By Kathleen Gilbert

CANBERRA, Australia, October 23, 2008 ( – Thanks to a legal loophole, Australian mothers who abort their child in late pregnancy can collect a $5,000 bonus designed to turn around the country’s plummeting birthrate, reports Australia Associated Press (AAP). 

The law allows the payment – normally reserved for mothers who successfully give birth – to be awarded on compassionate grounds to women whose baby is stillborn.  But because late-term abortions are registered as stillbirths, the “compassionate” payment is available to women who choose to abort as well.

The Australian parliament recently stated it would be “too expensive” to fix the loophole this year.  According to AAP, policy manager for the Department of Families Mark Warburton said the government would put off fixing its forms until January, despite evidence that some women routinely conceive and abort children in order to obtain the bonus money.

“There is horrific evidence given on radio by one lady who rang in and said she knows someone who has done this three times to claim the baby bonus,” Liberal senator Cory Bernardi told the parliament hearing.

On the Liberal Party website, Bernardi expressed frustration that the government is continuing to put off the fix.  Bernardi says that nothing has been done since Bernardi found the loophole in August, despite reassurances from Families Minister Jenny Macklin that they would “follow up immediately” upon any evidence that the bonus was being abused.

“When questioned about the progress of fixing the loophole, I was met with blank stares from the Centrelink representatives,” Sen. Bernardi said.

“I raised this issue with genuine concern and determination to have the loophole fixed. Now, because of the Minister’s inaction, an attempt to fix a wrong has turned into a farce.

“The Minister is now knowingly allowing the system to be abused. It is sickening and someone must step up and fix the problem immediately,” said Bernardi.


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