The leader of the more right-wing of the two parties, the Liberal Party, is Tony Abbott. His family policy is to tax 3000 large companies to raise $6.5 billion in order to fund an exceptionally generous paid maternity scheme. A woman on $150,000 per annum will get 6 months on full pay (i.e. $75,000) plus 2 per cent superannuation.
It's another step along the way to undermining the male provider role. Once upon a time the role of the husband was important in supporting his wife financially during her pregnancy and whilst she stayed at home to look after her children.
In the new system a woman will provide for herself through her career and then be supported by the state during the period of time she is allotted to stay with her infant child.
Abbott has given up on the model of the male provider family:
'It proves that the Coalition gets it when it comes to the reality of the contemporary woman and contemporary families.
'The fact is very few families these days can survive on a single income ... So if we are serious about allowing women to have kids and a career we've got to have a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme.'
The political elite, whether of the left or right, have accepted the idea that what matters in life is a professional career. Therefore it is a matter of justice for them that a woman's life centre on her career and be structured around her career rather than on and around family. Similarly equality means for them the idea that women be as little obstructed in career and earnings as men. The desired outcome is that sex distinctions between men and women in these public roles be made not to matter.
For traditionalists there is a different logic at play. For us it is important that we be able to fulfil our distinct natures as men and women. For most men, career is not in itself the fulfilling thing in life - it is mundane work that often leaves you tired and stressed by the end of the week. If there is a higher meaning to it, it is that it opens up a protected space for our wives to raise our children and to create a home. It is this higher meaning to male work that current social trends, supported by both parties, are undermining.
I do understand that high property prices have made it difficult for many people to survive on a single wage. I understand too that there are women who have a strong wish to pursue a career. And I certainly understand that families are not going to turn down such a financial windfall as the one being offered by Tony Abbott.
But if we are aiming to establish a trad community in the future, we have to make an effort to defend the male provider role. That doesn't by any means exclude women from paid work. There are a lot of ways to be flexible when it comes to this. But the minimum standard ought to be that in the average home the husband is the main breadwinner over the course of the marriage and that his efforts are significant in allowing his wife to have the opportunity to have children and to create a home for her family.
By the way, I don't mean for posts like this to demoralise younger men from seeking work. My advice is to stay the course. Most women with kids only want to work part-time at most, so you are still likely to end up as the main breadwinner. And if the government ever attempts to equalise the part-time earnings of women with the full-time earnings of men then it's time for all hell to break loose.