House debates

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Matters of Public Importance

Workplace Relations

4:14 pm

Photo of Rob MitchellRob Mitchell (McEwen, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Don't interrupt, because you are a silly, silly man. It's interesting, we have an assistant minister sitting there who wants to interject at a time when we're talking about protecting wages and conditions. This is a bloke who comes in and cries when someone interrupts him. So how about we treat him the same.

An honourable member: He's on 15 per cent super.

Yes, he's enjoying his 15 per cent super while he's stopping other workers in this nation getting a similar sort of thing. It's an absolute disgrace. When you sit there and look at this Liberal-National coalition, you see it's them first, them second, them last. That is all they ever think about. If they're going to sit there and say that this legislation will make pay and conditions better for workers then pull out the removal of the better off overall test. If those on the other side of the House are so confident that what they're doing is right then remove it. There's no need to have an amendment in legislation that removes the better off overall test if they're not going to touch it. The fact of the matter is that they know they're going to touch it. That is exactly what their big mates want. They want to remove it.

We heard the previous contributor to this discussion talk about heading from casual to permanent employment. I'll tell you about a real, living example of this. I'm currently going through this at the moment with constituents who have been casual for 18 months and want to go permanent. What did their employer do? The employer cut their hours. The biggest single issue we have faced in COVID has been insecure work. It is people working as security guards and cleaners and so on in quarantine hotels and the like who have had to go and earn money to pay the bills and put food on the table by doing two, three or four jobs. When those people get impacted, that puts a lot of work on the track-and-trace system. It creates far more work. Insecure workforces are the scourge of this society today.

We need to ensure that workers are given proper pay and conditions and the protections to ensure that they aren't worse off. That should be the key goal for any person who comes into this place and says that they're here for the people of Australia, because that's what is needed. Insecure work and casualisation of the workforce has done nothing but deliver more and more financial, physical and mental stress to Australian workers. It's time the government was honest with the Australian people and said what this legislation does. We've seen example after example of workers losing pay and conditions.

Mr Drum interjecting

Today—and I know you're probably asleep, but if you woke up once in a while you might find out some things—it's quite—


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