We earned less, had no hubby to help out and never complained 400



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Our generation couldn’t lean on the government for parental payments, and our husbands had to work to support the family, so is it fair that today’s mothers receive payment after payment and still complain?

It’s hard to say straight off the bat, considering the latest news, but one thing for sure is that we know what poor is, and we didn’t have luxuries at all when we were parents. When I think of my own mum, she never relied on her government payments. How could she? They were barely enough to buy us some food let alone all the things you see mothers on welfare buying today. My dad was the breadwinner, like many other families, and mum was expected to stay at home. Once we got a bit older, she earned her own wage as well through shift work, and still, we were considered poor.

News today has revealed the government’s plans to crackdown on ‘double dipping’ parents, but is it right?

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison thinks so and said that the latest move does not breach human rights and paid parental leave is a “first world issue and I think Australians have more deep concerns about this”. They’re strong words, but for our generation, they hold especially true. We didn’t hold our hands our for payments when we left work to have children – we simply got on with it.

The new government proposal will affect new mums earning less than $30,000 a year, and will strip them of $11,800 in taxpayer-funded parental leave. It will stop mums from claiming the 18-week parental leave scheme if their employer has an equivalent entitlement, thus double dipping. It’ll save the government around $1 billion.

The government estimates 45,000 new mums with a median income of just $43,000 will lose part of the 18 week government entitlement, receiving around $4,300 less than they otherwise would have under the current arrangements.

Diane Smith-Gander, the president of the organisation Chief Executive Women, told News Corp the measures will discourage women’s workforce participation and could financially penalise low income working women.

“Chief Executive Women is concerned that some of Australia’s lowest paid female workers will be up to $11,000 worse off as a result on the Bill’s changes to paid parental leave,” Ms Smith-Gander said.

Mr Morrison defended the bill, saying “What we are doing is ensuring our welfare system is well-targeted, focused on those most in need and ensuring that there are the savings in the budget that can address the fiscal disaster we inherited from Labor’’.

The Social Security Minister was aghast that the HRC would consider this a “priority matter when those who would not get a second payment have an average family income of $150,000 a year’’.

“A family income of $150,000 and the Human Rights Commission is addressing whether people get two payments instead of one. I think that says a bit about their priorities.”.

Interestingly, Mr Morrison said people were taking the leave payment from the government but it did not seem there had been any increase in mothers spending more time with their children.


So, we want to know tonight, do you think women should continue to get two payments if their employer offers benefits? Or should they just be happy to have paid parental leave in any case? Is it a first world problem?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. If people want to have a family , then do it BUT don’t expect your Employer or the Government to fund your maternity/paternity leave. I would seriously think twice before hiring a woman of child bearing age purely because of these touchy feely payments ….
    If I could work , study & be a new Mum & a Wife ….. why can’t this generation. ????

    6 REPLY
    • I totally agree with you Yvonne. This baby bonus sh..t has to go. I can never understand why this happened in the first place. This current generation are getting lots of funding for having families, i.e. baby bonus, maternity leave, assistance with child care. Hell, when I worked part-time when my children were young, half my wage went on child care, I couldn’t even claim it as a tax deduction. I’m not even going to mention first home buyers grant 🙁

    • The payments started as an incentive to have children. In much of the Western world, birth rates are low. If older generations want things like pensions, an abled workforce, younger people contributing to society etc, then you NEED people to have babies and raise a family. Younger women were putting off having children because of the costs involved and to not jeopardize the careers they worked hard for. Paid maternity leave, saving their jobs, baby bonuses etc were designed to encourage young women to do what older generations thought was normal: start a family

    • Right on Nika! What is wrong with you people…I didn’t get this bonus, I worked harder blah! blah! You can’t make comparisons, life is so different now and much harder for our young. We should be supportive not whinging about how hard we had it in the 70’s etc….I don’t think it was that hard and my husband was very ill when l had our second child and wasn’t able to work till she was 3…

  2. No, they should not get it from an employer and also the government. Too much double dipping and rorting the system in general.

  3. The problem today is they want everything now. They are not prepared to save for anything. They max their credit cards out and then try and blame everybody else for their problems.

  4. My mother and father raised 3 children in a Housing Commssion home- mum worked shift work (nights) dad worked day work – always ate well – no money for luxuries or holidays but that was just the norm in those days

    1 REPLY
    • What makes me very angry is that they ,, Our gvt is cutting down on home help for aged people. they that need, and other things… so yes they should cut down on these mothers that have husbands out working and getting the family allowance… I believe that most young mothers are doing it hard esp single Mums, they do need the money they are getting. I know of a few young mothers stay at home mums.. who have husbands that earn good money and they get this family allowance… and I read on face book that they are getting foot spa’s and massages,,, nails done… I am on the old age pension and I cannot afford to to that… o.k. my vent!!!!

  5. Dear me, we enjoy plenty of advantages not given to our own parents…..society grows and develops, priorities shift. I wish I’d had paid parental leave, I was the main breadwinner, but I wouldn’t begrudge it to new parents (I think it’s available to either parent?) of today. If there’s any double dipping our leaders can stop their own first. Let’s not be trapped into a black and white judgement on this issue……..

    3 REPLY
    • I agree with you Patrine. Prior to 1970s most families had the male who was the breadwinner, while the wife stayed home and looked after the house and children. Then came equal pay (although it still isn’t equal) and families found that both parents had to work to make ends meet.

