Entrenched bias against women and children must stop. In this Budget, this Election and all public policy.

Ten organisations, representing hundreds and thousands of women, have called on warring political leaders in the run-up to the Budget, and to an election, to put an end to entrenched bias against women and children.

“Election 2013, and the following Budget, saw promises made that were not kept, and policies never previously mentioned introduced which were heavy blows to women and children” said Dr Mary Crawford, President of the National Foundation for Australian Women.

“The organisations making this call to political leaders speak for a wide range of women, especially women in disadvantage.

“There are women in Pacific Island nations, depending on Australian aid to give birth to healthy babies, and to educate those children.

“There are women in Australian cities and country towns fleeing domestic violence with their children- they need access to supported affordable housing, to community legal services.

“There are mature women retiring with grossly inadequate retirement incomes, unable to afford rents in our towns and cities.

“There are women and children needing access to health care, to dental care, to affordable medicines.

“There are working women still unable to find affordable decent care after school and in school holidays for their children, women who are still facing the loss of weekend penalty rates if they work in retail and hospitality. There are teenage girls and women looking for work needing access to affordable technical training run by reputable training institutions. We now have mothers and children in Australia who are denied access to a parenting payment once their youngest child turns eight. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are twice as likely to die as an outcome of family violence compared to other women.

“Our organisations know women, know the needs of women and their children. We plead on their behalf.

“Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Australian Greens. Now is the time to put an end to entrenched bias against women and children in this Budget, this election and public policies.”

The National Foundation for Australian Women will again produce an analysis of the impact of the Federal Budget on women and girls, Dr Crawford added.

For further information contact Viv Hardy on 0411 208 951 or (02) 9283 4113 or Mary Crawford, President National Foundation of Australian Women 0410 427 831

  • National Foundation for Australian Women
  • Rachel Bausor WIRE
  • Carmen Hannaker Green Union of Australian Women
  • Diann Rodgers-Healy Australian Centre for Leadership for Women
  • Terese Edwards Council for the Single Mother and her Child
  • Joanna Hayter International Women’s Development Agency
  • Linda Simon Women in Adult and Vocational Education
  • Janis Shaw Business and Professional Women Australia
  • Melanie Fernandez Women’s Electoral Lobby
  • Melba Marginson Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition

Support women’s reproductive rights across Australia

Reproductive Choice Australia was formed in 2005 and February 2016 marked the ten year anniversary of their first successful campaign (in conjunction with GetUp!) – to remove the Federal Health Minister’s veto over importing and using abortifacient medication such as mifepristone (RU486) in Australia. This was the essential first step in providing Australian women with the option of medical as well as surgical termination of pregnancy – an option which has become slowly but increasingly available and in high demand over time.

Reproductive Choice Australia remains the country’s only dedicated national abortion-rights advocacy organisation. They work both publicly and behind the scenes with politicians, policy makers, health services, abortion providers and others to continue to fight for the reproductive rights of all Australian women.

In Australia women still do not have adequate access to the full range of reproductive options and appropriate reproductive health, particularly in regional and remote parts of our nation. Abortion remains governed by criminal legislation in a number of jurisdictions and affordable and accessible contraception and pregnancy termination services are still limited.

There are currently moves afoot in several states and territories to change their laws (some public, some not yet so) and RCA’s capacity is being stretched trying to help out in all cases as well as an urgent upgrade of our website to share resources with other advocates.

Can you support this important work by giving a donation to fund our campaigning, advocacy and policy work?

Reproductive Choice Australia is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation staffed entirely by volunteers. They receive no government funding, and depend entirely on donations to help defend and enhance women’s reproductive freedom. It is only with your support that we can continue this important work.

Please consider making a donation.

You can make a tax-deductable donation through NFAW http://www.nfaw.org/donate/ (choose Reproductive Choice Australia from the drop down menu). You can donate on our website by PayPal or by direct debt or cheque.

If you can contribute in other ways, offering your time, expertise or products or services, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us on team@reproductivechoiceaustralia.org.au

You can also help with our ongoing awareness raising efforts by sharing our social media posts on

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ReproductiveChoiceAustralia/ and Twitter @reprochoiceau

Together we can improve reproductive choice for all women across Australia.

A husband is not a retirement plan – Report from the Economic Security for Women in Retirement Inquiry

The Senate Inquiry into the Economic Security of Women in Retirement has found that if action is not taken now, women currently aged 25-29 will still face a less secure retirement than men of the same age when they retire in 2055.

The Inquiry’s final report has been released today and provides 19 recommendations that, if implemented, would narrow the gap between men and women’s retirement security.

The Inquiry found that Australia’s retirement system disproportionally rewards the working lives of men over women. From their first day at work, Australian women face a structural disadvantage in being able to achieve a safe and dignified retirement.

The combination of the gender pay gap, time out of fulltime work for caring responsibilities, tax arrangements that disproportionally benefit higher paid men and a concentration of women in lower paid occupations mean women are retiring with approximately half the superannuation of men. It is not acceptable that women can enter retirement after a lifetime of work and care facing poverty.

