Monday, 7 December 2020
Questions without Notice
What we're focused on is getting Australians back into jobs. If you're a worker who is not in a job, you're worse off. Our plan is to get workers who are not in jobs back into jobs. Our plan is to work with employers and employees to make sure we're getting more Australians back in those jobs.
The difference between the Labor Party and the Liberals and the Nationals is that we see the workplace as a place of co-operation, not conflict. We do not see the future of getting Australians back into jobs as seeing adversarial conflict based issues in the workplace. The package of measures that the Minister for Industrial Relations has outlined is all designed to deal with the practical issues that are preventing people getting back into jobs. There is no prouder day for a small business owner than when they create a job and put someone into a job. That's how you make Australians better off—
Thanks, Mr Speaker. The question can't have been clearer. There was zero rhetoric in it. Will the Prime Minister guarantee that no worker will be worse off as a result of his industrial relations changes? Just say yes or no.
That's exactly the point I was going to make. The question—and you just said it yourself—invited a yes or no answer. Practice makes it clear that you can't be compelled to give a yes or no answer. It's been well documented, and it's been well documented by me several times. So the problem—
Honourable members interjecting—
There are some short memories in terms of interjectors. A question like that leaves a lot of flexibility, because it really is asking for the government's approach. The Prime Minister has the call.
Our industrial relations changes are about making Australian workers better off. Our changes are about making working Australians better off by getting them in jobs and keeping them in jobs, by understanding that a job is created by a business. Eight out of 10 jobs in this country are in private businesses. They don't exist unless those mum and dad businesses are out there employing someone. I've gone around this country speaking to people, digitally or otherwise. When JobKeeper came in, when Australian business owners have talked to me about JobKeeper, they haven't said, 'Thank you for JobKeeper; it saved my business.' What they've said to me is, 'Thank you for JobKeeper, because it kept my employees in jobs.' Those businesses care deeply about the jobs of Australians. What we are doing through these changes is equipping these businesses to employ more Australians, to put more of them back in work, to make more of them better off—by ensuring they have the confidence to go and do so in a recovering economy. The path that the Leader of the Opposition has chosen to go down today is the old path of conflict. We're about solutions, not picking fights.