Controversial cuts to the paid parental leave “rort” continue to cause headaches for the Coalition, with two senior ministers admitting to “double dipping” when they themselves had children.
Both Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this week admitted their wives had claimed leave from both the government and their employer.
The revelations follow comments on Monday from Social Services Minister Scott Morrison who said the government was abolishing the practice which was “in many cases… a rort”.
On Thursday, Mr Frydenberg revealed his wife used both schemes when they had a child and said it was common practice on both sides of politics.
“We accessed both schemes as my wife was entitled to and there are many people I’m sure on both sides of the House who have done that,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News.
The policy, which is expected to save $1 billion, will restrict mothers who already have an employer funded leave scheme from accessing the government’s $11,500 scheme.
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Cormann also revealed his family had benefitted from the scheme, despite defending the government’s use of the term “double dipping” and calling it a “fairness measure”.
When pressed by Labor senator Sam Dastyari in Parliament, Mr Cormann did not deny he had claimed both types of leave.
“Let me confirm for him that I have indeed had a little child in 2013 and that our family of course worked within a system that was available at the time like any other family and that my family will work within whatever system is in place in the future,” he said.
Labor attacked the Coalition on Wednesday for labelling mothers as “rorters and fraudsters”, but Mr Morrison insisted he used the term “rort” to refer to the system set up by Labor and the unions in government.
Several key Liberals have also distanced themselves from the government’s language, with Senator Arthur Sinodinos calling the it “unfortunate”, saying it wasn’t a good look to attack new mothers.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull also said he wouldn’t use the same language his fellow ministers had used around the policy.