House debates

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Questions without Notice

Workplace Relations

2:42 pm

Photo of Emma McBrideEmma McBride (Dobell, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is for the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm the government's new workplace laws allow the Fair Work Commission to approve agreements that cut existing penalty rates and leave workers worse off under section 19?

Photo of Christian PorterChristian Porter (Pearce, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

There's a provision that Labor put into the Fair Work Act which allows, in out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, for changes and variations from awards. It's used very infrequently, and we have extended it to apply to COVID. Many of the instances where it has been used previously relate to drought and flood, and they almost exclusively relate to changes in the number of hours worked and span of hours. So, again, your characterisation of the provision that we have used to extend the provision that you instituted in the act is actually wrong.