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We can learn a thing or two from the communists about childcare

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A few years ago, my family benefited from the help of an excellent au pair from Germany. In the vein of Mary Poppins, she was practically perfect in every way, except for one minor fault: she had an annoying habit of musing out loud on the perceived inadequacies of Australia compared with her home country and frequently started sentences with, “In Germany ...” Cue meditation on German superiority.

It happened so often that it become a kind of joke in our family, something my husband and I still mimic with a bit of a giggle.

Labor has promised to increase the wages of privately employed early childhood educators by 20 per cent. Credit:Gabriele Charotte

I thought of this when Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan went on the ABC to warn that Labor’s proposed childcare shake-up – including subsidies that would see free childcare offered to the majority of families earning up to $69,000, higher subsidies for families on incomes up to $174,000, and a commitment to address the appallingly low wages of early years educators in this female dominated sector – was “a fast track to a socialist, if not a communist, economy".

Oh dear, just two weeks into a federal election campaign and already we’re invoking the spectre of the communist bogey man. That was fast.

In response, and the irony is not lost on me, I have this to say to Tehan: in Germany they realised decades ago that they, actually, could learn a thing or two from........

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