House debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Statements by Members

JobKeeper Payment

1:58 pm

Photo of Richard MarlesRichard Marles (Corio, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

At the beginning of this year, there were 5½ thousand workers in commercial kitchens at our airports around Australia, many of them members of the Transport Workers Union, who were making meals that would have been eaten by people here, along with the tens of thousands of others who fly on Qantas flights every year. For a long time, those kitchens were operated by a company called Q Catering. But, two years ago Q Catering was sold by Qantas to Emirates Airlines which is, in turn, owned by the government of Dubai. In the process, Q Catering became dnata. Clearly, those workers had no say in the change of ownership, but two years later, this would have a profound impact on their livelihoods, because the way the government's JobKeeper arrangements operates is to prevent workers who are employed by a company which is ultimately owned by a foreign government from receiving those payments, even though those payments would, of course, remain right here in Australia. That isn't fair. When we all met here last month, Labor was very pleased to support the JobKeeper arrangements, even though they contained flaws, because there was an important safety valve in the form of the Treasurer being able, through the stroke of his pen, to fix anomalies. This is one of those anomalies. These are workers who have been doing their jobs for years. They want to do them in the future. Today is the day for the Treasurer to do his job and give justice to dnata workers.