Monday, 11 September 2023
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. How is the Albanese Labor government delivering on its commitment to close loopholes and get wages moving? What impact has the changed approach to wages had on Australians' pay?
I thank the member for Bendigo for the question—someone who's committed to getting wages moving and committed to jobs in her area. An essential part of working for Australia is to get more people into work and to make sure they're paid more for it. Almost half a million jobs have been created under the Albanese Labor government, and around 85 per cent of those new jobs have been full-time jobs. From the analysis that's been released from Treasury today, the average increase in pay for a full-time worker is $10 a day. That's what happens when you no longer—
I'm surprised the shadow Treasurer is interjecting. On Thursday he walked out on his own speech! He just staged a walkout the moment it was time for him to speak. You've got a lot to say now, but not when it's your turn.
But that $10 a day doesn't happen by accident.
It happens as a result of a government that no longer believes that low wages should be a deliberate design feature of management of the economy. It is $10 a day more because of change of government policy; $10 a day more because of a government with a Prime Minister that was willing to argue for an extra dollar an hour for the lowest-paid in Australia; $10 a day more because of a government that was willing to front up and argue for increased pay for aged-care workers; $10 a day more from a government that was willing to reform the bargaining system, the same reforms that the shadow Treasurer opposed because he knew they would increase wages; $10 a day more from a government that banned pay secrecy clauses—pay secrecy clauses that they defended and voted to retain; $10 a day more from a government that had legislation to ban advertising a job for less than the legal minimum, and they still voted against that.
But there are many workers who this still isn't reaching: workers who it's not reaching because they are in a situation where there are loopholes that their employers are using to make sure they don't even get the minimum standards; workers in the gig economy, where there are no minimum standards at all; workers who work at places where there is an enterprise agreement in place but they don't get the enterprise agreement rate because the relevant employer is using the labour hire loophole to undercut the rate; and workers for employers who are willing to engage in wage theft, which should have been made a crime a long time ago, except they did the extraordinary thing of voting—
No, no. Sorry, Shadow Treasurer; it was the Liberal Party that voted against its own legislation in the Senate. They voted against their own legislation in the Senate. (Time expired)