Tag Archives: baby bonus

Barnaby Explains “Baby-Bonus Brouhaha”

19 Apr

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Baby-bonus brouhaha became a brain-teaser

It became quite apparent that the journalist was trying to contact me. There had been two phone calls, and a text message, rather Alice-in-Wonderland-like, saying ”please call me”.

So, in respect of the public’s right to know, down the rabbit hole we went. She asked the question, ”Do you support your party’s baby bonus policy?” I will confess, I didn’t know what our baby bonus policy was or, rather more pointedly, didn’t know we had one. Ah, here lies the trap, I thought, there will be an article written about me: ”Barnaby unaware of Nationals baby bonus policy.”

I tried the usual political evasiveness. I told her that babies are wonderful, that they are our ”most important resource”, that the Nationals support, indeed have always supported, babies and, in particular, support those most inclined to have babies, women.

She then went on to tell me that our policy was to double the baby bonus.

That took me back a step, because the reality is that the original baby bonus, which was paid as a lump sum, was a ridiculous policy that caused immense damage.

Sending $5000, in a lump sum, to a household experiencing problems, such as alcohol or drug addiction, was not a solution but a disaster.

Last week, I visited areas where these social problems are quite apparent by the green cans adorned with two initials on the front lawns of indigenous housing in one of our most remote areas. No doubt the same problems exists in the non-indigenous areas of some of our urban centres.

The journalist accused me of mumbling and I was.

I was desperately, with the phone to my ear, trying to think where and when this policy came about.

Anyway, she had me. I was girding my loins for the inevitable banner.

However, the next day the banner didn’t decry my ignorance; in fact, it proclaimed my effusive endorsement with the headline: ”The big push for $10,000 baby bonus by Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce.”

The article went on to say that I had been pushing Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to double the baby bonus. I must admit this was news, especially to me.

Not at any time, sober or otherwise, have I ever broached the topic of doubling the baby bonus with Abbott, and there was certainly nothing that I had said to the journalist that could possibly be interpreted that I personally was pushing for it.

Editorials were written, it was time for me to be ”put back in a box”, which, on this topic, I had never crawled out of.

While I was sleeping, a poor Treasury clerk had been jerked out of the Holy Grail and sent to work to open Microsoft Excel and cost my policy, to which I remained happily oblivious.

Then, on the back of my presumed maternal benevolence, came a retinue of forthright condemnation by a whole bevy of media commentators, government ministers and colleagues of an idea that I never had. I was tempted to join the conga line myself: ”Barnaby condemns Joyce.” Later in the day, I did.

After putting out a statement denying that I had ever lobbied Abbott on doubling of the baby bonus, some emails from constituents who perhaps paid more attention to Insiders than to my media statement asked whether I had lost my marbles and why did I now advocate a doubling of the baby bonus.

The next day, despite my attempts to douse the flames created by my friendly incendiary scribe, I had to deal with the headlines that ”Joyce backflips on baby bonus position”, with a sneering incredulity on the subject of whether I had in fact lobbied Abbott to double the baby bonus.

Two days later, it was my ”apparent” position. Where did this story come from? I know the journalist is competent, so she would not have just made it up. It is highly unlikely she would have believed the Labor Party if it said I had been lobbying Abbott. So where did this credible source come from?

I have had curt exchanges via email with the journalist concerned, and even though we still ”adore” one another, we have decided not to talk to each other for a little while.

Barnaby Bashed On Baby Bonus: Another Media Beatup?

15 Apr

Slowly but surely a clearer picture is beginning to emerge over the claims in Australia’s biggest selling Sunday newspaper – including a misguided denouncement by the Editor, no less – that Barnaby Joyce had called for a doubling of the baby bonus.

First, Barnaby’s media release.

And, this from ABC News (emphasis added):

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce says he is sceptical about the baby bonus and thinks it should be reviewed.

Senator Joyce has disputed News Limited newspaper reports he is pushing Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to make an election commitment to double the bonus to $10,000.

He says the plan to boost the payment was something the Nationals floated before the last election, but he is not in favour of it.

I can assure you I don’t believe in doubling the baby bonus. I think that would be a ludicrous idea,” Mr Joyce said.

I have, to be honest, serious concerns with the baby bonus as it is especially when it ends up not being spent so much on the baby, but on problems in certain communities – especially such as alcohol.”

The baby bonus is paid in fortnightly instalments to eligible families with an annual combined income of less than $150,000.

This sounds far more like the practical, objective, well-reasoned, and fair-minded Barnaby Joyce that your humble blogger admires and respects.

Barnaby Media Statement On Baby Bonus

15 Apr

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 15 April 2012:

Baby Bonus

I have never contacted Tony Abbott to push for a doubling of the Baby Bonus.

With a strong on the ground experience of the problems that large lump sum social security payments can create, I don’t think I ever will support a policy that would exacerbate these issues.

