Showing posts with label mothers and other women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mothers and other women. Show all posts

Friday, 23 June 2017

When Labor senators play petty politics and women literally pay the price

On 19 June 2017 The Greens Senator Larissa Waters moved an amendment to the Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill 2017.

This amendment sought to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from sanitary products used by the vast majority of Australian women and girls during their reproductive years.

The Australian Parliament Senate Hansard recorded the fate of this proposed amendment of 19 June 2017 at Page 17:

The TEMPORARY CHAIR (Senator Leyonhjelm): The question is that amendments (1) to (4) on sheet 8153 be agreed to.
Question agreed to.
Senator WATERS (Queensland—Co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (11:52): I move amendment (1) on sheet 8156:
(1) Page 27 (after line 16), at the end of the Bill, add:
Schedule 2—Exemptions
A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 1 At the end of Subdivision 38-B
38-65 Sanitary products
A supply of *sanitary products is GST-free.
2 Section 195-1
Insert: sanitary products means tampons, sanitary pads, panty liners and similar items.
3 Application
The amendments made to the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 by this Schedule apply in relation to supplies made on or after 1 July 2017

The CHAIR: The question is that amendment (1) on sheet 8156 as moved by Senator Waters be agreed to. The committee divided. [12:07] (The Chair—Senator Lines)

Ayes ......................15
Noes ......................33

Di Natale, R
Gichuhi, LM
Griff, S
Hanson-Young, SC
Hinch, D
Kakoschke-Moore, S
Leyonhjelm, DE
Ludlam, S
McKim, NJ
Rhiannon, L
Rice, J
Siewert, R (teller)
Waters, LJ
Whish-Wilson, PS
Xenophon, N

Bernardi, C
Burston, B
Bushby, DC
Chisholm, A
Cormann, M
Dodson, P
Duniam, J
Farrell, D
Fawcett, DJ
Fierravanti-Wells, C
Gallagher, KR
Georgiou, P
Hanson, P
Hume, J
Ketter, CR
Kitching, K
Lines, S
McAllister, J (teller)
McCarthy, M
McGrath, J
McKenzie, B
Moore, CM
Nash, F
Payne, MA
Pratt, LC
Reynolds, L
Roberts, M
Ryan, SM
Sinodinos, A
Smith, D
Sterle, G
Watt, M
Williams, JR

Question negatived.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.

Noticeably absent for this particular vote were all 26 Labor senators.

The House of Representatives passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (GST Low Value Goods) Bill 2017 (with the four other Senate amendments agreed to) on 21 June 2017.

Females of all ages who still have their menses will continue to pay GST on the sanitary items necessary for their general health and wellbeing.

I'll remember to 'thank' those missing Labor senators at the ballot box, along with those senators who voted Senator Waters' amendment down.

In my case that means not voting for NSW senators Sam Dastyari, Jenny McAllistar, Deborah O'Neill and Doug Cameron (all Labor), along with Brian Burston (One Nation), Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Fiona Nash, Marise Payne  and Arthur Sinodinos (Liberal) & John Williams (Nationals).

Monday, 22 May 2017

A gender lens on the 2017-18 Budget exposes its class-ridden, misogynistic bottom line

In 2014 the Abbott Government ceased the thirty year-old federal government practice of releasing a Women's Budget Statement.

The National Foundation for Australian Women stepped in to fill the gap since then and this month has released its 97-page review of the Turnbull Government’s 2017-18 Budget, Gender lens on the Budget.

This budget review contains little that is unequivocally positive for women and summarises the bad news thus:

