Introduction to the Gender Lens on the 2022 Election Budget
Since 2014 NFAW has undertaken an in-depth analysis of the Budget papers through a Gender Lens. In 2021 the Government reintroduced a Women’s Budget Statement, but our analysis looks behind this year’s document to separate the facts from the spin; new money from reannouncements; to see what is actually being done to respond to the needs of women.
This year our project has taken a different shape as the Budget has been delivered in an election environment. We know that at the 2019 election the Coalition attracted the lowest proportion of women’s votes since the Australian Election Study began examining voter behaviour in 1987.
Earlier this year, when the timing of the election was unclear, we prepared a set of papers on selected issues that matter to women and their economic security: Employment Reform; Welfare Reform; Tax and Superannuation Reform; Integrity, Gender and the Just Use of Power; Climate Change and Housing and Homelessness.
Our budget analysis has been framed around these core issues. But what we can say, after reviewing the budget document as a whole, is that it is short-sighted with little life beyond the election. This year the Budget Papers are particularly opaque, with important tables missing and programs renamed – as if to deliberately avoid external scrutiny.
There is no structural reform – a missed opportunity as the economy recovers from COVID. Once again, social infrastructure that can increase women’s workforce participation and working conditions in feminised occupations has been ignored in favour of hard infrastructure that can employ tradies in favoured electorates.
This analysis has been compiled based on information available to 1 April 2022. Both parties have withheld details of their policies to announce during the election campaign. We hope that these detailed policies take account of the effects of those policies on women and girls.
Professor Helen Hodgson
Chair Social Policy Committee
Marie Coleman AO PSM
Advisor to Social Policy Committee
Employment (Care Sector)
Climate Change and Disaster Management
Housing and Homelessness
Integrity, Gender and the Just Use of Power
Tax and Superannuation Reform
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Authorised by the National Foundation for Australian Women, Canberra: President Ms Jane Madden.