Tags: fertility rate

6 Jun 2004, Comments (0)

Ross, you Bewdy!

Author: Helen

I never thought I’d say this, but I’d like to grab Ross Gittins by the furry face and give him a big, smacking kiss.

Why!? Because of this sentence:

Issues of Public policy don’t come much more important than this.

I’m not a total, hundred percent fan of Gittins. His comment that HECS is no burden to the young because it’s equivalent to the payments on a loan for a new car made me think his name should be shortened to its first three letters. (Hands up all of you who took out a loan for a brand new car in your early twenties?)

But this article is pure gold to me (the bastards at Fairfax will make you register now to read it), because a bloke with a grey beard and a moderate-to-conservative column which focuses on The Economy has come out and said it. Work-and-family and childcare issues are mainstream issues. Not women’s business, to be relegated to somewhere on page 4 of the newspaper or the Lifestyle supplements.

The title is interesting too. “How Men Stuff up Womens’ Lives”? What firebreathing, radical feminist would write something like that? Germs? Anne Summers? No, it’s Ross Gittins. It’s not so easy for antifeminists or rightwingers to come out with the usual “feminazi” or “man-hating” dismissals. After all, he’s a bloke.

All you weary old feminists, read this:


If this budget is about anything more than blatant vote-buying, it’s about helping parents juggle work and family commitments and hoping this will do something to improve fertility.
Issues of public policy don’t come much more important than this. If our fertility rate continues falling – leading eventually to a declining population, with radical implications for our growth-addicted economy – expect a lot more wailing and gnashing of teeth about how few young couples are doing their patriotic duty.

He goes on to explain how “family friendly” work is not some fantasy dreamt up by the fairies at the bottom of the garden, but completely consistent with a healthy economy.


…But the bad deal we’re giving mothers (and fathers who should be doing more of the housework) is denying business full access to women’s skilled labour, limiting the spending power of its customers and setting us up for a contracting domestic market.
This is businesspeople pursuing their self-interest? This is economic rationalists being rational?
I don’t think so.

Whoo-hoo! One small step on the road away from the current madness of humans crushed under the wheel of “the economy” – and towards making “the economy” work for humans.

Pucker up, Bearded one…