The Australian election is coming up next month and today the opposition leader Tony Abbott revealed a new controversial maternity scheme. The Coalition’s scheme will provide mothers earning up to $150,000 with 26 weeks (6 months) of paid parental leave, at their actual wage or the national minimum wage (whichever is greater), plus superannuation (to a maximum of $75,000). Fathers will be eligible for two weeks out of the 26 weeks with the same conditions. In contrast, Labor’s parental leave scheme is paid at 18 weeks minimum wage (a maximum of $11,200). The new scheme will apply for each baby born after July 1, 2015 under an Abbott government.
Archive for Sverige vs Australia
At a petrol station close to our home they have entertainment TVs on the pumps, just in case you would get bored while you fill up your tank. They don’t have card payments on the pumps though so you have to go into the petrol station to pay, which is actually the case at most petrol stations. I think the Aussies need to get their priorities straight. I rather have card payment on the pump than a TV to entertain me the 4 minutes it takes for me to fill my tank. Sometimes Australia and their technology just seem light years away from Sweden….light years behind that is.
Ok, what I’m about to tell you might seem like a very trivial problem but it is something that is getting more and more frustrated. We brought two table lamps from Sweden and we now have them on our bedside tables. All that’s lacking are two lamp shades, something that has proven to be extremely difficult to find in Australia. We’ve been searching high and low for shades and we’ve only found VERY limited selections and nothing I like. In Sweden they’re sold in both lighting and interior design shops and all over the internet. I would have no issues finding some that I like back home but here I got nothing! How can that be? I know Swedes in general are a lot more interested in interior design than the Aussies but still….I’m seriously considering having my brother bring a pair down when they come visit. Yes, I’m that desperate!!
Something I can’t really get used to here in Australia are the different trading hours. I’m used to at least the shopping centres in Sweden being open until 8 pm all weekdays (at least in the larger cities) meaning I could easily get errands done after work. That’s not the case here. Here the normal closing time in a shopping centre is 5.30 pm meaning there is no chance at all that I can make it in time before they close. Except for the late night shopping on Thursdays and Fridays that is, when the shopping centres generally close at 9 pm. Not a big problem you might think and well maybe it isn’t but it’s definitely something I’m struggling a bit getting used to.
They’re not stupid though these Aussies, around Christmas they of course increase their trading hours. And if that isn’t enough many of the major shopping centres even have an all-night shopping (at least in Melbourne) on December 23. A good chance I guess to get that last minute Christmas shopping done though I’ve never felt the urge to go shopping at 3 am in the morning, but maybe that’s just me.
I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again. One of the hardest things I find about moving is finding a hairdresser that you like and that you feel comfortable with. Well, since it was over 4 months since I had my last haircut and the water here with all the chlorine had done nothing for my hair but make it look greenish and dull it was time - I had to find a hairdresser! By recommendation I booked myself in at Cocohoney in Seddon and I must say that I’m very happy with that. New colour and cut and I feel like me again!
Since I like to compare Sweden and Australia in anything I do here is a couple of things that are different when you go to a hairdresser in Oz. In Sweden you get offered a drink, a coffee, tea or perhaps a water. You’re offered a drink in Australia too and can choose from all of the above but even better is that you can have a glass of wine or beer if you like. I like the Australian way! Another difference is the tradition of hairdressers working late on Thursdays, the same way as you can go late night shopping on Thursdays you can also go to the hairdresser which generally are open until 9 pm on that day. In Sweden I don’t think you can find a hairdresser that’s open past 7 pm.
One thing I really, really miss about Sweden is good tasting tap water. I don’t think you really appreciate it until you don’t have it anymore. I love Swedish tap water but here it tastes like chlorine. I know it’s perfectly safe to drink it but I just can’t come to terms with the taste. It tastes slightly better when it has been refrigerated but still nowhere close to tasty Swedish water. What do you think about the Australian tap water?
A lot of workplaces in Australia has a more strict dress code than workplaces in Sweden. Some of them do allow a more casual dress code on Fridays, commonly known as Casual Fridays. We used to have Casual Fridays at my work but as of last week a new dress standard policy is in place and they’ve been removed.
I believe Sweden in general has a more casual approach to workplace dress codes (at least thats my experience). Wearing jeans to work in Sweden was not an issue at all. Jeans used to be a big no no unless on casual Friday’s at my work but with the new dresscode “smart denim” is now permitted but only provided it’s worn with dress shoes and a top or shirt “appropriate for a professional environment”. In reality the stricter dress code means you almost need two sets of clothes in your wardrobe.
The shoes are another thing that’s different. Here in Australia almost all girls in my office wear heels to work something I’m not really used to.
In Sweden it’s illegal to ride on a bicycle without a helmet, if you’re 15 years or younger that is. This results in that very few teenagers and adults wear one. That law was not in place when I was under 15 and I remember how I used to take it off after I left home or not wear it at all because it was dorky to wear a helmet I also remember a accident I had on my bike where I did hit my head and got a concussion, something that possibly could have been avoided if I wore a helmet.
I haven’t worn a bicycle helmet in around 16 years but that’s all going to change if I want to ride a push bike here in Australia because here there is also a law about wearing a helmet. The difference? The Australian law applies to EVERYONE! Australia is actually one of only two countries in the world that has an all-age mandatory bicycle helmet law. The only one who has copied Australia is our neighbor, New Zealand.
I still hate wearing a helmet and probably wouldn’t wear one if it wasn’t for the law here, even though my sensible self tells me that I probably should.
Though there is no compelling evidence that Australia’s compulsory helmet laws have reduced injury rates on a population-wide basis.
While there is evidence that wearing a helmet will provide some protection from a knock to the head, the benefit is small. Severe head injuries amongst cyclists are not particularly common, and helmets do not prevent all or even a high proportion of those that might occur, but rather provide some marginal decrease in the likelihood of injury.
The mandatory helmet law also change people’s behaviour and perception of risk. Some cyclists take more risks while riding with a helmet than they would without, while studies have shown that some motorists drive closer to helmeted cyclists, than unhelmeted ones. This tendency for individuals to react to a perceived increase in safety by taking more risk is known as risk compensation.
Are you pro or con mandatory helmet laws for everyone?
We walked around our neighborhood for the first time since we moved here last night. The Maribyrnong river is just a short walk from our place and there are nice walking tracks along there. Lots of birds as well like these swans. In Sweden the swans are white with orange beaks. In Australia they’re black with red beaks. Before I first went to Australia I didn’t even know such a thing as black swans existed.