House debates

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Questions without Notice

Women's Economic Security

2:55 pm

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Today is Equal Pay Day. Will the Prime Minister adopt Labor's plan to require companies with more than 250 staff to publicly report their gender pay gap and to prohibit pay secrecy clauses that prevent some employees from disclosing their remuneration?

2:56 pm

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

I note the gender pay gap is now at 14.2 per cent. When we came to government it was 17.4 per cent—

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

It rose higher, to 18.2.

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

It rose even higher than that, as the Treasurer reminds me—to 18.2 per cent, while Labor was in government. I'm sure everyone in this House is working to achieve outcomes that ensure we close that gap. Australian women, who make up the majority of those who have lost jobs during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, have also been those who have most fully participated in the comeback, in the job creation that we saw after the COVID-19 recession of last year. The female participation rate still exceeds pre-COVID-19 levels; it is 61.4 per cent as of July 2021. One million jobs have been created since May 2020, and 54.4 per cent of those jobs have gone to women. There are 78,000 more women employed, in the most recent figures, of July 2021, than in March 2020, before the impact of COVID-19.

We have delivered record-high women's workforce participation and record-low gender pay gaps, and our economic plan—the economic plan that was set out in last year's budget, the economic recovery plan from COVID-19—continues to support getting women more opportunities to participate in the workforce. As the Women's Economic Security Statement underpinned—that budget statement included: $1.9 billion to support women's workforce participation and economic security; $1.7 billion to increase the childcare subsidy for families with two or more children aged five and under; $42.4 million over seven years, with $20.7 million over the next four years, to support nearly 600 women to pursue higher-level STEM qualifications; and $38.3 million over five years in the Women's Leadership and Development Program to boost women's employment opportunities and set Australian women up for future jobs. And we are removing the $450-a-month threshold for the superannuation guarantee, at a cost of $31.5 million.

Our government continues to see more women realising their economic opportunities in this country, whether it's to secure the career they are seeking or to have the choices that they want to have in this country and haven't had in the past, and securing those opportunities for them and their future. But all of it is underpinned by something very important—that is, the economic plan that actually lifts the whole country. We know and we have seen the resilience of the Australian economy throughout this pandemic, and despite the blows of COVID— (Time expired)