House debates

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Questions without Notice

Workplace Relations

2:58 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 Prime Minister. These two payslips are from two train drivers at Pacific National's coalmine in the Bowen Basin, who do the same job. One is employed by Pacific National and one by a labour hire firm. The train driver employed by the labour hire firm is a casual but still earns $308 less every week than his colleague. Why does the Morrison government continue to protect this rort that can only drive wages down?

2:59 pm

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

We believe in a guaranteed safety net for minimum terms and conditions for employees. When it comes to labour hire specifically as a proportion of all employers, this has remained stable at about two per cent for the last decade and, indeed, longer than that. Labour hire employees have the same rights and protections as all other employees when it comes to, for instance, unfair dismissal rights, award entitlements, general protections, and work health and safety protections, just to name a few. Labour hire employees working under enterprise agreements also already have rights and entitlements above the award minimum safety net and this is the framework that those opposite created, which is the point. Under Labor's Fair Work Act, the wages and conditions payable to employees are determined by the relevant industrial instrument. There is no requirement under Labor's Fair Work Act for enterprise agreements to provide for a particular level of pay above the safety net. The arrangements that we administer are the ones that the Labor Party put in place. If that is their position, if that is what they maintain is the case—that there is some unfairness in the arrangements that are already in place—then why did they design it that way?