South Western Times

Budget’s pink cash splash

- JENNA CLARKE

Gender reveal parties have to be the worst type of gatherings known to modern man.

These type of naff traditions, started in the US by a blogger back in 2008, need to start fading into obscurity like reality show runners-up or disgraced politician­s.

If not only for the fact some overzealou­s parents-to-be have jumped the shark and gone on to cause major bushfires and even contribute­d to earthquake­s while revealing if their new human will be part of team blue or team pink.

What’s wrong with just popping a tasteful balloon in your backyard? Or just buy a cake to celebrate new life instead of dressing it up and projecting so much on the barely fertilised egg.

If these events were politician­s they would be John Hewson. And if we have learnt anything over the past two decades it’s that gender and cakes are two things that don’t bode well for the Federal Liberal Party.

Back in the early 1990s, Hewson lost an election with a birthday cake. Now Scott Morrison is hoping to win one by buttering up the ladies with his new “women’s ministry”. A taskforce led by Marise Payne who have helped craft this new “women’s Budget” as it’s been touted by some commentato­rs.

Amid chaos in Canberra, a rocky vaccine rollout and failure to agree on when to bring Australia out from under the COVID doona, Budget 21-22 is what the Government will be pinning a lot of its re-election hopes on.

The weeks leading up to Budget night — usually filled with more nerves and intrigue than expectant parents — were instead littered with announceme­nts about who gets what and why. Treasury let nearly every cat out of the bag. Aged care, job-creating infrastruc­ture projects, mental health and women were touted as the early and key winners of the next four years.

By the time Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stood at the dispatch box at 7.30pm Tuesday it was like watching a gender reveal party for the second time. We already knew the ending. But these are unpreceden­ted times for Australia and for a Federal Government that has found itself in social strife and in need of some big wins as the countdown to the next election rolls around.

The Government is banking on its “pink budget” to win over voters who they fear they have lost since COVID and the Canberra sexism mess involving a vast cast of staffers and key ministers.

It’s the fiscal fight back that will underpin the Prime Minister’s campaign and show a plan for post-pandemic Australia.

But why everything has to be in blue and pink instead of just black and white goes to show those in charge still have a lot to learn about the real Australia.

The childcare reform package announced weeks ago is a great first step in overhaulin­g a system which is just as broken and gendered as the aged-care sector.

The proposed changes involve adding $1.7 billion over three years to the money already budgeted for child care, which is now a kitty worth $10.3b a year.

This spending will particular­ly benefit families with two or more children under the age of five. It will also help couples with a combined income of more than $189,000, by removing the subsidy cap. Money is a great first step. Next up should be a major makeover that factors in how mum and dad parent in 2021.

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