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An Open Letter to Joe Hockey

JoeHockeyCigar Dear Joe Hockey,

I am writing to you about your announcement on Mother’s Day that you’re going to deprive 80,000 working mothers from the government funded Paid Parental Leave scheme due to their existing employer scheme. I wasn’t sure whether to address this letter to you, the Treasurer who announced this latest horror, or to the Prime Minister, who went to the last election promising a more generous PPL scheme which he has now back-flipped on, or Scott Morrison who seems to be jockeying for his own bully-boy spotlight on budget night. Maybe you can share this letter with Peta Credlin and then I’ll have everyone covered.

So apparently after the shocker of your first ‘lifter – leaner’ budget, which thankfully is lying in ruins, dead, buried, cremated, after 12 months of failure by your government to negotiate with a Senate who rightly see you as the lying, cheating, nasty, ineffective bastards that you are, you wanted budget number two to improve your political popularity. But this Mother’s Day announcement to cut PPL from women who rely on this scheme to make the whole journey of work, have baby, pay bills, keep roof over head, look after baby and eventually go back to work, successful for their family, isn’t going to make you popular. Because it’s outrageously unfair to working mothers.

Let’s look at the words you’re using to explain why women who negotiated paid maternity leave as part of their salary package with their employer, have been told they will no longer be eligible for the Paid Parental Leave scheme Labor introduced. You have managed in the last two days to get the phrase ‘double-dipping’ all the way across a compliant media who pick up little slogans like this and throw them around with glee, never questioning what these words actually mean. I looked up the origins of the phrase ‘double-dipping’ on Urban Dictionary and found that it started as a joke on Seinfeld and has come to be known as ‘a favourite behaviour of crude diners’ who are over-indulging in dipping sauce by re-plunging their chip, biscuit or vegetable stick into the dip after they’ve already taken a bite. It describes a process of gluttony and greed – the act of putting one’s pleasure in eating dip ahead of the unhygienic process of placing saliva topped food into a shared meal. And this is how you describe women who are caring for a newborn baby? You are framing mothers of newborns as greedy, untrustworthy, germ-sharing parasites? What the eff is wrong with you Joe? Do you honestly not see how incredibly offensive it is to lecture women who have taken time out of the workforce to bring up the next generation of Australians at great expense to their own careers, their sanity, their lifestyles, their financial stability and their personal relationships and to call them greedy? Sure, babies bring great joy. But they also bring great expense, particularly when a household has previously relied on the double income of both parents, often to pay mortgages in cities like Sydney that eat up more than 50% of the household budget. Let’s not forget that the PPL scheme is already means tested, so it is only available to women earning less than $150,000 a year. This is not the mega rich we’re talking about. This is middle and lower income earners who will have to re-evaluate their entire baby-making plans when they learn they’ll no longer receive the PPL, nor the Baby Bonus that was once available to all new mothers.

Now, I know how much you hate workers entitlements of any kind, and no doubt you wish we lived in an age where workers didn’t have to be paid at all. You know, it’s called slavery. But in fact Joe, my arrangements with my employer to provide me with maternity leave pay is absolutely none of your business. In fact, like most women who have paid maternity leave, I have sacrificed a higher salary because of these types of additional entitlements that are included in my salary package. Many women who you are calling ‘double-dippers’ have, like me, taken lower paid jobs than they would otherwise have in a workplace that has a paid maternity leave scheme, because they saw this scheme as making up for the lesser salary. But what you’re doing is penalising women who have negotiated in good faith with their employer, an entitlement that is part of their salary package. And you’re also dis-incentivising employers to do the right thing by working women by offering paid maternity leave. Because why would companies offer paid maternity leave if by doing so, they’re making it impossible for their female employees to receive the government funded PPL that is available to everyone else? But I think this is all part of your plan Joe. You’re transparently ugly like that. I’ll say it again. My private negotiations with my employer are absolutely none of your business and this is why your whole ‘double-dipping’ narrative is complete bullshit.

