The cuts made by the Gillard Government have placed an unnecessary financial burden on single parent families, a fact which must be of concern for our new Deputy PM Anthony Albanese, who was himself raised by a single mother, in a public housing estate in Sydney.
Single mums get a raw deal in communities all over the globe and Australia is no exception.
The prevailing community attitude in Australia is that single mums (not single dads) are lazy good for nothings, who are raising a bunch of unruly children on public housing estates, while contributing nothing to society.
So when Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan were looking for ways to cut government spending, they didn’t hesitate to axe parenting payments for tens of thousands of single parents living at or below the poverty line. They expected some noise from the welfare sector. But they also knew there was very little sympathy in the community for single mothers who rely on Centrelink benefits to survive.
But the real tragedy is that despite all the pain caused to single parent families, the federal budget still remains in deficit and as far as we can tell, the cuts to parenting payments have achieved absolutely nothing for the federal government.
Now, with Julia Gillard being relegated to the pages of Australia’s political history, there comes a new hope for single mothers and their children. No, it’s not Kevin. It’s our new Deputy PM, Anthony Albanese.
According to a story by Paul Cleary published in The Australian, single mums are hoping Mr Albanese’s childhood memories of being raised by a single mother, will prompt him to use his considerable influence to get a better deal for struggling single parent families.
Although my two sons are now adults, I raised them as a single parent in Western Sydney. I worked full-time when I could and when I couldn’t, I worked part-time with my income being supplemented by partial parenting payments from Centrelink. I also studied at university.
What I remember most about those days is, when working full-time I was told I wasn’t spending enough time with my children. If I quit my job to spend more time with the kids, then I was a lazy good for nothing (you can’t win as a single mother). Fortunately, I was able to negotiate with my employer to work part-time when my kids were in primary school. But cuts to parenting payments have made that impossible now.
So perhaps while the federal Labor Government is in the mood for corrections, such as re-installing Kevin Rudd as leader, they could also restore the parenting payments axed by the Gillard Government. That would be the right thing to do.