House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Statements by Members

Workplace Relations

1:33 pm

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Oxley, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Yesterday the government introduced legislation that would cut workers' pay. Twenty-four hours later, from reading the media, it looks like the Minister for Industrial Relations is under pressure and is apparently in retreat. But, if he and the Prime Minister were serious, they would withdraw this bill today—this bill from the Liberal Party that cut penalty rates, the Liberal Party that has frozen superannuation and, don't forget, the Liberal Party that delivered WorkChoices. They are sitting on legislation to cut workers' pay. Last Christmas the Prime Minister fled to Hawaii and abandoned Australians in the bushfire crisis. This Christmas he has given them a gift of a pay cut. A cut in wages means three things. It means that people have less to spend to support local businesses, it places more pressure on family budgets, and it results in a slower economic recovery. So why is the Morrison government so determined to make it happen? Let's not forget that the economy is, apparently, doing so well that the government says it's time to withdraw JobKeeper, but now they say the economy is doing so badly that we need to slash wages for the exact same people who have been the heroes of this pandemic. These proposals were never raised during months of discussion with employers, unions and the government. What a Christmas present for Australians! It's clear that only an Albanese federal Labor government and every member on this side of the House can be trusted to stand up for the rights and pay of working Australians.