Bill's Transcripts

Channel 9 Morning News

Channel 9 Sydney: Nine Morning News
13 February 2012
11:35 am

SUBJECT: unpaid parental leave

AMELIA ADAMS: The Gillard Government is continuing its industrial relations pitch to voters, with more plans to help working parents and for more I am joined by Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten in Canberra. Minister, good morning. Thank you for joining us.

BILL SHORTEN: Good morning Amelia.

AMELIA ADAMS: Can you firstly just take us through these changes and how they'll affect Australian families?

BILL SHORTEN: Well we're announcing four changes, the first of which is that we want parents who take unpaid parental leave after the birth of their child to be able to have the option to have up to eight weeks together. Currently, they're not allowed to have that amount of time together, only one partner can take the unpaid leave. And quite often, both after the birth but also in those first difficult 12 months, it would be great if both partners are able to at least choose, if they can, to have some time together watching the little one grow.

AMELIA ADAMS: Yeah, it sounds great for families and it sounds like fathers are the big winners here too Minister. What do you say, though, to businesses who might argue that some of these reforms will be an extra burden, an extra cost, to the way they're operating?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, the fact that we're making pregnant women safer at work, the fact that we're helping women who get sick during pregnancy still be able to take some time off, the fact that we want mum and dad to be able to tag-team to work around their busy lives. What I'd say to businesses who are concerned by any scaremongering is: no business has ever gone out of business by looking after the next generation, because it's the next generation who have to look after us when we're in retirement.

AMELIA ADAMS: Minister, industrial relations obviously a key battleground for this federal election. We've seen that already from the Prime Minister and we've seen it from the Opposition. What can we expect from the Government? How are you going to convince Australian families to vote for you?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, first of all, you do so by being upfront about your policies. We've outlined this week real workplace relations policies, about making modern workplaces more flexible for modern families. What we'd said is that there should be speedy remedies to complaints about bullying.

What we're saying is that new families should be able to just get a bit of flexibility to help out. We recognise that what matters is people knowing what you stand for and where you're going. We're putting our policies out clearly and we think that if you want to treat the Australian electorate with respect, then both sides need to be clear about what they would do if they were in charge. We are very clear.

AMELIA ADAMS: All right. Minister, Bill Shorten, we'll have to leave it there for now. Thank you for your time this morning.

BILL SHORTEN: Thanks Amelia. Have a nice day.

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