Before the last election gross debt was to peak at $220 billion but it is now forecast to peak in excess of $270 billion so unfortunately, like the nation, our aspirations are affected by Labor’s debt.

The Nationals believe that the Baby Bonus should be made in interval payments over a longer term to avoid the social problems of lump sum payments being made that, in some instances, do not go toward the baby but go to alcohol or other items that are actually at odds to the welfare of the child.

More information: Matthew Canavan 0458 709 433

Oh Dear, Barnaby

15 Apr

From the Daily Telegraph:

BARNABY Joyce is kidding himself – and all the Australians planning to vote for the federal Coalition at next year’s election – with his latest policy thought-bubble of $10,000 baby bonuses for stay-at-home mothers.

Nobody would deny it’s hard work being a mum, or that the financial pressure on families is increased with every new baby.

But the Nationals Senator’s idea of handing $10,000 to women who choose not to take paid employment is a social policy nightmare.

It would be a tacit encouragement to women to stay at home instead of maintaining their careers with part-time or full-time work, contributing to the taxation system and building up their own superannuation balances in preparation for retirement.

It would, without a shadow of doubt, create a generation of women who opt out of the workforce.

Australia can’t afford that luxury.

Indeed, it is a social policy nightmare in the view of your humble blogger also.

But for the polar opposite reason of that propounded by Neil Breen, editor of the Daily Telegraph, who clearly thinks the biggest problem with the Nationals’ policy is that it would encourage mothers not to go back to doing their “modern” “enlightened” “liberated” duty … their “equal right” to be binary-digit earning, tax-paying, interest-paying lifelong debt slaves of The Machinery of “modern” society.

Back to that in a moment.

First, some balance.

All the lamestream media commentary I have seen on this subject fails to consider context and nuance.

As usual.

First, they are automatically, in typical knee-jerk style, sheeting home all responsibility for this policy suggestion to Barnaby Joyce. Even though it is not necessarily his personal suggestion – it is a revived Nationals policy:

Fearing a backlash over the generosity of the Coalition’s proposed paid-parental-leave scheme, which would offer wealthy working women up to $75,000, the Nationals have proposed a better deal for stay-at-home mums.

“It’s an incredible sacrifice for women to stay at home. You can see it in their superannuation and everything else,” Senator Joyce said.

We want to make sure people don’t lose their house. Because everything is based on two incomes these days. All policies have a cost. But it’s a substantial sacrifice for people not to go to work.”

The Nationals first flagged the policy at the 2010 election …

Nationals leader Warren Truss stressed the plan to double the baby bonus was a policy of the Nationals rather than the Coalition and had not been endorsed by Mr Abbott.

It is clear to any thinking person that The Nationals revived policy suggestion is motivated primarily, if not entirely, by the gross inequality of Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme, whereby working mums would receive 6 months paid leave at full pay for those earning up to $150K pa – meaning, up to $75K of taxpayers’ money for a high earner – while stay-at-home mums receive nothing.

Barnaby Joyce is nothing if not fair minded, and genuinely concerned for the many who get overlooked and left behind by the popular (social-engineering) politics of the day – witness his attempts to see justice done in the abhorrent Heiner Affair. So I applaud him for wanting to see a rebalance of the Abbott policy.

However. This is not the way to do it.

In my personal view, the baby bonus is bad policy. As with so many (all?) government “solutions” for society, it is classic good intention, bad outcomes. Indeed, the baby bonus is one of several major criticisms I have of the Howard government era.


For all the good intentions, it is my view that cash handouts for having a baby simply (1) encourages by reward the “handout” / welfare state dependency mentality, and (2) encourages the very young, the vulnerable, the desperate, and the foolish, to fall pregnant just to “get the cash”.

I have personally witnessed numerous examples of both those outcomes.

And so, for those reasons, I oppose the idea of a “baby bonus” as a matter of principle.

If Barnaby Joyce and/or the Nationals want to see government encouragement for, and a better and fairer deal for stay-at-home mums, that I strongly applaud.

Indeed, quite unlike Neil Breen of the Daily Telegraph, this blogger is all for a society where parents are actively encouraged to stay home and nurture and raise their children themselves – for the long haul, not just 6 months – rather than push their babies onto (government-regulated) “carers” a.s.a.p., so they can get back to “earning money” and “pursuing MY career” a.s.a.p.

Having witnessed many friends with young families who have followed the ever-growing trend in so-called “modern” “advanced” society to do exactly this, I see the results in the little individual horrors that others raise for them, and wonder at the collective horrors we may all face within a generation or two.

Back to Neil Breen, editor of the Daily Telegraph one last time:

It would, without a shadow of doubt, create a generation of women who opt out of the workforce.

Australia can’t afford that luxury.

Yes, we can.

The entire world can.

All it takes is a transformation of our “money” system.

From being our master … to being our servant.

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