Australian men urged to do more housework

Australian men urged to do more housework
24th July 2006

Australian men like to portray themselves as macho, tough, beer drinkers, but their government is urging them to stick on pinnies and do the housework.

Australia's males - world-renowned for their macho pride - were told yesterday to put on their pinnies and do more housework.

The message came not from the country's Sheilas - their womenfolk - but from the government.

The idea is to get men helping with the household chores to make it easier for women to have children and so boost Australia's birth rate.

Treasurer Peter Costello, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, wants his words to reach into every home where there is only one pair of tiny feet – or none at all – to be heard pitter-pattering around.

Australia, he says, needs to have more babies. But it’s no good expecting the women to do all the work. Men need to help more around the house to make it easier for the women to get on with the task of child-rearing.

"Fathers are probably doing better (than they used to) but I think the mothers of Australia will tell you there’s room for improvement," said 48-year-old Mr Costello, a father of two.

"Dads can take more responsibility in relation to children and minding them, and I do speak from personal experience. There’s room for the dads of Australia to improve."

In a speech to announce the new census collection, Mr Costello said Australia, which has a population of 20.5 million, was well short of the average of 2.1 births needed by each mother to maintain a steady growth in a younger generation.

Although Australia is currently in the grip of a mini baby boom, with more births in 2005 than in any year since 1992 and an average of 1.8 births for each mother, more babies were needed, he said.

The number of those over 65 would double and those aged 85 would quadruple by 2042 unless the fertility rate is increased, a government study has revealed.

But Mr Costello fears more immediate problems. The country, he says, faces "social dislocation" and possible violence if it fails to boost the number of Australian-born babies.

To support his claim, he said countries where mass immigration was increasing the population, without a surge in the natural fertility rate, were suffering from social disruption.

"Increasing immigration to cover natural population decline will change the composition of our population and raise concerns about social dislocation," he said.

"There are some European countries with low birth rates and high immigration which have moved into this situation and it has caused a lot of social disruption." Australia is one of the few developed countries to record an increase in the fertility rate, helped along by policies such as a baby bonus (£1,600 for each new-born child) and extra child care all of which encourage women to have more children.

"Boosting our natural fertility rate is vital to the country’s long-term health," said Mr Costello, pointing out that a strong population growth underpinned a strong economy and even a technologically-advanced defence system.

Referring to a former Labour immigration minister’s call to "populate or perish", Mr Costello said it was time to adopt a new call to population arms and "procreate and cherish".

It is not the first time Mr Costello has urged families to produce more children. Two years ago he asked families to follow a rule of "one for mum, one for dad and one for the country."

Demographers have pointed to major problems in other countries, said Mr Costello, who pointed out that by 2050 Italy’s population was projected to fall by seven million, Japan’s by 16 million and Russia’s by 31 million.
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf

I've never used one of them there contraptions, but floor burnishers are fun. Especially the propane powered ones. Used to use a propane powered buffer at a Canadian Tire store that I cleaned for about a week.

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