Women are overrepresented at lower income levels. Changes to government benefits and increases in taxes have a disproportionate effect on women. ATO statistics recently released show the median income for women was $47,125 in 2014-15, while for men the amount was $61,711.
Effective marginal taxation rates (EMTRs) measure the proportion of each extra dollar of earnings that is lost to both income tax increases and decreases in government benefits (for example, Parenting Payment, Family Tax Benefit, the Age Pension etc).
The increase in the Medicare Levy will affect those on incomes greater than $21,644. For those with eligible children, FTB A payment rates are frozen for two years. Those who pay child care fees will continue to face high EMTRs. University graduates will start repaying loans when they reach income levels of $42,000 per year.
These changes hit those on earning well below the average wage, and are particularly harsh for women. Combined, these changes could lead to effective marginal tax rates of possibly 100% or higher for some women, particularly as Family Tax Benefit Part A begins to decrease at $51,903. Graduates caught between these policies will experience considerable financial stress; graduates earning $51,000, most of whom are likely to be women, will have less disposable income than someone earning $32,000. Changes to penalty rates may also have a significant impact on some graduates if they are extended to the aged and health care sectors as well as the childcare sector.
The point to note is not just the harsh effects on low income women but also that it is not discussed in the Budget papers, with no modelling of the exact EMTRs for different groups of women provided. The way to improve incomes for most women is not to cut taxes but through improved welfare, social investments and increased wages (for example, by taking real action against the spread of precarious low paid work or by opposing cuts to penalty rates). Tax cuts, particularly those for top income earners, lower revenue at a time when investment is needed in public services and social infrastructure. ATO statistics show that in 2013-14 only 17% of women had taxable incomes greater than $80,000. This tax reduction has led to an increase in gender inequality.
Welfare payments to the unemployed are a small part of total welfare outlays. However, as ACOSS points out, the 2014 demonising of recipients continues. Many groups argue for an increase in the value of the Newstart payment, and an increase in Commonwealth rent assistance. What we have instead is ineffectual drug testing, harsh compliance penalties and expanded income management. However, for sole parents there will be a new verification process that is especially demeaning.
There were no measures designed to specifically address gender inequality and the related entrenched financial vulnerability of women….
This Budget fails to address major challenges facing young women in Australia, and has no measures to improve financial, job or housing security for this cohort.
Youth unemployment is at 13.5% of the youth labour force, which is the highest rate in 40 years, and many young people are underemployed (18% of young people in the labour force) (Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2017, 3). Women aged 20-24 have a much higher rate of underemployment than men of the same age (Burgess, 2017). The job market is increasingly casualised and insecure, and as young people have little or no working experience they are more likely than other groups to work in nonpermanent jobs (Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2017, 4). There is nothing in this Budget to address the unemployment or underemployment that young people experience, and which have implications for the economic security of young women…..
The enhanced residency requirements for claimants of the Age Pension and the Disability Support Pension (DSP) from 1 July 2018 will require claimants to have 15 years of continuous Australian residence before being eligible to receive the Age Pension or DSP unless they have:
* 10 years’ continuous Australian residence, with five years of this residence being during their working life (16 years to Age Pension age); or
* 10 years’ continuous Australian residence, without having received an activity tested income support payment for a cumulative period of five years.
Approximately 40% of older Australians are born overseas and the majority of these are women (AIHW 2007, 4). Within CALD communities, as with the broader population, women are more likely to require age pension support because they have less superannuation (from lower paid jobs and from fewer years working). Women are therefore more vulnerable to economic insecurity and should not be punished in old age for being migrants or for not being able to meet the 5 cumulative years of no income support payments during the requisite 15 years’ continuous residency. CALD women are more likely to experience periods of income support due to their family care responsibilities and should not be punished for this.  [my yellow/red highlighting]

Monday, 20 February 2017

Groundhog Day for women's services in Australia

Since 2013 the Abbott & Turnbull Federal Governments have announced up to $1b in savings measures that are cutting community services for the people in greatest need in Australia:

*$500 million over five years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under The Hon Tony Abbott and Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion)
*$270 million over four years from social services and a freeze on indexation of sector funding (Department of Social Services under The Hon Scott Morrison)
*$15 million from the community legal sector, which remains in place for sector support and capacity, including legal aid, community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services, and women’s family violence legal and prevention services (Attorney General’s Department under Senator the Hon George Brandis)
*Foreshadowed cuts of $197 million over three years from health (Department of Health under The Hon Sussan Ley) [Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), 13 January 2017]

The Saturday Paper, excerpt from Federal cuts to family violence reform funding, 11 February 2017:

