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Here's Why A 'Pink Budget' Is Nonsense
Opinion|Jul 19, 2021

Here's Why A 'Pink Budget' Is Nonsense

We Don’t Need A Gender Reveal In The Budget, Writes Caroline Di Russo.
Caroline Di Russo

I have a tendency to raise some eyebrows. This invariably happens when I declare my undying love for federal budget. I love policy, numbers, projections, and how you can flick a switch in one part of the economy and the light turns on in another part.

Unusual, I know. But stay with me.

In the lead up to any budget, we hear calls for money to be directed to particular sectors or groups. This year there have been especially loud calls for a ‘pink’ budget.

Huh?

For starters, I grew up in a generation where women were told they could be whatever they wanted and didn’t have to conform to gender stereotypes, including that all things pink were for girls. A couple of decades down the track and those dated gender cliches are being used to ring-fence what certain groups consider to be appropriate budget measures ‘for’ women.

Ironically, these gender racketeers can’t even define ‘woman’. Apparently, a uterus is an optional extra.

They usually also repel women who don’t fall neatly into the category of ‘I have lady parts, it’s the prism through which I see the world, woe be me, I’m a victim’.

This April, Aware Super CEO, Deanne Stewart was quoted as saying that ‘last year’s budget was a blue budget but hopefully this year’s budget will be a pink budget.’

Honestly, you couldn’t find a view more dripping in gender politics and more lacking in nuance if you tried.

Anyone who was paying attention last year will know that the 2020 Federal Budget was a business support budget.

Last time I checked plenty of women were employed, ran businesses, received Jobkeeper, and took up apprenticeships. And single parents (overwhelmingly women) received and extra $2800 per year. The point is, a budget measure doesn’t have to be clad in yoga pants for it to benefit women.

Ironically, these gender racketeers can’t even define ‘woman’. Apparently, a uterus is an optional extra

The impact of the 2020 Federal Budget, amongst other things, saw women’s employment climb to the highest it has ever been and above pre-pandemic levels. Deloitte Access Economics reported that due to the speed of Australia’s economic recovery, this year’s deficit will be $30bn lower (and $100bn lower over the next four years) due to increased employment and decreased social security spending. So, whatever was in that apparently ‘blue’ budget, seems to have delivered for the ‘pink’ side of the ledger as well.

Anyway, back to the illusive pink budget of 2021.

Every year, childcare gets trotted out as the hill for all women to die on. Every year the wets want an increase in childcare funding, and again this year, they’ve called for increased childcare subsidies. I don’t oppose the availability and accessibility of childcare but using subsidies to correct a pricing issue is like throwing kerosene on a fire to put it out. Invariably, subsidy increases lead to price increases, market distortions, the disadvantaged becoming more disadvantaged, and even more whinging the following year about the exorbitant cost of childcare.

And then off we go doing the same inane things and expecting a different result.

As if on cue, this year the government has announced an extra $1.7bn in childcare funding, thankfully a substantial part of the funding goes to lower income earners.

Given this is likely to be the last budget before the next federal election, it’s fair enough to see this as a political sweetener rather than genuine structural reform.

Of course, the opposition and the vagina-hat wearing brigade are still not happy. Perhaps as an alternative Labor can release a policy whereby parents hand their children to the state until they are school age so that parents are not inconvenienced whatsoever by their children. Evidently, I’m being hyperbolic, though I fear such a suggestion would be welcomed by the more progressive sections of our political class. Ultimately, while childcare is a consideration for some women, it isn’t for all women.

We aren’t a monolith.

We are hustling in a great many ways.

And whenever women are pigeonholed into some pink taffeta basket, other women are invariably excluded.

Clearly, the best way to get women into the workforce is to improve the broader economy.

Economic prosperity benefits us all.