PM denies party revolt scaled back paid parental leave
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has denied his decision to scale back his promised "signature policy", paid parental leave, was a result of a party room revolt this week.
Mr Abbott on Wednesday confirmed he had decided to limit the PPL scheme to those earning up to $100,000, down from $150,000; leaving wealthier new parents to cope on just $50,000 for six months parental leave.
His policy is still more generous than the current government policy, which gives all new parents up to 18 weeks leave on the minimum wage.
His decision, he said, was made in light of the deteriorating budget situation, and showed that he was even willing to change his mind due to the tough decisions the government faces.
But the announcement followed reports of a raft of senior Liberal figures speaking out against the scheme earlier this week, and has followed a concerted push against by Mr Abbott's senior Nationals colleagues.
The policy still has to pass a hostile Senate, with some Nationals Senators privately intimating they may cross the floor and the Palmer United Party opposed it.
While Mr Abbott's change of heart was a veritable victory for The Greens, who originally wanted it limited to $100,000 wage earners, Deputy Leader Adam Bandt has issued the Coalition with more demands.
Mr Bandt on Wednesday told newspapers the minor party wanted it fully funded from the government's proposed 1.5% levy on big business, with "not a cent" to come from elsewhere.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, seized on Mr Abbott's backdown as evidence he did not hold his convictions, and said he still thinks it was too generous to high income earners.