International Catholic approval for Costello baby patriotism
Some Catholic websites, including that of Mother Angelica's Eternal Word Television Network, have reported approvingly Australian Federal Treasurer Peter Costello's Budget night exhortation to Australians to produce more babies as a patriotic duty.
"If you can have children, it is a good thing to do," he told reporters, "one for your husband and one for your wife and one for the country."
The direction was related to financial incentives in Tuesday's Budget for Australians to have larger families in order to boost the country's economic prosperity. A Business Council of Australia paper had said the impact of the ageing of the population would double the dependency ratio from six people of working age for every retiree in 1990 to just three working age people per retiree by 2028.
The Budget received a mixed reception from the Church within Australia. The St Vincent de Paul Society yesterday accused the Government of stashing away a massive Budget surplus for the election while millions of ordinary Australians had been deprived of the services and benefits they should have received on a regular ongoing basis.
On Tuesday evening, Catholic Welfare Australia chair Fr Joe Caddy said the Government's choice to offer an election year Federal Budget tax break only to high income earners showed that "the votes of the poor are not worth buying".
But Francis Sullivan of Catholic Health Australia described the Budget's $2.2 billion over five years Aged Care Package as "welcome relief to a sector facing a crisis".
AUSTRALIA: HAVE BABIES AS SERVICE TO COUNTRY (EWTN/Lifesite/CWN 13/5/04)
CYNICAL BUDGET SPAWNS AUSSIE UNDERCLASS, SAYS CHARITY (St Vincent de Paul Society 13/5/04)
Budget non-event for poor but Govt delivers on aged care (CathNews 12/5/04)
Australia: Have babies as service to country (Catholic World News 13/5/04)
Federal Government Budget site
Schools to get lesson in values (The Age 12/5/04)
$2.2 billion for aged-care system (The Age 12/5/04)
$19bn to win family vote (The Age 12/5/04)
Vinnies' Budget plea to Costello to think of poor (CathNews 11/5/04)
Tax Cuts: WMDs Target Disadvantaged (St Vincent de Paul Society 2/5/04)Catholic Welfare says Treasurer Costello should resist tax cut temptation (CathNews 7/5/04)
Nursing home boost criticised as too little (Sydney Morning Herald 8/5/04)
Catholic Health says surplus could end Medicare pain for Australia's poor (CathNews 4/5/04)
Military archbishop, chaplains criticize abuse of Iraqi prisoners (Catholic News Service 7/5/04)
Tax Cuts Slicing Aged Care Funding Package (Catholic Health Australia 4/5/04)
Catholic office says Vic Budget will help poor (CathNews 5/5/04)
Australian Government Budget 2004-05
ABC Federal Budget site
Families to benefit in big Budget spend (ABC 11/4/04)
14 May 2004