We are in the middle of a global pandemic and an economic meltdown.
The only thing that needs to happen next is for an asteroid to come thudding to earth.
No: it is not a nuclear crisis between The US and Iran. SARS was so 2003 and Ebola so 2014.
We are in the age of COVID-19.
An invisible microbe that is causing global mayhem, airport closures, inter-state border blockades, over-zealous home workouts in isolation, a stock piling of toilet paper and bootleg versions of hand sanitiser on the black market.
In Australia, there has been the daily ramping up of strict measures to deal with not only the health-related impacts of the Corona virus.
These include social distancing, homeschooling, remote working, a ban on gatherings of more than 2 people, but weddings with 5 or less people make the cut. Not to mention the closure of pubs, bars,beaches (!), restaurants, libraries, concerts, festivals, and just everything that makes life pleasurable, social and fun .
Yet there are new measures in place to tackle the economic burden caused by Corona.
Of most interest to working parents is the Prime Minister’s announcement on 2nd April of free childcare for all working and non-working parents through the next 3 months at least.
This is an incredible announcement, given the decades- long lobbying efforts on the part of feminists and working parents for free or heavily subsidised childcare.
Except that it takes a global pandemic with thousands of deaths, the implosion of our health system, social isolation and an impending recession to see this government release funds to provide for free childcare (no fees) to be paid to child care providers.
The irony is that many kids were being taken OUT of childcare centres and being kept at home precisely because as soon as working parents were forced to work remotely, or lost their jobs, they could not afford to keep their kids in childcare. Or figured it made no sense to do so when BOTH parents were at home.
Last year I wrote a feature for Future Women on Germany’s move to provide free childcare .
I could not have imagined that fast forward twelve months, the same would happen in Australia albeit under very different circumstances.
I would love to hear your views on free child care.
Does it exist in the country where you live?
Share your views, leave a comment!