Of Media Tarts and Maternity Leave

Gweneth today took Sebastian along to the Democrats and Greens’ launch of their paid maternity leave policy.* Turned out there were only a handful of babies in the room. While the other babies were featured on various news outlets,  Sebastian took star billing on Ten News, as he reached out to touch the camera.

As I’ve mentioned before, he’s a handsome lad, fortunate to have gotten his good looks from his mum. But we’re still perplexed as to where his media tart instincts come from…

It’s a longshot, but if anyone can get us a clip from Ten News, we’d love it. Here’s a photo of the event from ABC Online (Sebastian back right).

* Andrew Norton: I guess this means that there’s now a quadpartisan (quinpartisan?) consensus to move more money from your wallet to mine.

Update: Natasha Stott-Despoja has a history when it comes to baby-handling. As The Australian reminds us:

If rule No 1 of political campaigning is to be photographed with smiling babies, then rule No 2 is to make sure you look adoring, rather than rattled.

Just ask Natasha Stott Despoja who, during her 12 years in parliament, has done more to showcase the art of baby-handling than any politician.

Her efforts yesterday, as she celebrated the introduction to the Senate of legislation to establish paid maternity leave, proved practice does make perfect.

Her dextrous manoeuvring of several infants was a far cry from the famous 2001 election snap of the then Democrats leader with a look of sheer terror as she held the daughter of her colleague Andrew Bartlett.

Dextrous, but not perfect. This SMH photo was taken just after she said hello to my son Sebastian (on the right), and he responded by bursting into tears at her.

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5 Responses to Of Media Tarts and Maternity Leave

  1. Damien Eldridge says:

    From the ABC website to which you linked: “Senator Natasha Stott Despoja says around 34 per cent of Australian working women have access to paid maternity leave, while a recent opinion poll showed that 76 per cent supported the idea of a national scheme.”

    I wonder what percentage of Australian working women plan on having kids? Any takers for 76?

    I have no problem with paid maternity leave so long as the funds come from the father of the child!!!

  2. christine says:

    What about those with no actively involved father, Damien? And isn’t there likely to be some intertemporal budget constraint problem with self-funding (young people are more likely to have kids, but are also at a relatively low income stage of life … hang on sounds like an argument for income-contingent loan programs for kids? Not entirely sure about that one).

    And what about the argument that it’s more likely to have positive effects than the existing baby bonus? There’s some evidence on breastfeeding benefits of some paid maternity leave (thus supposedly long-run social and intellectual development), and I’m pretty sure the same is true of long-run female labour force attachment (leading to reduced need to pay welfare or to higher taxes in the long run, though I’m very sure it wouldn’t completely offset the cost).

    More importantly from Dems perspective, though – why is this being called “maternity leave”? Why not parental (other than breastfeeding)?

  3. David Walker says:

    Andrew, I saw the report in question. If he’s the kid who put his head right up to the camera lens as the piece ended, you really do have a good-looking kid on your hands.

  4. Peter Fyfe says:

    Methinks Australian tax payers got very good value for that baby bonus!

  5. Damien Eldridge says:

    Maybe Sebastian just has an innate fear of politicians? That is probably a very useful survival instinct!!! ;)

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