Just before Christmas, the Women’s Legal Service Victoria was notified that $200,000 of federal funding would be shaved. The service offers pro bono advice, representation and mediation for more than 3000 women each year, women who would otherwise not be able to afford it. They consider themselves a front-line service. “We can’t keep up with demand currently,” Joanna Fletcher tells me. “And this is before the cuts.”
Fletcher is the service’s chief executive. She is both angry and incredulous. “We’re already turning people away,” she says. “And it’s sad, because our service model is about providing service to those with barriers to justice. We’re now having to make decisions about what to cut, about what the least worst options are. We are incredibly frustrated on behalf of our clients. This is very short-sighted. We know from experience that early legal assistance is vital, for the protection of women but also for quicker outcomes.”
It’s a point made by all the family lawyers I spoke to for this piece: those in the legal system without representation spend a lot more time there. As well as diminishing a woman’s protection, it is ultimately costlier, and adds to procedural logjams. “There’s incredible commitment at the state level here,” Fletcher says, “but the apparent federal commitment hasn’t been followed by a financial commitment.” 
Fletcher’s Queensland counterparts have yet to be notified whether their funding will also be cut. They will be told at the end of March, but they are already preparing themselves for the worst. There is the same anger and incredulity there. “We’re absolutely alarmed,” says Angela Lynch, the acting co-ordinator of the Women’s Legal Service Queensland. “A 30 per cent cut would be catastrophic. Currently, we can only answer 50 per cent of incoming calls on our legal hotline. This will only worsen with the cuts. So, that’s much fewer women receiving advice and assistance. We’re a core service, and yet as it is we can’t properly service all women because we’re under-resourced. This is about women’s safety. Their lives.”
She said cuts “don’t make any sense when there’s a national plan, and the PM has made announcements. It makes no sense. We are a front-line service. And we do great work, and we push our money further than any other community service that I can think of. A third of our income is raised by fundraising or corporate partnerships. Up here in Queensland, family violence is still something that’s publicly discussed. There’s the rollout here of the Not Now, Not Ever recommendations. There was the horrific reminder of its importance last week, with the murder-suicide of Teresa Bradford. There’s momentum. But I cannot understand these federal cuts.”
Teresa Bradford was killed by her estranged husband on the Gold Coast. He was out on bail on other domestic violence charges. After Bradford’s death, the Women’s Legal Service Queensland hotline experienced a 50 per cent increase in calls, a spike common in the aftermath of atrocities. “We’re already chronically underfunded,” Lynch says. “When you’re cutting front-line services, you have to ask: is the federal government really committed to reducing family violence? Now we wait. We’ll know on the 31st of March. But we’ve survived for more than 30 years. We’ll fight on.” 
Marlene Ebejer is the principal lawyer of Ebejer and Associates, and a family law specialist. She tells me the cuts will have “diabolical” consequences. “These cuts won’t save money,” she says. “Cutting funding for women’s services cuts legal mediations, which stops things getting to court. This is an atrocious outcome. Already the courts can’t cope. There are massive delays, and delays are extended by those who aren’t represented.” 
Ebejer speaks bluntly, and passionately, about the need for legal reform but tells me that to argue for change is to experience groundhog day. Every lawyer she knows has made the same points for years: in a system where intervention orders fall under the state’s authority, and family law courts are federal, there needs to be improved cross-jurisdictional coherence. She also argues for increased mediation, to decrease the number of matters before court, and for the proper triaging of matters.
Herald Sun, 15 January 2017:
DOMESTIC violence victims and their children in regional NSW could be put at greater risk when federal government funding cuts to legal aid services begin to kick in later this year.
The cuts will also force a legal centre in southern Sydney to axe a program providing free legal advice to international students and immigrants being ripped off by their employers.
The services are among more than 15 centres across the state being forced to axe programs for vulnerable people after the funding cuts take ­affect in July this year.
Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre managing principal solicitor Arlia Fleming said the 19 per cent funding cut at her Katoomba centre would force a massive reduction in services to Bathurst and ­Lithgow.
“Currently we go to Lithgow and Bathurst on a weekly basis to give legal advice and we may have to reduce that to a monthly outreach,” Ms Fleming said.
“The most common cases we deal with are around family and domestic violence issues and this could mean children are left in unsafe situations ­because people feel like they have to hand over their children to someone who has been perpetrating violence.”……
Destroy the Joint, 19 February 2017:

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Australian Prime Minister and Minister for Women Tony Abbott's double dipping lie is an insult to working women

On Mother’s Day 2015 the Abbott Government announced that it would be removing all or part of federal paid parental scheme payments to an estimated 79,000 working women who take maternity leave from 1 July 2016 onwards.

