House debates

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Statements by Members

Workplace Relations

1:36 pm

Photo of Joanne RyanJoanne Ryan (Lalor, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

While this government oversees the lowest wages growth in decades—and, as we heard from Senator Cormann, 'This is a deliberate feature of our economic architecture'—Alice Workman reports today:

According to the Department of Finance, as of October 1 the Prime Minister has signed off on 52 "personal staff" in his ministerial wing being paid a "salary that is above the top of the range of their classification" …

This is a cost of $1.4 million. Yet, in our electorate offices, in the public-facing place of this parliament, our hardworking electorate officers, who are inundated with people seeking support with Centrelink, NDIS and immigration issues, are earning as little as $51,000. These roles are critical in our electorates, often supporting people on their worst day.

I also note that this government has 456.9 personal staff, which is significantly higher than any federal Labor government in recent years. Let me be clear: this government is deliberately keeping wages low for the average Australian but is paying 52 of their personal staff well above award wages. Hypocrisy much! There are tens of thousands of Australians who took another cut to their penalty rates this year. This government's hypocrisy must finish. There are people doing it tough, and you have tin ears.