Wednesday, February 23, 2005

single entendre

Naturally, being a single mum, I have a vested interest in the debate about the Howard Government's welfare 'reforms' which are supposedly going to force all single parents back to work once their child is five years old.
It's not that I think five years is such an unreasonable timeframe. Me, I always imagine I'll be working by the time Harley is about three or so, but definitely by five. I mean, welfare is such a crappily paid job. That's certainly the biggest incentive to get a job again as soon as you can.
And obviously I'm not alone in thinking this way: 71 per cent of sole parents move off income support after five years.
Well, if they do it voluntarily then why act as if they need to be whipped into doing so? It just perpetuates the stigma that welfare recipients are lazy bludgers who need to be forced into work. So I disagree with the arbitrariness of the Howard deadline. And I find it kind of mean-spirited.
If Howard really wants to encourage single parents to work then create the optimal conditions for it. Why doesn't he start with reforming the childcare sector? That would be far more productive for everybody.