The Aye voters failed to pass a motion to agree to making a request that the House of Representatives amend the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010 to extend the paid parental leave scheme from 18 weeks to 26 weeks.

The amendment was introduced by Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who argued that 26 weeks (six months) is a “bare minimum” and used examples from paid parental leave schemes in Sweden, New Zealand, Finland and the UK to demonstrate this. The Senator also noted that the Coalition Opposition supported a six month scheme.

Senator Chris Evans, speaking for the Labor Government, did not support the amendment. He argued that such an extension would more than double the cost of the scheme. However, he also acknowledged that the scheme to be introduced by the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010, along with the Paid Parental Leave (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010, was “a foundational proposal”.

Liberal Party Senator Mitchell Fifield acknowledged that Senator Hanson-Young was correct in saying that 26 weeks is the Coalition Opposition’s policy. However, he said that the Coalition Opposition would not be supporting this motion because “we do not have the numbers in the House of Representatives” and that while the Labor Government’s scheme is inadequate, “it is a step in the right direction”.

The Coalition’s election victory in 2013 may see changes to paid parental leave. For example, the Coalition has maintained its policy that the scheme should be 26 weeks long. A copy of their proposed paid parental leave scheme can be found here [1.7MB].

Votes Not passed by a large majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 5 Yes 0 No
Bob Brown Tasmania Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Christine Milne Tasmania Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Australian Labor Party (68% turnout) 0 Yes 21 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Trish Crossin NT No
Chris Evans WA No
Don Farrell SA No
David Feeney Victoria No
Michael Forshaw NSW No
Mark Furner Queensland No
Annette Hurley SA No
Steve Hutchins NSW No
Kate Lundy ACT No
Gavin Marshall Victoria No
Anne McEwen SA No
Jan McLucas Queensland No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Kerry O'Brien Tasmania No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Louise Pratt WA No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Dana Wortley SA No
Mark Arbib NSW Absent
Mark Bishop WA Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Jacinta Collins Victoria Absent
Stephen Conroy Victoria Absent
John Faulkner NSW Absent
Joe Ludwig Queensland Absent
Nick Sherry Tasmania Absent
Ursula Stephens NSW Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
Alan Ferguson SA Deputy President No
Steve Fielding Victoria Family First Party No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent Absent
Liberal Party (37% turnout) 0 Yes 11 No
Judith Adams WA No
Simon Birmingham SA No
Sue Boyce Queensland No
Michaelia Cash WA No
Mathias Cormann WA No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Mary Fisher SA No
Nick Minchin SA No
Stephen Parry Tasmania No
Judith Troeth Victoria No
Russell Trood Queensland No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
Christopher Back WA Absent
Guy Barnett Tasmania Absent
Cory Bernardi SA Absent
George Brandis Queensland Absent
David Bushby Tasmania Absent
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Absent
Helen Coonan NSW Absent
Alan Eggleston WA Absent
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Absent
Bill Heffernan NSW Absent
Gary Humphries ACT Absent
David Johnston WA Absent
Helen Kroger Victoria Absent
Ian Macdonald Queensland Absent
Brett Mason Queensland Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria Absent
National Party (20% turnout) 0 Yes 1 No
John Williams NSW No
Ron Boswell Queensland Absent
Barnaby Joyce Queensland Absent
Julian McGauran Victoria Absent
Fiona Nash NSW Absent
John Hogg Queensland President Absent
Totals (53% turnout) 5 Yes – 35 No