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Kedgley's Comments "Ignorant And Misleading"

12 March 2002

"Sue Kedgley's comments about the alleged gender pay gap are ignorant and misleading," Families Apart Require Equality (FARE) spokesperson Darryl Ward said today. He was referring to Green MP Kedgley's call for the EEO Commissioner to immediately conduct pay audits and research into gender pay differences.

"There is one overwhelming reason why men appear to earn more than women, namely that so many women choose to exercise their right to stay home and raise children, whilst sending their husbands out to earn for the family.

"Women almost always have a choice between career and family. Men rarely have such a choice, as almost any man who has tried to use the Family Court to uphold his right to be a father, can tell you. Men do not have the same right to raise families that women have to pursue careers. This alone unbalances the workforce, particularly at the management level. You cannot achieve equality in society by removing discrimination that works one way whilst enforcing discrimination that works in the opposite direction.

"Furthermore, the $10,000 disparity that Kedgley quotes refers to income, not pay. It therefore covers income from all sources, and covers people in full-time and part-time work, those not in payed employment, retired, and investment income. It fails to take account of assets in place of income (such as lump sum settlements given by the Family Court on the basis of a partner's future earning capacity or superannuation entitlement), and may confuse tax-free and taxable income (as with child support, which is not deducted from the payers' income for these calculations). It also ignores transfers between partners in a relationship, which obviously occur when a working husband has a wife at home. More specifically Mrs Kedgley appears to not understand that a family generally functions as one economic unit as opposed to two separate individuals.

"If she is truly concerned about achieving closer pay equality, Mrs Kedgley would be actively supporting calls for shared parenting which would give men the same right to be parents that women have to pursue careers", concluded Ward.


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