We Must Value Unpaid Work

5 December, 2023

Hello, Russell Broadbent here – Member for Monash.

We hear a lot about our nation’s need to improve productivity, and last week, the government received the final report of the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce.

In short, the Taskforce recommends a plan to address the nation’s financial and productivity woes by, and I quote, unleashing the full capacity and contribution of women to the Australian economy.

As if they’ve been slacking off all this time!  

In short, there appears to be a push for women to give birth to breed more taxpayers, then shove the baby into childcare so they can return to full-time paid work …the only work that’s seems valued in our society.

My friend Barbara said she couldn’t be any more productive if she tried!

She said “I work five nights a week as an emergency nurse, visit mum who’s in aged care an hour away from home, and help my son’s family with the grand kids in the afternoon. I’m exhausted! Her eyes then welled up with tired tears…This isn’t the way life is meant to be!” she said.

The implicit assumption that we can squeeze more productivity out of women to help pay off our national debt is a short-sighted, short-term fix at best and a gross miscalculation of the value of unpaid, but essential work, the majority of which is performed by women!  

What value do we put on parenting, volunteering and caring roles? Or rather what’s the cost of not putting a value on these roles?

Over the past four years, people have been pummelled like never before. You don’t have to look far to sense the deep pain and suffering of so many people …in fact there’s a palpable sense of despondency that I’ve never seen before.

As a nation we can do better – we mustdo better.

Maybe the 243 billion dollars raised from the stage 3 tax cuts could help boost Australia’s productivity instead of boosting the bank balance of people that don’t need it?

That’s justice, as I see it!

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