By Darryl Mason
Tony Abbott on paid maternity leave, July 2002 :
"I'm dead against paid maternity leave as a compulsory thing. I think that making businesses pay what seems to them two wages to get one worker are, almost nothing could be more calculated to make businesses feel that the odds are stacked against them."Tony Abbott, last night on Lateline, stacks the odds :
"If we are gonna have a comprehensive paid parental leave scheme any time soon, the fairest way to do it is for it to be a cost on business, and the fairest way to make it a cost on business is to ask larger businesses, the businesses that have the greatest capacity to pay, the businesses that have suffered least through the global financial crisis, they're the people who can best bear it."Tony Abbott wants big business to share the wealth around, in particular to single-income families?
Who does he think he is? Obama?
"(Compulsory paid maternity leave) is pro-family, it's pro-child, it's pro-mother, and in the end, it's gonna produce a much stronger economy, because if we look after mothers in the workforce, we'll have more kids, and there is no greater contribution to the future economic strength of Australia than the kids we have now."Well, kids, and coal.
Tony Abbott wasn't too keen to be reminded of the statements he made back in 2002 by Lateline host Leigh Sales :
TONY ABBOTT: ....I'm fully aware of that quote, Leigh. I have changed my mind.
LEIGH SALES: I'm sure you are. Our viewers ...
TONY ABBOTT: And isn't it a good thing to change your mind as your understanding grows?
LEIGH SALES: That is quite a change of heart.
TONY ABBOTT: Yeah, no, look, I accept that.He wants big business to pick up the tab for his daughters' maternity leave.
LEIGH SALES: So what's brought it about?
TONY ABBOTT: Well, what's brought it about is deeper understanding of the practical difficulties of women who are trying to juggle families and careers. We should not ...
LEIGH SALES: And how have you come to that deeper understanding?
TONY ABBOTT: By, I suppose, being more conscious of the burdens that friends and family members are carrying and of thinking more deeply about the sorts of choices that I would like to be available for my own daughters.
So what's good for Abbott's children is good for Australia. I wonder if he had elderly relatives who smoked cannabis to relieve arthritis pain and reduce inflammation he would suddenly be backing medicinal marijuana?
Last night, Abbott also attempted to unleash on prime minister Kevin Rudd :
"It is pretty clear he is a guy who is all announcement and no follow through. He is, t coin a phrase, 'All Hat And No Cowboy'."Abbott didn't coin the phrase. It's been in common usage in Texas for decades :
"It is not a compliment in West Texas to be referred to as 'All hat and no cowboy'. It is a term of derision used to indicate the person has little real character beneath the very thin veneer of appearance."It's a good line, but it doesn't sound very Australian.
There is argument that the correct West Texas historical phrase is actually "All Hat, No Cattle", which certainly sounds more local.
Or perhaps Abbott knows this phrase, too, and decided not to use it to attack Rudd, because it has been popularly attached to George W. Bush since the late 1990s.