House debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Statements by Members

United Voice

1:49 pm

Photo of Clare O'NeilClare O'Neil (Hotham, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Justice) Share this | | Hansard source

I had the great privilege recently of welcoming a team of United Voice members to our nation's parliament. I thank Kylie Grey, Trevor Rogers, Darcy Castrignano, Sajita Sitaula Aryal, Gamal Babiker and Andrew Beattie for meeting with me and for sharing their stories about their difficulty in getting a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. We get a lot of professional lobbyists in and out of this building, but I can tell the Australian people that the ones we on this side of the House listen to most are the ordinary people who come into our offices, often from far-flung parts of the country, and talk to us about the things affecting them. The team that came to Canberra are part of the 120,000 Australian workers United Voice represent. They form the backbone of our communities: our cleaners, our childcare workers, our hospitality workers and the security staff that protect us. We live in a country where inequality is increasing fast. We have an economy that's continuing to deliver strongly for the people who sit at the top of the labour market but, as our economy is growing, the standard of living for a lot of low-wage workers is going backwards. Our industrial system has always sought to level the playing field between workers and employers, and I believe we need to make sure that it's continuing to do that. One in four workers are now paid the bare legal minimum, wage growth is at its lowest since 1991 and four in 10 workers are in insecure work, so I join with United Voice in asking that Australia get a pay rise.