Whilst superannuation has improved retirement for many Australians, the current tax arrangements for superannuation are poorly targeted and act to reinforce the savings gap between men and women. Men currently receive double the benefit of tax concessions than women. A rebalancing of these tax concessions to more fairly assist those people on low and middle incomes is a critical step ensuring the superannuation system appropriately responds to the realities of women’s work.

The report also emphasises the significance of the pension as the principal way that we reward the unpaid work of women. The pension remain as a strong pillar of our retirement system and exists to provide a dignified retirement. The Inquiry found that the gap in men and women’s retirement incomes cannot be solved by women alone. It cannot be solved by women putting away a little more money over their working lives. The report provides a roadmap for short and long-term action to address the significant disadvantage women face in achieving a secure retirement.

The report can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Economic_security_for_women_in_retirement/Report




New Fair Agenda report shows impact of proposed cuts to Paid Parental Leave:

– low-income women are going to be particularly hard hit

– nurses, teachers, ambos and retail workers will all have the time they can afford to spend caring for their new baby slashed

– the mothers in the scenarios modelled will be left with just 7 – 13 weeks of living expenses covered (so less than half of the 26 weeks recommended)

– thousands will have their support cut to just 18 weeks; before their baby can even crawl

– some will lose as much as $10,000 under the cuts.

Read more about the Report at http://www.fairagenda.org/blog_report_newpplcuts

Superannuation reform is the perfect opportunity to address gender inequity

Rather than using the savings from superannuation reform to lower income taxes, we should use them to make concessions fairer and help women participate more fully in the paid economy, write Helen Hodgson and Marie Coleman. Read more here – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-30/coleman-hodgson-superannuation/6986500

FTB changes- NFAW Statement

The National Foundation for Australian Women is profoundly concerned by revised proposals by the Government to substantially cut access to Family Tax Benefits Parts A and B. The cuts will produce hardship for low income families, especially single parent families.

They further confuse and complicate the system of family payments, rather than simplifying. They are not likely to have any positive impact on female work-force attachment. They will hit hard in identifiable regions with high concentrations of low incomes families and lack of employment opportunities – outer suburban areas of capital cities, and the regions. (Electorates with the lowest rates of families claiming FTB and so less likely to be impacted include Wentworth and Curtin.)

Hypothetically, it is suggested that losses in family payments will be offset by access to cheaper child care. A parent of a 13 year old won’t be getting much out of that switch.
The changes will penalise those sole parents who are already in employment – for each $ earned there is a $ loss in FTB.

For the households where the parent, or parents are already working, the changes won’t produce additional workforce participation.

These proposed changes are an attempt to make the lowest income families repair the Budget at a time when overall outlays on family benefits are in steady decline. It is completely untrue that Social Security payments for families are rising unsustainably.

NFAW agrees with ACoSS – there is a need to change FTB – but that should have a focus on adequacy and the alleviation of child poverty, not just achieving savings. The Government’s proposals undermine our confidence in anything else proposed in the name of welfare reform. It is worth remembering in the context of current talk of changes to the tax mix and the need for compensation that the current structures being gutted were introduced by the Howard Government as compensation for the introduction of the GST.

NFAW urges Senators to reject the changes once the new Bill is tabled.

NFAW notes that the Senate Community Affairs Committee report on the previous Bill is due to be tabled on Monday 30 November. This alone will be a cause for confusion as the as yet unseen untabled Bill is considered.

30 November 2015
For further comment: Marie Coleman AO PSM, Chair, NFAW Social Policy Committee 0414483068

Download the media release here – FTB changes November 2015

Upcoming events

Senator Katy Gallagher entertained 100 of us at dinner at the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday 17 November. Events are planned for 2016 in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra
– Watch this space!

Marie Coleman talks about Women’s retirement income in the Drum

If the Turnbull Government is serious about bolstering women’s retirement incomes and supporting their economy security, it should start by reversing its decision to scrap the Low Income Superannuation Contribution, writes Marie Coleman. Read more – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-29/coleman-women-retirement-income/6894870

Family Tax Benefit

Proposed Family Tax Benefit saving robbing Pauline to Pay Peta.

While less appalling than the Government’s original proposals, the revised Family Tax Benefit (FBT) reforms are unlikely to have a significant effect on workforce participation, particularly in those states and territories with high unemployment, claim a range of workforce experts including the National Foundation of Australian Women (NFAW), Equality Rights Alliance (ERA), economic Security for Women (eS4W) and the Work and Family Policy Roundtable (W&FPR).

Read the Media Release here – NFAW release – FTB 2015 FINAL

Click on the link below to read the article in The Drum 23.10.2015


Tax and transfer group welcome

NFAW welcomes the Government’s review of work disincentives in our tax and transfer systems

Read more:

Oct 2015 tax and transfer working group Morrison

Oct 2015 NFAW release – Barriers to work 2015 (002)