Abbott claims Coalition supports party's paid parental plan
OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott says he has the support of the Coalition party room for his generous paid parental leave scheme and will be implemented in his first term as prime minister if he wins the next election.
The scheme came under fire from Liberal Party backbencher Alex Hawke this week, who described it as an "albatross around the neck" of the Coalition.
Retiring Liberal MP Mal Washer also voiced his concerns about the policy, calling on the Coalition's hierarchy to explain how it would improve productivity.
Businesses with a taxable income of $5 million or more would be required to pay a 1.5% levy to fund the scheme, which Mr Abbott has described as "modest".
Mr Abbott told reporters on Tuesday the PPL, which he took to the 2010 election, would remain one of the Coalition's "signature policies".
And he denied he was facing a party room revolt over the tax.
"We have taken it to an election and it has been to the party room, of course people are free to raise it again if they wish, but believe me, this is an important reform and it will be a signature reform of an incoming Coalition government," Mr Abbott said.
The Opposition Leader said paid parental leave should not be characterised as welfare, but was instead a "workplace entitlement".
He said his PPL plan was proof the Coalition "gets" the challenges faced by working women.
"This is a question of wage justice. It is a question of justice for families," he said.
"It is also a question of fairness in our economy because if we want to have a truly productive economy, we cannot afford not to make use of some of its most productive members and younger women are in the prime of life and they should be able not just to have kids but to have careers."