In the recent Australian budget it was announced that the federal government would be sending checks to the parents of babies to the tune of about $3,000/kid. Now this money isn’t given out descriminatly… its for every one. Now without thinking about this it may seem like a good idea, but with 1/2 seconds thought you have to ask the questions:
- What is this meant to achieve?
- What will it achieve?
- Did they think this through?
Well, it was claimed that this payment was meant to help out new families in the time immediately after the birth of a child. It almost resembles a recommendation in Families Commision report that suggested maternity payments be government funded and available to all. This was to give new mothers time to recover from child bearing, and time for mother and child to be together.
But will it do this? What is to stop a mother from taking the grant, and immediately going back into the work force? Wouldn’t this destroy the intentions of the grant. Well, yes. Is this the right of the mother? Well, if you take money that is intended to allow you to stay home, and you go out and work anyway then no it isn’t. You are in a contract to stay home and be a mother, even if only for a few weeks.
Now the actual recommendation was to have 12 weeks of paid leave, which would be paid by the week. This would have gone a lot further to ensuring that the money was used for the correct purpose.
Beyond this there is the question of could that money have been better spent? I mean give a dollar every person and they can buy a drink, but spend it collectively and it can buy a hospital, or provide essential services like schooling, child care, etc. Multiply this by 3000 and I really think that they either didn’t think this one through, or did and have total disregard for their responsibility of co-ordinating the building of society.
My only hope is that those who don’t need this money as much can donate it to the P&C of the school their child will attend, or to the hospital where they were born, and fill in the gaping holes left in the wake of bad governance.