Unbelievable! After a process which involved 468 initial submissions, a 90-page draft report, a 60-page technical modelling supplement, 455 post-draft submissions, 1100 brief comments via a website, eight public hearings in five cities which heard from 140 expert witnesses and three months to consider the final report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Learning, all that Tony Abbott could say about Australia’s childcare mess at the National Press Club is that they’ll consult.
Babies and politicians often go hand-in-hand during the lead up to an election. But as many three-year-olds dissolve in tears when they discover they can no longer enrol in their local community-based preschool, the pollies may want to steer clear.
Can Scott Morrison fix childcare? Admittedly, it’s hard to fathom how someone who was happy to use the release of children from detention as a bargaining chip to get legislation passed, could be appointed as the person with responsibility for childcare in the first place, let alone, succeed at it.
Dear Mr Abbott, please excuse me, a stranger, for writing to you like this, but I need to ask you an important question. It comes from an observation my daughter made over breakfast on Saturday morning. (It was a nice breakfast, I might add. Maybe not as good as what you got up in Brisbane at the G20 conference but Sydney’s inner west does have an array of very unique cafes that do very good breakfasts.)
Preschool education and childcare are even more important than Gough Whitlam realised and, had he known, he would have acted differently.
Like many women of my generation I am a card carrying member of what Mark Latham today called “the comfortable shoe brigade”. In an excoriating article published in today’s Financial Review about one of Julia Gillard’s book promotion events, he called Gillard an “agony aunt for women in comfortable shoes”.