Breders Needed?

Old Sep 25th 2002, 12:01 am
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Default Breders Needed?

Sooner you lot get here the better?


FAMILY and Community Services Minister Amanda Vanstone has blamed rampant materialism for a dramatic decline in Australia's birthrate.

She said Australian families were having fewer children because they were not prepared to sacrifice their standard of living.

They also had high expectations of the lifestyle they wanted for their children.

"Some families will obviously make a choice to have less children so that they can give them more . . . like send them to a private school (or) give them the opportunity to have a year off before they go to university," Senator Vanstone said.

"The only people who can change that are ourselves - do we really want to have a new car every five or 10 years."

This materialistic urge was far more influential than any government policy such as paid maternity leave in determining the birthrate, which dipped below the so-called replacement rate in the late-1970s.

In 2000, the national birthrate was 1.75 children per woman.

"It is absolutely a factor in the sense of parents wanting to give their children more materially and in individuals wanting more," she said.

Senator Vanstone warned that new families might not be able to maintain the recent tradition of providing more for their children than their parents provided for them.

This was partly because the big financial gains derived from the entry of women into the workforce, creating double-income families, had already been won. "There's a degree to which perhaps economic growth isn't going to be as strong as it has been consistently since World War II," she said.
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