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Govt struggles to shake off 'double-dip'

AAP logoAAP 21/11/2016 Rashida Yosufzai

The federal government has blamed media coverage of the crackdown on paid parental leave "double-dipping" to rebut Labor accusations it's been insulting new mums with the term.

But budget papers show it's a description the government uses itself.

Labor used a Freedom of Information request to determine the number of times the government had used the "offensive" label to describe parents who claimed both employer and taxpayer-funded leave entitlements.

The coalition, which wants to prevent parents from accessing both schemes, has struggled to shake off the term since it was used by former treasurer Joe Hockey in 2014.

The FOI request was rejected because it would have taken 550 pages and four days to list language such as "doubled dippers", "rorters" and "frauds" in official government correspondence, Labor said.

The opposition jumped on that as evidence of government hostility towards mothers.

"The coalition government has used so much offensive language so often about working mums that it was impossible for the FOI request to be processed," Labor families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said.

But Social Services Minister Christian Porter described Labor's attempts as a stunt, saying he'd never used the term, blaming media references of "double-dipping" to explain why the request was rejected.

"It doesn't surprise me that a puerile request of that nature has been denied because of the outrageous amount of time that it would take to look through documents that include the forwarding of articles written in the media," he told parliament on Monday.

However, the 2014 budget papers show "double-dipping" was used not once but three times to describe the policy change, including under the headline of the revenue measure.

It was also repeated in the 2015 budget.

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