Under federal legislation these women had an expectation of receiving up to $11,500 for maternity leave of 18 weeks duration.

In the interview with Laurie Oakes the Treasurer Joe Hockey used the word double-dipping to describe the lawful right of working women to access both the federal paid parental leave scheme and that of their employer if there was one in place:

At the moment people can claim parental leave payments from both the government and their employers so they are effectively double dipping. We’re going to stop that. You can’t double dip, you can’t get both parental leave pay from your employer and from taxpayers.

The Double Dipping Lie Was Repeated In The 2015-16 Budget Papers Two Days Later

This is an extract from the consolidated Budget Measures Budget Paper No. 2 2015-16:

Removing Double-Dipping from Parental Leave Pay

The Government will achieve savings of $967.7 million over four years by removing the ability for individuals to double dip when applying for the existing Parental Leave Pay (PLP) scheme, from 1 July 2016. Currently individuals are able to access Government assistance in the form of PLP, in addition to any employer-provided parental leave entitlements. The Government will remove the ability for individuals to double dip, by taking payments from both their employer and the Government.

The Truth About The Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme

This is an extract from the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Act 2010:
Division 1A—Object of this Act
             (1)  The object of this Act is to provide financial support to primary carers (mainly birth mothers) of newborn and newly adopted children, in order to:
                     (a)  allow those carers to take time off work to care for the child after the child’s birth or adoption; and
                     (b)  enhance the health and development of birth mothers and children; and
                     (c)  encourage women to continue to participate in the workforce; and
                     (d)  promote equality between men and women, and the balance between work and family life.
             (2)  Generally, the financial support is provided only to primary carers who have a regular connection to the workforce.
             (3)  The financial support provided by this Act is intended to complement and supplement existing entitlements to paid or unpaid leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child. [my red bolding]

It is noticeable that the main budget decision-makers in 2015, all six members of the federal Expenditure Review Committee, are privileged white males living off the public purse - with one receiving a salary higher than that of the U.S. president and another being a millionaire many times over.

It is also worth noting that this scaling back of the federal paid parental leave scheme was not put to voters at the last general election.


It would seem that despite their attempts to vilify working mothers, Coalition MPs not only voted with the then Labor Government to introduce paid parental leave - some of their wives/partners accessed both the government and their employer's leave schemes.

ABC News 14 May2015:

Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed his wife claimed paid parental leave payments from her employer and the Government, as Labor steps up its attacks on the Coalition's plan to stop women benefiting from two schemes.

"We accessed both schemes as my wife was entitled to and there are many people I'm sure on both sides of the House who have done that," Mr Frydenberg told Sky News.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who is also on cabinet's Expenditure Review Committee, has deflected questions about whether his wife claimed money from two schemes.

Earlier today Senator Cormann described the Coalition's push to stop women getting two payments as a "fairness measure" and defended the Government calling it "double dipping".

But this afternoon, under questioning from Labor senator Sam Dastyari, Senator Cormann did not deny his wife received benefits from her employer and the Government PPL scheme.

"Let me confirm for him that I have indeed had a little child in 2013 and that our family of course worked within a system that was available at the time like any other family and that my family will work within whatever system is in place in the future," Senator Cormann said.

The Australian 17 June 2010:

AUSTRALIA has its first universal paid parental leave scheme, catching up with the rest of the developed world, after the Coalition voted with the Rudd government to back the historic legislation.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Abbott's paid parental leave scheme seen as way to outbreed women from the "low socioeconomic welfare groups"

Snapshot of the thoughts of Katrina Ludewig, a Brisbane-based sales executive at Signet Pty Ltd, writing on the Liberal Party Facebook page (Hat tip to theantibogan).

