Senator David Leyonhjelm has described childcare workers’ roles as “wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other” in an interview with The Project on Tuesday night.
The Liberal Democrat has angered, well, pretty much everyone when he was asked if he would support the new $3 billion childcare reform package.
“Apart from the fact you want to make sure there aren’t any paedophiles involved, you have to have credentials these days to be a childcare worker,” he said. “A lot of women, mostly women, used to look after kids in childcare centres. And then they brought in this national quality framework and they had to go and get a ‘certificate three’ in childcare in order to continue the job they were doing — you know, wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other.
“A lot of women just quit. The ones who got certificate threes said, ‘OK, I want more pay now that I’m more qualified’. All we did was drive up the cost because of this credentialism.”
It quite rightly enraged childcare workers who felt he was disrespecting their jobs.
“MATE! You are a total tw-t if you think that's all that what we do. We don't spend thousands of dollars and hours of our time to learn how to wipe noses. Paid more? Pleaaaase, employees at Coles and Maccas get paid more than us, so shove your stupid ideologies back up you’re a-s and shut up,” one Facebook commentator wrote.
“Never have I ever felt so undervalued as an educator,” another wrote. “I’d welcome him to try and do our job for just a day ... bet he wouldn’t come back for day two.”
Jo Briskey, Executive Director of not-for-profit parents’ group, The Parent Hood, told news.com.au it was deeply offensive: “The first five years of a child’s life are absolutely critical and the people who are working and educating them deserve our admiration and respect,” Ms Briskey said.
“Comments like those made (Tuesday) night are an insult to anyone involved in the sector.
“It is unbelievably insulting to say they are nothing more than babysitters when those days are long gone.
“Research demonstrates children receiving early learning before they go to school are being set up to do better at school and in life.”
The senator stood by his remarks on Channel 7 this morning with One Nation’s Pauline Hanson chiming in that she agreed wholeheartedly agreed with his comments.
“I’m with David on this one, he’s right. He’s definitely right,” she said.