Anglican Church urges Government to cut baby bonus in attack on Australia's birth rate

C of E used to stand for Church of England. My late father was not a churchgoer but I remember him putting himself down -- with some satisfaction -- on forms as "C of E". These days it seems to stand for the Church of the Environment. If I were religious, I would describe it as the Devil's mockery of Christianity.

What the Bible says: "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them" (Psalm 127)

THE baby bonus should be scrapped to rein in rampant population growth, the Anglican Church said yesterday. The church's key advisory group wants the Gillard Government to get rid of incentives that increase the birth rate and also called for a cut to immigration.

In a submission to a federal population inquiry, the General Synod's public affairs commission described population growth as a taboo subject and the "elephant in the room". The commission wanted a halt to "any policy that provides an incentive to increase population, notably the baby bonus".

A church spokesman said yesterday that a recent resolution by the general synod had asked the Government to carefully consider any such incentive, "while continuing to support low-income families and sustainable immigration". It has called for increases to paid parental leave.

The resolution also called on the Government to "avoid any reliance on continuing population growth to maintain economic growth".

The $5294 baby bonus is paid to families who earn $75,000 or less for the six months after the child's birth. Last year, there were 278,000 payments nationally.

Australian Family Association spokeswoman Terri Kelleher said it would be unjust. "Our fertility rate is under replacement level, I don't think families should be discouraged," she said.

The church said the migrant intake should be cut while being more generous to refugees and family reunion applicants: "The question must be asked whether our population growth is fair to future generations of Australians. "The growing congestion of cities, destined to become worse, means time lost in commuting, more polluted suburbs, denser housing."

The spokesman said, while the church wanted the Government to carefully consider population incentives, it was not questioning the baby bonus in particular. "The public affairs commission is an advisory body which does not carry the authority of the Anglican Church," he said.

But commission chairman and former Labor MP Professor John Langmore said a resolution based on the submission was passed by the general synod. "That clearly implies scepticism about the baby bonus," he said.


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