House debates

Thursday, 30 November 2023

Questions without Notice


2:37 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | Hansard source

Thanks to the member for Fraser, someone who, every time he's had the chance to vote to get wages moving, has done exactly that. Yesterday the House passed a bill which will close the labour hire loophole, give casual workers a fair deal, provide minimum standards for gig workers and make wage theft a crime. We know that this government has made a difference in getting wages moving. Look at some of the impacts that are already emerging from last year's legislation. Take an argument we saw last week from David Marin-Guzman in the Financial Reviewabout 19-year-old Billabong employee Sarah Strybos. Under a decade-old enterprise agreement—to get rid of which they had to use the laws that we passed last year—until that could be changed because of our legal changes, that worker received no Saturday penalty rates or evening penalty rates, while Sunday and public holiday rates were as much as $10 an hour below the award. She was 19 years of age and had already been underpaid by more than $800. We changed the law, and she's now being properly paid.

We know this government is getting wages moving because the latest wage growth data, at four per cent, compares with the previous government's average of 2.1 per cent. We know that aged-care workers have had a 15 per cent pay rise. We know that the increases to award rates, 4.6 per cent and 5.75 per cent, are way beyond what happened under the previous government.

We know this government gets wages moving because the gender pay gap is now at its lowest level ever. The point when it was made clear that this government, if we were elected, would get wages moving was when the current Prime Minister was asked a question about the minimum wage and he answered with one word: absolutely. Does this government support higher wages for those on the minimum wage? Absolutely. Does this government support higher wages for people on awards? Absolutely. Did we support higher wages for aged-care workers? Absolutely. Have we backed higher wages for women? Absolutely. Are we about ending the labour hire rip-offs? Absolutely. Are we voting to get minimum standards for gig workers? Absolutely.

Are we working to give casual workers a fair go? Absolutely. And, unlike those opposite, will we make it a criminal offence to steal from a worker's wages? Absolutely.


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