I hope you feel the full force of the political pain that this policy is going to cause you. As a woman who is currently 32 weeks pregnant and, no doubt like most expectant mothers, already anxious about the delicate balancing act I’m about to take on – a break from my career, from my salary and the journey after maternity leave back into the workforce, with child care to come and all the additional costs no one warns you about, I hope the political pain causes you the same sort of anxiety you’re causing to working mothers across the country.

Yours sincerely
Victoria Rollison


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  1. gregggo

    Can we ‘beg’ for this abysmal gov to just go away…. or we gonna have to fight all the way to their end?

  2. Kat

    Brilliant. Says everything I’d want to say. With less swearing.

    I could handle a discussion about additional means testing or some other aspect to make budget savings (not that I think as a country we r doing anywhere near enough in this area).

    But this rhetoric of double dipping, fraud and rorting is so downright offensive! Makes my blood boil. Have been angry all day 🙁

    And it’s bad policy anyway that won’t save any $ as employers will just cancel their schemes (or do workaround).

  3. DanDark

    Bravo Victoria an excellent article on how this Gov will set back women who choose to have children and keep a career going. How to go forward in this country with these backward thinking Neanderthals running the circus is going to be bloody difficult for women and girls, but we will fight on till the men get it and get it loud and clear, its the 21st century not the dark ages anymore.

  4. Sir ScotchMistery

    Dear Victoria,

    We all love a fighter and we all are.

    I would point out that with the number of words of 6 letters plus, the likelihood of any LNP shit-sandwich reading it borders on zip.

    Have a great night. Less than a year to go?


  5. Anon E Mouse

    Hockey double dips by getting more than a weeks-single-dole’s worth of living away from home allowance paid each day for living in his wife’s Canberra house.

    What a hypocrite.

  6. JohnB

    Double dipping – a neat turn of phrase from freeloading politicians !!

    Do the generous lifelong commonwealth funded pension schemes and free travel arrangements extended to many of our politicians during their political ‘retirement’ qualify as double dipping – especially when many of them take up lucrative sinecures with corporations they have quietly ‘served’ while in office?

    No doubt many politicians have private superannuation schemes and family trusts built/accumulated during their lifetime employment – by Joe Hockey’s logic, why should commonwealth retirement pension payments continue to ex politicians when many of those so called “retired” politicians are 1) not retired from the workforce; 2) are receiving generous salaries and/or superannuation payments from other private sources.

  7. Debbie Hughes

    Well said Victoria. I would love to be a fly on the wall, and would love to hear his response. However I feel that this will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes. These men who are currently in charge of running our great country, have no idea what we need as women, and they most certainly wouldn’t know how to raise a family on a single income even for a short time. I would love to see ALL pollies live on minimum wages for 6 months, live like us, pay the bills we pay, work as we do, not just office work but hard physical labour and earn what we earn. They wouldn’t be able to do it, their families would starve.

  8. Anne Daniels

    Not only does Joe get the entitlement money for living in his wife’s own house, he also rents out rooms to other pollies. What was that about double dipping Joe?

  9. Kaye Lee

    Joe isn’t the only one who is taking advantage of what could be considered “basically fraud” as he puts it, though I fail to see how accessing a scheme that you are “entitled” to can be labelled as fraud. In fact isn’t that libellous?

    The following is from 2007…..

    “The federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is reported to be using his travel allowance to pay $175 a night to cover rent when he is in Canberra where he stays at a house owned by his wife.

    Mr Turnbull told the ABC TV’s Insiders program has defended how he uses his allowance, saying every MP is entitled to the same allowance regardless of where they stay.

    “I am entitled to an amount for every night I spend in Canberra,” he said.

    “Where I stay, whether I stay in expensive accommodation, or in cheap accommodation, in my own apartment or an apartment belonging to my wife, in a hotel or a serviced flat is immaterial, you get the same amount and where you stay is of no concern to the Government.”

  10. eli nes

    stunning words, victoria! Time for the white, purple and green.
    Kaye, remember nick cherry?? The perk should be stopped but in the meantime this is earnings and should be taxed?

  11. Roswell

    Brilliant, Victoria. And congrats on the pregnancy.

  12. Judith W

    Part of the employer funded ppl scheme is a guaranteed position at the end of the leave period. Why pay a woman to look after her baby if she’s not a valued employee who will be welcomed back as soon as she is available. If employers remove their ppl package, as has been suggested elsewhere, this guarantee will go too.

