Monday, March 3, 2008

Lobbying the productivity commission

What follows is the letter I recently sent to the Productivity Commission in response to their recent press release

Please consider composing your own letter and email to


I am a father to a wonderful daughter, however I share parenting of my child with my ex partner from whom I have separated.

I am an advocate for men’s rights and I manage the blog

It’s great that the Rudd government has taken steps to promote paid maternity leave, however as your terms of reference state, apparently you are trying to provide "support for parents", which would include both mothers and fathers.

However, the language that is used is clearly discriminatory towards males.
Throughout this document you refer to “paid maternity, paternity and parental leave”. You start off talking about parents and children but very quickly you begin referring to women and mothers, what about men and fathers…….

And if you want to help women balance work commitments then extend the same opportunities to fathers as you are offering to mothers. For example let fathers receive parenting allowance and stay home to care for the kids if they want, so women can be free to pursue their careers or vice-versa.

Get rid of this discriminatory language, you must use the term parental leave to acknowledge the vital role that fathers play.

Feminism has taught us language is the basis of all discrimination and we should not assume that only females care for children as much of this document would have us believe.

Furthermore, true gender equality will only ever be achieved when men receive the same support as women in their role as parents. Thus any program that would only see mothers provided with financial compensation is a direct case of discrimination.

You mention “working mothers” but at no time refer to working fathers like myself, so I can only assume that you are planning to directly discriminate against me and as such I will challenge this.

There is plenty of research that proves the importance of both parents, and based on basic equity theory we should do away with the outdated terms of maternity and paternity leave and move to adopt the term parental leave to ensure that both parents have access to such support.

You mention the employment of women, however males now comprise 66% of all people receiving unemployment allowance in Australia, so perhaps this should be revised to include men.

You mention the “the post-birth health of the mother” - Here we go again what about the father? Research has shown that fathers may also be affected by post birth depression.

So please join in the 21st Century and do away with your outdated notions of parenthood that would suggest that this is still the domain of women, which to be honest is insulting to both men and women.


GR Klein

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