Tuesday, 23 November 2021
Questions without Notice
I thank the Deputy Prime Minister for referring the question to the Minister representing the Minister for Industrial Relations in this House, who is, after all, the right person to ask a question about Labor's same job, same pay bill, and Labor's policy, which, interestingly, is an amendment to the policy that was introduced in the Fair Work Act under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government.
The enterprise bargaining framework set out in that act does not require that every person in a workplace be paid exactly the same. What it instead requires, if there is to be an enterprise agreement, is that persons who are covered by that agreement are better off than they would be if they were under the award. But we've heard highly misleading claims from the Labor Party. Their explanatory memorandum for this bill says, 'There is a new business model based on a labour hire service provider that has distorted the labour market and undermined the enterprise bargaining system.' That sounds very serious, doesn't it? That sounds extremely serious. The only problem is that it's just factually wrong.
This claim that there is a growth in labour hire is not true. The statistics are very clear. The facts are that the percentage of Australians who are employed through a labour hire firm is less than two per cent and has been so for a decade. The fundamental premise of Labor's bill is absolutely misplaced. Why are they doing it? Because, of course, every one of their preselections depends upon the approval of the union bosses. So, when the union bosses click their fingers, this lot jump to attention. The fact is that just 14.3 per cent of Australians are members of a union. That's down from 40 per cent in 1992.