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.
Malcolm Turnbull earlier refused to back the language his frontbench colleagues Joe Hockey and Scott Morrison have used to criticise the existing paid parental leave arrangements.
On Sunday, Mr Hockey agreed with Channel Nine journalist Laurie Oakes that getting money from both schemes was "basically fraud".
The next day, Mr Morrison told Sky News being able to benefit from both schemes was "in many cases... a rort".
Mr Turnbull said he agrees with the policy change but will not back his colleagues' language.
"I don't agree that ministers have used that language," Mr Turnbull said.
"Let's not have an argument about semantics.
"I'm not using that language and I don't agree.
"I think it's very important that we always respect and show due empathy and concern and consideration for families and particularly mothers."
Government insulting working women, Shorten says
Last night Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos took a swipe at the way his party had been selling the change.
"It's not a good look to be having a go at the young mothers or new mothers of Australia," Senator Sinodinos told Sky News.
"I think some of the language has been a bit unfortunate, we could be a bit more empathetic."
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Government is insulting working women, many of whom have traded off other perks in order to secure the additional leave pay.
"If they have negotiated arrangements between them and their employer in addition, on top of the minimum $11,000 for mums, I don't think they should be insulted, they should be recognised and supported," he said.
Meanwhile, the Australian Breastfeeding Association has raised concerns the proposed changes will force mothers to go back to work earlier and has called on the Government to back down.
"Returning to work is one of the key reasons why women cease breastfeeding," chief executive Rebecca Naylor said in a statement.
"Policies that enable mothers to continue to breastfeed are an important part of achieving national breastfeeding goals."