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ALP blasts 'callous' violence leave claim

AAP logoAAP 11/12/2016

A senior Turnbull government minister is under fire for "callous and clueless" comments about the economic impact of paid leave for domestic violence victims.

Queensland earlier this month became the first jurisdiction to legislate paid domestic and family violence for public sector workers but the COAG meeting of leaders put off until next year a decision on a national scheme.

Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the idea was "not something that we are attracted to".

"We just believe it's another cost on our economy that will have an impact on our international competitiveness," he told Sky News on Sunday.

"It's a matter of making sure that you get the balance right and that you pursue policy settings that don't have counterproductive consequences potentially."

But when pressed on what those counterproductive consequences might entail, Senator Cormann declined to answer, instead referring queries to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.

"He's obviously confused: it's domestic violence, not domestic violence leave, that costs our economy and harms our international competitiveness," Labor family violence spokeswoman Terri Butler said.

She cited KPMG research that estimated domestic violence cost Australia $13 billion a year.

Labor wants a national right to a minimum five days of paid domestic violence leave for every worker each year.

Senator Cormann noted the Turnbull government was making the strongest investment ever into programs to counter domestic violence.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

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