Ms. Ludewig appears to be engaged to a manager at Baker’s Delight in Tamworth NSW.

She has a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) from Southern Cross University and, ‘likes’ Tony Abbott’s official Facebook election campaign page.

This is Abbott's ‘woman of calibre’ in person:

And this is the man she wants to breed with:

I hope that Signet, Baker’s Delight and Southern Cross University are enjoying all the publicity Ms. Ludewig is sending their way.

Friday, 9 August 2013

What on earth is Abbott doing?

This is Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott allegedly aiming a kiss at a baby and missing the mark this week.

On seeing the photograph I immediately recalled this report in the First Nations Telegraph earlier this year:

On March 6 the mulit-award-winning author was having a working breakfast with two work colleagues at Borcellis Café in Adelaide when she alleged the Federal Opposition Leader approached her table and without making eye contact inappropriately rubbed his finger up and down her bare arm. 

You be the judge.

* Photograph from The Sydney Morning Herald

Monday, 13 May 2013

Yes siree! Tony Abbott just doesn't get women

“TONY Abbott's expensive paid parental leave scheme is "all about" encouraging women of "calibre" to have children, the Opposition Leader said today.” { 7th May 2013}

Maude up the Street is hoping mad over Teh Rabbit’s latest bon mot. She thinks that the idea that women who stay at home to raise their children or working women who earn $1,200 a week (before tax) or less have no calibre shows him up as a budding eugenicist. Maude wonders if his father’s family - hailing from England as it does – were fans of British Eugenics Society before they bailed out of that country in the early days of World War Two.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Oh, Carole, I am such a fool or Click send and lose your job

One can’t help feeling that this particular LNP staffer is no loss to both the Queensland and Federal political systems. Senator Ian MacDonald must have cringed when Crikey published this on 17 April 2012:

Dear Carole,
I have just read your pathetic piece in the Courier-Mail. While I generally ignore the bleatings of sourpusses like you, your piece was so depressing and negative that I was moved to find your email address and simply say: Get a life.
The world would be a better place if people like you stood for political preselection and learned the hard way that ability is not measured by chromosomes.
Question: Why don’t you have a go? Answer: Like most women, you probably don’t possess the necessary drive, determination and decisiveness that men innately possess. It’s not a personal criticism; it’s a fact of biology. Where, for example, are the great female explorers, mountaineers, warriors, inventors, chefs? Blokes dominate most areas of human endeavour because Nature equipped them with something called testosterone. That was part of Nature’s grand design to enable men to be stronger, more fearless and more determined than their sisters. Sorry, Carole, fact not fiction.
Women occupy a special but different place in the world to that of men. I’ve been married to a wonderful woman - a proud mother of four successful adult children, not a nuclear physicist - for nearly 40 years. For yeras [sic] I’ve heard women like you ask my wife at cocktail parties, functions and dinner parties: And what do you do? The clear inference in the pregnant silence that follows my wife’s answer that she is a proud home-maker makes my skin crawl. Women like my wife are the life-givers, the embodiment of sacrificial love (the purest form of love), the primary keepers of the flame of civilisation that separates us from the animal world, and yet the Sisterhood frowns on them for not joining the anti-male club that you so typefy [sic].
The anti-male world of conspiracy theories in which you and the Sisterhood inhabit is the complete antithesis of the world in which positive women thrive. Women who can’t cut it in - what did you call it?, the boys’ club - can easily cover their inadequacies by claiming bias, sexism, misogyny, chauvinism etc. etc. ad infinitum. It’s so tiring to read such twaddle.
Face reality, my dear. Smell the coffee. Try to turn your sour, negative, anti-male view of the world into something more positive and productive. Demonising men may be your life’s quest but fewer and fewer people are listening.
I repeat: GET A LIFE.
Kind regards,
Max Tomlinson

Article which raised Max's ire here.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Misogynists of the World Unite! Then move to Oklahoma USA

This is the Oklahoma Senate in 2012. You will notice that it is predominately Republican and male.

