A Labor MP has called for the Government to reconsider the plan to offer maternity payments to pregnant women after the death of a pregnant woman in a Perth park.
The WA Labor MP for North Fremantle, Sam Dastyari, has criticised the proposal to give pregnant women up to $200 a week for three months of paid work, after the body of a woman in the Perth CBD was found dead on a grass verge with a broken arm.
“I think it is dangerous for women and families, I think it’s really dangerous,” Mr Dastyaris told ABC Radio Perth.
He said he supported the scheme in principle but that the Government should reconsider its approach.
“I have been very open about my concern about this,” he said.
Ms Dastyars claim that a number of women had been sexually assaulted in the park before the death in May of 19-year-old Sydney resident Karla Thomas, whose body was found with a ligature around her neck.
She had been walking with a friend when she was attacked.
Mr Dastyaries wife, Fiona, was the victim of sexual assault as a teenager.
In a statement, Ms Dastyarians office said: “I have spoken to Fiona and her family and have been reassured that she has been cooperative with the investigation and that the matter is now closed.”
Ms Thomas’s family said they did not know the details of the allegations against her, but said the family was supportive of her.
Labor MP for Fremantle and North Frementon, Ms Pauline Dastid, said the proposal was “completely unacceptable”.
“We need to do everything we can to help families deal with this tragedy, not to be punitive,” she said.
“If they don’t want to do that, we need to give them the money they need.”
“This is a tragic situation and we have to do all we can, particularly those who have experienced this.”
Mr Abbott also weighed in on the issue, saying that he was “deeply saddened” by the death.
“[Karla Thomas] was the sweetest person you could ever meet,” he told reporters.
“‘Boys don’t cry’ isn’t something you want to hear from anyone, but it is something that needs to be said.”
Labor has previously said it would not pay for the scheme, although Mr Dastids office said he would be willing to consider the option.
“We are currently reviewing all the options and we will be in touch with the Opposition as we go forward,” Mr Abbott’s office said.
“It would be a shame to see the scheme die just because the Government has made a mistake.”
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