  13. Jane Salmon

    Thanks for this Victoria. So thoroughly expressed and well timed. Hope the birth is fantastic.

  14. Matthew

    Unfortunately you were born a woman Victoria, imagine how much more our treasurer would value you had you been born a multi national company instead. Hockey “might” get more taxes from them.

  15. eli nes

    beauty Matthew! If Victoria was born a corporation she is treated as a person in America. As a woman has she less rights in religion, law and politics???

  16. stephentardrew

    Great post Victoria and congratulations.

  17. jimhaz

    [And you’re also dis-incentivising employers to do the right thing by working women by offering paid maternity leave]

    Other than this point I disagree. Personally I do not see that government should have anything to do with leave payments for the general public other than forced leave such as jury duty.

    They do need to fix up the disincentive problem via the industrial relations system, not by paying mat leave.
    [But what you’re doing is penalising women who have negotiated in good faith with their employer, an entitlement that is part of their salary package]

    But is that the case for 80% who would receive both. I really doubt it. Much of the double dipping apparently occurs with government employees, and for many who can negotiate salary packages they are around the means test limit.

    I do not see why some should be able to obtain both while others cannot. That is not equality.

  18. diannaart

    We all started out as little babies did we not? Well, I can vouch for myself, during my infancy, I was completely and utterly dependent upon others for survival. I believe ‘leaner’ is the current parlance.

    We started out much the same – so why do we have a government treating us more like recalcitrant serfs than governing FOR us?

    I am pretty sure Hockey was once in nappies, sucking on his thumb, waiting for his sodden, chafing clothes to be changed – would he, if he could speak then, have demanded his needs for care; crucial needs?

    Australia, we need to stop right now and take stock of what our values are, else we are in danger of deliberately harming ourselves.

  19. Kerry Seebohm

    Well said Victoria Rollison

  20. Skeet

    Well said, once again, Ms Rollison.

    “I hope the political pain causes you the same sort of anxiety you’re causing to working mothers across the country.”

    Please, please, please, don’t let Abbott off the hook here. He has chaired the budget meetings for both budgets, and is now clearly using that authority to undermine and destroy Hockey by forcing him to deliver utter shit budgets.

    Hockey will be dumped soon and all the blame sheeted home to him. Morrison will be installed as treasurer to ‘fix’ the problems Hockey ‘created’, (and then off to an early election with the full support of the braying hysterical propaganda standover routine from the Murdoch media empire, now encompassing their ABC too, sadly).

    Abbott’s blatant, shameless, and ruthless treachery and thuggery coming to the fore once again. We shouldn’t be surprised, his life history makes it abundantly clear that treachery and thuggery are all he has in his tactical arsenal. This is serious and very public workplace bullying at the very top, and sends a clear message to the community that it is acceptable to behave in that way, especially if you are a boss.

    Hockey’s real sin was continuing to fall for it, despite enduring decades of hard lessons from Abbott about his true nature. Not like Hockey needs the income, so he has no excuses for continuing to eat that rancid shit sandwich.

    No sympathy, Joe. You are a spoiled idiot and a scumbag. Suck it up, princess. Your only out now is to resign and tell the public the truth about what has been happening. Not like you owe Abbott or the party anything at this point.

    Same advice to you too, Turnbull.

    Find some integrity and spine, you pair of gutless sell outs, or get ready to have your reputations trashed by history. Assuming you give a shit about such things.

  21. Mark Needham

    Double Dippers.
    Knew a bloke, where upon leaving a motel unit, he would clean out everything consumable. Toilet paper, Tissue boxes, all toiletries, all tea and bikkie condiments etc.
    His words, I have paid for it, I am entitled to use it, therefore I am entitled to take it.
    Legally, technically correct I s’pose.

    Greed and mediocrity, is the cry of a large percentage of Australians. I am entitled, therefore. I should access!

    “It describes a process of gluttony and greed” your words Victoria, true double dippers should be nipped in the bud. Because, it is happening elsewhere, she got it, I’m entitled, I’ve paid, is no excuse to continue with more of the same.