    • Jeanette Southam so many people seemed to be filled with bitterness eg if I didn’t have it why should they?, sweeping statements about “they” being “greedy and impatient”. I find it all so sad 🙁

  6. We managed with a pittance of child endowment ($40/month for 2 kids) and no other help from govt. We had to sacrifice in order to have our families and i think many of the young ones want the perfect house with everything that opens and shuts, pkus new things for each child etc. I had hand me down everything when i had ny kids….stroller, bassinet, cot, cupboards, clothes etc. I bought and waz given some new clothes osmf course, but a lot of stuff was op shop and hand me downs . In most cases you can’t have everything and you have to realise that you have to go without if you want a family.

    5 REPLY
    • $40 dollars a month!!!! Gee you were lucky. I got $27.60 for two a month! lol! All jokes aside, today’s generation really don’t know how lucky they are, if we were out of work it was a stigma to even think about being on the dole and if you were on it, the embarrassment was mega-mount. You are correct in what you say, they want it all and do not think they have to bend over backwards for it. It’s all gimme, gimme gimme! I would save what little I received in the endowment each 12mnths, just to pay the school fee’s at the beginning of each year. Then it was a mad scramble trying to pay for the rest of the school paraphernalia, uniforms, book’s etc…….No they have no idea how lucky they are!

    • Very lucky! I got $4.00 a month. I thought it was great I could buy the kids some clothes.

      1 REPLY
      • Crikey – I had to make my kids clothes Anne.

  7. So many of them want it all house …BBBiiiiggg house car.. holidays…kids… then can’t afford it..slow down that’s what they need to do… NO I don’t agree with people being paid for having THIER children not at all.. We got nothing & expected nothing…Gov didn’t tell us to have babies…

    1 REPLY
  8. As far as I am concerned people should fund their own kids qnd not taxpayers….when my first son was born my child endownment for a month was a whole $2……

    25 REPLY
    • Only hubby worked and baby at home and yes only $2.00 child endowment one wage and we survived and went without saved our money to buy things no cards. Young ones today have so much from our government.

    • I remember my child payment was $2 monthly, no such thing as Maternity Leave and a job waiting for you if you wanted to return to work. I did return to another job and reimbursement for child-care fees was not a consideration. Our home was what we were able to afford at the time and proud of our purchase. Never even considered asking the govt for anything, it was our choice to have 3 childdren

    • Me too I had 5 children under 16 n only got $34 a
      Month My 1st child $2 a month Got no help had to make do with what you earned we survived on 1 wage Back in the day Mothers stayed home n looked after their Family ! It was hard but I think we learned to appreciate what we had

    • Mine was too & to make matters even harder my baby had a reaction to milk & had to be on soy bean milk available only on a script which cost me $2 A WEEK ! So I was really out of pocket

    • What was the buying power of that $2.00? My first fulltime 40 hr/week job paid $55 in 1979. Also the amount increased with each baby.

    • People need to remember they will be paying for their children for at least 18 years. If they can’t manage the first few weeks, they have to seriously look at their money management. We had to bring our children up without government hand outs, so we prioritised our budgets. Our generation did without so our kids could have what they needed. We did not want everything now, and we did not expect the tax payer to support us

    • Yes Maureen, and we had to budget and make sure all the bills got paid first before we could get anything else. $2 a mo the for the first child then it went down to$1.50 for the next and each after. So if you had four you could get up to around $6.50 to $7.00 a months to cover all of them.

    • When child endowment was $2 a week I payed $10- a week rent in a terrace house in Toorak Melbourne.
      Could you pay that now?

    • Yes, because in all that time the value of a dollar hasn’t changed at all and $2 forty years ago is worth the same as $2 today. Just as single income households are as common today as they were in 1975. What was the average cost of a house back then? Oh, and for a more relevant (and less silly) example, what was the price of an average 3 bedroom house as a percentage of the average salary? Times have changed. The cost of living has risen. Comparing then to now is like comparing apples to oranges because, like it or not, society has changed. And baby boomers contributed more to these changes than today’s young mothers. You helped make the world the place it is today.

    • When we first arrived in Australia in December 1965 my husband’s pay was 16 pound a week. It was in a bakery. Early in 1966 when decimal currency camels he got work on a building site. His pay was 50 dollars. In 1967 he finally got a job in one of the burragorang Mines. His pay vastly improved at 80 dollars a week. We thought we were rich.

    • The difference between then and now is that we waited until we could afford the better car and the bigger house and all the trimmings that go with it we didn’t put it all on credit purely because we wanted it!

    • Love how some of the new age hippie nutbags continue to blame the baby boomer generation for all of society’s woes today. Back then the mum’s job was fulltime care of the kids, rather than wondering how they were going to pay for that next tattoo or piercing, or otherwise “expressing their individuality”.

    • Perhaps we have moved forward a little and now a woman’s job is not expected to be merely a ‘housewife’. Obviously you were never forced to be one!

    • When (and where) I had my babies there was no such thing as ‘child endowment’. Why should a government pay people to have children?

  9. My husband worked night shift came home at 12am got up at 6am then I went to work while he minded two kids. Did this in various jobs various times. Retired an now on a pension no super as most of our jobs were not government Am very proud I didn’t have to get paid to have my two kids. I think u should suck it up An make a choice. Kids or money !,,,,,,,,

    2 REPLY
    • Yes we did make the choice and did what we had to do. My family was in Adelaide and had no family support, but had two daughter three years apart, worked part time while my husband travelled with his sales rep job. It was hard, no holidays or new cars.

    • And further because I never had a government job like Lynne Leayr, no super because no one told us we had to or were going to be expected to support ourselves in our old age.

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