Baby Bonus Young Mums

It has been under consideration for some time but it’s only now that the Federal Government has announced formal changes to the baby bonus. Instead of paying all new mums the $4,000 baby bonus in a lump sum, mums under the age of 18 will now receive their payments on a fortnightly basis. News reports aired on ABC radio emphasized that the reason for this is so that young Aboriginal mothers don’t misspend the cash. Strangely, the report I heard on Triple J radio made a point of mentioning the need to deter young Aboriginal mums from purchasing second-hand four-wheel drives.

When I went for my baby’s first health centre check-up, the health nurse made a point of mentioning the baby bonus, which was then $3,000. I’m still not sure how it was really relevant to my baby’s check up but she was insistent that the baby bonus resulted in more teenage pregnancies. She went on to say that young mums have no idea about money, that they think $3,000 is a lot, and go off and buy brand-new strollers and toy accessories.

At the time I thought the nurse was extremely judgmental and discriminatory. I know for myself that much of what I had for my baby was given to me in the form of gifts. I also know that young mums probably have a very good idea of how far money goes, or doesn’t go. As a uni student, I had to be extremely careful with my money so I could pay the bills and rent in my share accommodation. I’m probably more frivolous with money now than I was then.

To me the changes to the baby bonus coming out reek of discrimination against young mums. If the changes are to be made to being fortnightly payments, why shouldn’t this be for all parents? Or if no change is to be made, why shouldn’t it be across the board?

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