Coalition Senators Could Vote Down Tony Abbott's Flagship Parental Leave Policy

Several Coalition senators plan to vote against the PPL (Photo: Getty Images)

There are reportedly enough Coalition senators who oppose Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme that it could be voted down once it reaches the Upper House.

The Australian has identified the senators who could vote against the proposed legislation, which pays women their full wage for six months after they have a child, and says the Prime Minister has been told it faces defeat.

They are: Nationals senators Ron Boswell, Barry O’Sullivan and John Will­iams, and Liberal senators Dean Smith, Cory Bernardi and Ian Macdonald.

“Let’s not forget that this is a policy that we took, not to one election, but to two elections and let’s not forget that this is fundamentally a matter of justice for the women of our country, for the mothers and for the parents of our country,” Abbott said from Canada.

The Coalition needs 39 votes to pass the legislation. It has 34 seats in the current Senate, and will hold 33 after the new Senate sits from July — when Boswell retires. According to The Australian, five Coalition members failing to vote for the PPL would ensure its defeat.

The Palmer United Party is also against the scheme, and could control the balance of power in the new Senate with its bloc of four minor party senators. Independent Nick Xenophon and DLP senator John Madigan are also against it, while the nine Greens have said they will negotiate.

Women would be paid their full wage for six months, capped at $100,000, under the policy. It was scaled back in April — with the threshold reduced from $150,000 — after criticism it was too generous. Senators who oppose it say the scheme is unfair to stay-at-home mums and women in rural areas.

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