PM Tony Abbott to dump paid parental leave policy
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott's signature policy, the multi-billion paid parental scheme he took to two elections, is expected to be relegated to the policy dustbin today.
After a week of speculation about his leadership, and a ministerial re-shuffle and failed "reset" at the end of last year, Mr Abbott is expected to confirm the government will not proceed with the policy today.
The Prime Minister took the policy, despite internal Coalition concerns about the cost and shape of the reform, to both the 2010 election and the 2013 election.
Mr Abbott will give a speech scheduled weeks ago to the National Press Club, after The Australian reported on the weekend the policy would be scrapped.
The astounding election turnaround for Labor in Queensland at the weekend, which could see Labor govern in its own right, has upped the pressure on the Prime Minister.
Mr Abbott's original PPL policy has been changed several times since the Coalition took office in Canberra in 2013, but has failed to gain the support of several Nationals MPs, the Senate crossbench, or many concerned business leaders.
While he had previously laid out plans that the policy would be changed to include a wider childcare package, Mr Abbott is today expected to explain what the "families package" will entail.
Reports this morning of parts of his speech show he will cite evidence from a Productivity Commission inquiry on child care, and feedback from "colleagues and mums and dads", that the focus should be on wider childcare reforms.
The unveiling of new reforms to childcare comes as public servants and Treasurer Joe Hockey are reassessing the shape of the government's priorities in the lead up to the May budget.