“I’ve always been a National Party voter,” says Geoffrey Halland, 70, a local Tenterfield barber.
He’s worked in the town known as the birthplace of Australia for 50 years, since moving from Mullumbimby on the New South Wales North Coast when he finished his hairdressing apprenticeship.
Tenterfield is in north western NSW, not far from the Queensland border.
In every election since he has been able to, he has voted for a National Party candidate. And, this time around, he supports Tony Abbott over Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
But his views on Abbott’s flagship paid parental leave scheme echo those of many voters Business Insider has spoken to in the past days.
Many Australians of an older generation, who have already raised their children, think that if they did so without such a generous handout, then why can’t others.
“I’m dead against the parental payment, the baby payment, whatever it’s called,” says Halland.
He and his wife live in the Tenterfield town centre, and together have raised six children.
“I remember when we were rearing our families we didn’t get anything, and we all survived.
“The ones today will too.”
Abbott wants to give working mums 26′ weeks parental leave at their full wage, up to a maximum annual salary of $150,000, as well as superannuation.
This would cost $5.5 billion a year, and would be partly funded by a 1.5% levy on big businesses.
“If they’re earning $150,000 a year, surely for goodness they would have money put aside [ to have a child],” says Halland of the small percentage of women who stand to receive $70,000 in payments.
“We had six children but they’re all gone [from the family home] now.”
Halland’s house in not far from where Sir Henry Parkes gave a 1899 speech which led to the federation of all Australian states in 1901.
Though while, in this historic town, the election is being followed, he concedes that the biggest issue his customers bring up is, “the weather.”
Ben Collins is on a road trip from opposition leader Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah in Sydney to prime minister Kevin Rudd’s electorate of Griffith in Brisbane ahead of the federal election on September 7. He’ll be speaking to voters and business leaders about their concerns and what they hope to see happen in the coming three years.
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