Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce says his leader Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme will push up the prices of basic foodstuffs such as bread and milk.
Mr Abbott says the Coalition will introduce a new tax on big business in order to pay new parents to take time off at their current salary.
Senator Joyce has agreed the extra tax will feed into the price of goods such as bread and milk “in a fashion”.
He says that is why it is important to make sure it is only temporary.
“We’ve got to make sure as we drag the Budget from the Labor Party’s depth of debt back into surplus that we remove this tax on business,” he said.
Senator Joyce was reluctant to endorse the scheme last week because he was dealing with the floods in his home town of St George.
The Government has attacked the Coalition plan as a big tax on everything, including basic food items.
But Senator Joyce says he agrees in principle to implementing a parental leave scheme.
“If we don’t give the capacity for women to participate in the workforce, then we won’t fix up one of our major problems – that in the OECD we have one of the lowest participation rates especially for young women.”
He says Mr Abbott has every right to take the lead on issues.
“You have got to give the capacity for the leader at times to make the call, and he said that and I agree with him,” he said.
“You can’t have a sort of consultative committee every day on the front line … of a political engagement. You have got to allow the leader at times to make the call.”