Tuesday, 2 February 2021
Questions without Notice
Can the Prime Minister confirm that the pay cuts being proposed in writing by the retailers and facilitated by his industrial relations changes will see store managers who work all night cop a pay cut of more than $10,000 a year?
Opposition members: Shame!
The Prime Minister can refer the question to the minister. The question is: how? In the way prime ministers always have. I think the point I'd make is that the Prime Minister can refer questions to other ministers and, providing that's conveyed to me, I don't need any great formality about it. I think I can tell that it's being referred. The minister has the call.
Again, the premise of the question is just completely incorrect. There is nothing in this bill that does or facilitates what the opposition spokesperson on industrial relations contends—nothing at all. What is in the bill is a range of reasonable, sensible, debated changes that will increase jobs growth in Australia and actually ensure that people have their employment relations governed under agreements that have always increased people's wages. There's one example of that that I think is pertinent, and that is with respect to that part and the provisions of the bill that seek to have enterprise agreements for a period of greater than four years for what are known as greenfield projects, our most important mining and resources projects. There are a range of people who've submitted—indeed, the member for Maribyrnong was one of them, before the last election—that having the ability to have those agreements for greater than four years—
A point of order on direct relevance, Mr Speaker. The question asks about the changes to industrial relations effecting a pay cut. The greenfields arrangements are a completely different section of the government's changes. The fact that it's part of industrial relations ought not make it relevant to this question. This question's not a general question about IR; it's about their pay cut.
Thank you. Indeed, in the question they can't point to the specific provision in the bill that does what they say it does, because it's not there. It doesn't exist. But what we can do is point to specific provisions in the bill that will ensure better, more and better paid jobs for workers, and greenfields agreements are one of those provisions. It was very interesting that the then Leader of the Opposition, before the last election, in dealing with this particular issue, had this to say:
We would look at companies undertaking these mega projects and the multiple billions of dollars, we will be competing with the rest of the world for that investment.
He also said the big companies, the constructors, need to consider amendments to the Fair Work Act which would allow companies undertaking major resource construction projects—
beyond three or four years for longer projects. In this bill are things that create more jobs and better jobs. I think what the opposition tried to say last week with their reshuffle was that what we should be looking at, as a parliament, is jobs, jobs and more jobs, and that's precisely what this bill does.
Honourable members interjecting—