The Federal discrimination and diversity area will see major changes post-election if the successful party sticks by its election promises. Both major parties have promised to add sexual orientation to Commonwealth anti-discrimination law. Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis made the commitment on August 13. Labor has also promised $3m from July 1, 2011 to create a stand-alone Age Discrimination Commissioner as part of a package of reforms for older Australians. “This initiative will particularly benefit mature age workers and jobseekers who often experience discrimination either in the workplace, or when trying to find a job, from employers and colleagues.” It would also provide $30m under its Experience Plusprogram to deliver more workplace based training for up to 7,500 workers age over 50, at $4,000 a pop. The Coalition promised businesses a $3,250 incentive to hire workers over 50 who were on benefits.
Parties on PPL
On press day, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced fathers under its paid parental leave scheme would receive two weeks pay at the national minimum wage, thereby matching the Coalition policy. The min wage is currently $570 a week, and Labor estimated around 220,000 fathers and other partners who share the child’s care, and who meet the work and income tests, would be eligible for it. The levy on big business to pay for PPL may go on indefinitely, based on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s August 16 comment: “I’m not going to put a timeline on when the levy on big business will end. Simply to say that it is our intention to do so but only when the budget is in much better repair than it’s going to be in the near future”. A Coalition Govt would scrap the Aust Public Service Indigenous Employment Strategy to save $4m over two years. The move is listed in its New Savings Table. However, it would give $8m over four years to the Aust Employment Covenant and $8m over four years to the Aboriginal Employment Strategy. The Coalition would not proceed with the Aust Human Rights Framework.