So it should come as no surprise that this Senate has decided to pass bill SB1433. Thereby bringing closer the creation of the Personhood Act which establishes that The laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.

This strange bill apparently makes medical abortion or even some forms of contraception a criminal offence. While at the same time, somewhat perversely, it leaves the door open for a woman to quietly neglect her health to such a degree that she spontaneously miscarries.

On the 15 February 2012 it was passed by 34 to 8 votes.

An even stranger amendment seems to have languished without support:

In the spirit of shared responsibility in issues of reproduction, if a woman declares that she is pregnant non-consensually, the sperm donor shall be required to undergo a statutorily mandated vasectomy, shall be fined Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00), and shall also be financially responsible for the offspring of such pregnancy until the age of twenty-one (21).

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Stirrup the bitch! Why the medical experience is still a feminist issue

Because women as a group are constantly being told “You’ve come a long way”  when compared with their grandmothers, it is easy to overlook the fact that misogyny and chauvinism are still slyly woven into much of the female experience in developed countries like Australia.
So it is often only cases such as this which draw any mention in the mainstream media of the fact that the medical experience is frequently one fraught with the risk of physical and/or psychological damage for many females.
The Northern Star Rogue obstetrician faces 15 counts of abuse, malpractice by Natasha Wallace 13 December 2011
She alleged he forcefully put his hand on her vagina
and said, ''Who is the boss now?''

Read the rest here

Monday, 20 June 2011

Potted History: Australia 1952 t0 1956 - Women as Reds Under Beds

League of Women Voters of South Australia (1909 - 1979)
Alternative Names
Women's Non-Party Political Association (former name)
Women's Political Association (former name)
Originally formed in 1909 as the Women’s Political Association, its name was quickly changed to the Women’s Non-Party Political Association and then the Women’s Non-Party Association. Catherine Helen Spence spoke at the inaugural meeting and introduced the major planks of the Association which were ‘Equal Federal Marriage and Divorce Laws’, and ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’. In 1939 the Association changed its name to the League of Women Voters. This was an Australian-wide title that enabled its aims to be more widely known. The League remained politically active in these areas and was instrumental in the development of a Parliamentary Bill to enact the principle of equality for female and male parents which was passed in 1940. In later years the League developed a close relationship with the Women’s Electoral Lobby, acting as a mentor. In 1979 the League was voluntarily wound up as it was felt that the Women’s Electoral Lobby could carry on its work. Ellinor Walker gave the valedictory address.

There was a time not so long ago when standing up for women's rights and equal pay meant that Communisim was suspected by Government and ASIO.............

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Not so far from the secret wish of Tony Abbott and Fred Nile?

The Onion's video take on the Christian Right's approach to a woman's right to choose finds an echo in the Leader of the Christian Democratic Party in the NSW Upper House as quoted in The Daily Telegraph on 31 March 2011:

Mr Nile said he would raise abortion as a priority.
"I would like it to be banned, but that is like raising a red flag to a bull," he said.
"I would like to see abortion laws refined so either women will be shown an ultrasound of their foetus before the procedure, as they do in some parts of America, or they have to see a counsellor once they make the decision."

Friday, 8 October 2010

Women with the most influence?

Forbes Magazine's top ten influential women in 2010

1. Michelle Obama, First Lady

2. Irene Rosenfeld, chief executive, Kraft Foods

3. Oprah Winfrey, media mogul

4. Angela Merkel, German chancellor

5. Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state

6. Indra Nooyi, chief executive, Pepsi

7. Lady Gaga, singer

8. Gail Kelly, chief executive, Westpac

9. Beyonce Knowles, singer and fashion designer

10. Ellen DeGeneres, talk show host

That's not a real list - my mum's not on it. She could wipe the floor with Michelle O. any old day.
Mum sprang fully formed into Oz outer suburbia armed with the secret knowledge of lamb roasts, light as air scones, how to remove blue bottle stings and the exact length my pants should be at each birthday. Good onya Mum!