    But far from complaining about it, the problem is that, the “snouts” themselves are in charge of the trough. Needs for change at all levels are required. As K. Packer said” If you want me to pay more tax, then change the Laws and Regulations.

    How long were Mark Latham’s ” Perks withdrawl ” in force.?

    We need to change things, but How?

  22. Anon E Mouse

    Skeet, I think you have nailed it.
    Only I reckon that Morrison will be aiming for PM. Hockey is incompetent, Abbott is a pure nasty dill that is not popular either in his party or amongst the voters. Morrison on the other hand is perfecting his ‘pleasant persona’ and is the one to watch – he is ruthless, without morals or scruples, and very hungry for power.

    Turnbull is yesterday’s hero who lost his chances.

    I forsee and early election with Morrison defeating Shorten – unless the ALP get their act together.

    If we think Abbott is bad, Morrison will be far worse and all the while Shorten is the nodding dog on the back parcel shelf of the family sedan.

  23. Skeet

    Anon E Mouse

    Morrison is no doubt as hungry for power and as ruthless as Abbott in getting and exercising it, and Abbott is no doubt well aware of all that. Which makes for an interesting dynamic.

    I think you dismiss Shorten a little quickly. He has delivered better 2PP results than any first term opposition leader I can recall (though exactly how much is due to Abbott’s own efforts is a moot point), and he has yet to be properly tested.

    Certainly agree that the time for preliminary positioning manoeuvres is over, and the time for Labor (and all anti-Abbott forces) to step up and get on with the main fight is now upon us. How well prepared Shorten and Labor are, and how ruthless Abbott & co are, is about to be revealed.

  24. Deidre Zanker

    Congrats Victoris, great letter. Morrison is a bigger danger than Abbott. Either one would destroy our society and way of life if re-elected. We have much work to do

  25. Loz

    All this government wants is to take away everything that might prove positive for this country. The idea of a company paying maternity leave plus a government paid maternity leave was to give mothers 26 weeks to be able to look after their new baby. It was considered better for mother and baby to have this bonding period. Hockey and his ignorant libellous rhetoric accusing women of double dipping and fraud is very disturbing. As for Morrison I agree with AnonMouse “he is ruthless, without morals or scruples, and very hungry for power.”
    I sometimes think we are entering into a more Orwellian world.

  26. stephentardrew

    Loz afraid to say it but we are already there.

  27. Annie B

    A brilliantly written letter / article Victoria, saying everything that needs to be said.

    To get them to see it, take it on board, and respond positively …. an impossibility.

    This Government is utterly gross, and must be outed and ousted asap.

  28. jimhaz

    [A brilliantly written letter / article Victoria, saying everything that needs to be said]

    I see it as an article motivated primarily by self interest.

  29. Matters Not

    Emma thinks the $670 billion projected debt was a made-up figure. About a $300 billion exaggeration.

    The cheek!

    One wonders whether this ‘truth’ will spread? One would hope so because Labor’s wearing that $670 billion tag which will be crucial at the next election. Emma lanced that boil but it requires constant follow up. Again. Again. Aga ..

  30. Annie B

    @jimhaz ….. Re : “I see it as an article motivated primarily by self interest.”

    A tad harsh, Jim ! …

    I think Victoria’s article was naturally and understandably promoted by a degree of what you call ‘self-interest’ in that she will be having a baby herself soon, but the general tenure of her comments on behalf of all working women with children, are absolutely correct imo.

    e.g. – – No Government has any right whatsoever, to use the private arrangements between an employer and employee as fuel and fodder for their attempt to claw back moneys to cover their own drastic mistakes over the past 18 months.

    It is not their bloody business. ( sorry – it is if the Government concerned is fascist ).

    Guess one could apply the same disgust to the proposed taxing of deposits into Bank Accounts, which I presume ( and have read ) includes wages ? And they dare to actually call / use the words …. ‘double dipping’ in the budget speech, in relation to PPL etc, when they will be ‘double dipping’ on wages ?????

    How DARE they.

  31. Steve Hampton

    Thank you for a passionate & well reasoned article Victoria.

    And congratulations on the very close-by bub!!

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