House debates

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Questions without Notice

Workplace Relations

2:57 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations. I refer to his earlier answer where, in referring to the bill before the parliament, he said, 'It ensures that wages will increase.' Which clause does that?

2:58 pm

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

A variety of clauses ensure changed circumstances that will lead to greater jobs growth and greater wage growth. Let's go through them. If you have penalties to stamp out wage theft, people will get more money because they get their wages back. If they have a small claims tribunal to get back their wages, they have more money because they get their wages back. If we encourage enterprise bargaining and enterprise agreements where people, on average, get paid much more than they do on awards, and we move people from awards to enterprise agreements, then they get paid more money. If you are a part-time worker at the moment who is not being given extra shifts because the employer can't do that under the current prescriptive arrangements in your award, and you get extra shifts, guess what? Your wages go up. You can go through a whole range of provisions in this bill, and what you will see is that they are designed to increase jobs growth, increase wage growth and ensure people actually get remunerated according to the terms of their agreements and have a proper mechanism of recourse if that doesn't happen.

All of these things that ensure that people have better conditions and better wages, you now oppose. You now oppose provisions that, for the first ever time, ensure a consistent, strong pathway from casual employment to permanent employment. How many times have members of this House and people outside heard about members opposite bemoaning casualisation? They are finally presented with the firm, consistent pathway for a casual employee to become a permanent employee, and what is their answer to that? Their answer to that is to consider it collateral damage in some global strategic move that they've got on to oppose entirely a bill with clauses that help casual employees and that help permanent part-time employees. But, somehow, they think global opposition will help the one job they're trying to save, which is that of the Leader of the Opposition.