House debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Questions without Notice

Workplace Relations

2:55 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister admit that real Australian workers are being paid less than their colleagues for doing the same job simply because they work for a labour hire firm? Does he agree this is a real problem which is causing inequality and depressing wages, or does he agree with his minister and the statement he made yesterday that it is a 'made-up issue'?

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

Australians working right across the country are working under the rules and the laws put together under the Fair Work Act. You know who put those laws and rules together? The Labor Party. The Labor Party put those rules and laws together. When they wrote those laws, the number of people who were employed through labour hire was the same as it is now. It was exactly the same. There has been no real change when it comes to those issues over the course of that time. There are many different ways people are now being employed in the Australian economy, as there used to be, and it's important that we have the dynamism in our economy to give people those many different options and choices about how they wish to engage in the Australian economy. We want to ensure that they have those opportunities, but they need to ensure they do it in accordance with the rules of law of this country. Those rules of law, particularly when it comes to these issues, were written by those opposite. So we will continue to ensure that we enforce that rule of law when it comes to these conditions.

We want to see businesses succeeding in this country. Small and medium-sized enterprises—particularly family businesses—have gone through one of the hardest economic times they have ever had to go through since the Second World War, and certainly since the Great Depression. They're the ones workers rely on for their wages. If you've got more small businesses doing better, if you've got their taxes down, if you're getting government out of their faces so they can go ahead and employ more people—we took bills into this parliament to try and improve the opportunities. We took a bill to this parliament in the course of this term. We sat down between employers and employees. We sought to bring everybody together, we took the product of that to this place and the Labor Party voted against it. They voted against it because they wanted to use this issue as a political issue. They're all about the politics. They're not about the solution. They're all insults and no ideas.