instead of the actual merits of a policy.

I would love to be like some who try to be ‘above it all’, like the so-called ‘Legendary feminist Eva Cox’ (Mia Freedman’s words), though unfortunately, Ms Cox’s defence of Mr Abbott with “what Tony Abbott was trying to say in a somewhat clumsy way...” does not hold a hell of a lot of weight with me.

Ms Freedman chose a rather provocative title for her piece when she came out to bat for Mr Abbott, “I’m defending Tony Abbott. Let’s go.“, again translating what Mr Abbott ‘meant’ for us poor dumb punters as “He was simply making the point – albeit a little clunkily…”

Yet other articles have used various excuses for Mr Abbott such as “off-the-cuff”, “un-intended”. Even Paul Kelly on Sky a few weeks ago had to always interject with “So I think what you are saying…”

The fact is they are probably right, he really probably did not mean for it to come across as it did.

Tony Abbott would be an absolute moron to offend such a large proportion of the population intentionally, so to a certain degree I am sure that the example he used as to why this policy, The Coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme is so important, was basically just a brain fart.

Before I go further down the Mr Abbott’s all-time Bloopers road, let’s be above the petty gotcha’s and look at THE PPL policy.  To me it’s not very pretty…

Considering the Liberals are best mates of big business, it seems pretty stupid to be annoying them by smacking them with a Levy – (note the Libs are allowed to use the word ‘levy’ unlike the ALP or Greens levies, which are always ‘taxes’) – let alone telling them to fund this super duper ‘ladies’ special for him. “Australian Industry Group” has already publicly let everyone know they are not happy campers.

Now add in the fact that for the first time in forever there is dissent in the ranks. The Liberals for the past few years have been ‘tighter than (fill in the blanks)’ yet we now have three MPs and counting, and more muttering that they are not happy little vegemites, going against what they call “sound Liberal policy”.  So, close to an election that is not a good look.

I am not sure why Mr Abbott is staunchly defending his policy. There does not seem to be any good reason, as we have a Maternity Leave policy in place that is adequate and most women I know are more interested in ensuring actually they have a job to go back to AND have affordable and accessible childcare when they do. So to put so many offside when the only ones who will really benefit are a few highly paid female executives seems pretty dumb.

For people who keep saying ‘business is paying for it, not taxpayers’, you are delusional.  There is no way in hell a Liberal Government is going to put a tax on their best mates, the 3000 big earning companies in this country, without them getting a concession at a later date in some way, shape or form.  If they don’t publicly fight this policy then you know that the nudge-nudge, wink-wink deal has already been done.  When big companies get any sort of business concession that means less revenue for the Government and we taxpayers fill in the shortfall. Not to mention they will also double-dip (as banks tend to do) and pass on the so-called extra levy to the consumers of their products.  So in fact, you, the taxpayer, will probably pay for Mr Abbott’s gilt-edged PPL twice.

So why does Tony persist with his PPL? Chatting over a glass of wine, all we can come up with as a reason is that Margie suffered when she had to leave her job to have Tony’s daughters and he has promised her that his expensively educated daughters of calibre will never have to suffer the deprivations she did. Who would know? Read the rest of this entry »