House debates

Tuesday, 27 February 2024

Questions without Notice

Gender Equality

2:10 pm

Photo of Michelle Ananda-RajahMichelle Ananda-Rajah (Higgins, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is the Minister representing the Minister for Women. How does publishing of the gender pay gap work alongside other reforms by the Albanese Labor government to lift women's economic equality?

Photo of Ms Catherine KingMs Catherine King (Ballarat, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Higgins for the question and her championing women's equality in this place. Of course, the Labor government is delivering on our promise to lead the way in closing the gender pay gap in Australia. Last year we passed legislation that would increase transparency and reporting for gender pay gaps, and today this data has been released. If those opposite were serious about this issue, they would immediately ask Senator Canavan to withdraw his comments about this data. If they are serious about it, they will rebuke him for the comments that he has made about the release of this data.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has published gender pay gap data for nearly 5,000 Australian private sector employers for the first time ever. This is a historic step towards transparency and accountability in addressing gender inequality. We have seen a median total remuneration gender pay gap of 19 per cent or equivalent to $18,461 a year. Thirty per cent of Australian employers have a neutral gender pay gap of within five per cent of zero, and that is good news, but it also means that over two-thirds of employers have a gender pay gap, which means that the majority of Australian workplaces have a long way to go to close their agenda pay gaps. In every industry in Australia, the median of what a woman is paid less than the median of what a man is paid. For all employers, the publication of their gender pay gaps is a call to action: a call to focus their performance on gender equality, to take action and to improve it. For employees and for consumers, this will provide insights and information about where they work.

Women continue to be overrepresented in lower-paid roles and underrepresented in more senior, highly paid roles. That is why this government is working so hard to drive better outcomes for all workers, especially for women. Its actions are making a difference in women's lives—like the tax cuts that you are stalling at the Senate. They are tax cuts for every Australian woman taxpayer and will put money back into the pockets of Australian women. This plan will see a tax cut for every single woman who pays tax in Australia. Our plan will see Australian women taxpayers receive, on average, a tax cut of over $1,600 from 1 July and will see a bigger tax cut for over 90 per cent of Australian women taxpayers, or 5.8 million of them.

Labor's efforts are already delivering outcomes for women, with the gender pay gap now at a record low. The publication of gender pay gaps as a critical tool continue this important work to ultimately achieve gender equality in Australia. If those opposite were serious, they would rebuke Senator Canavan for his comments and they would absolutely make sure that they passed Labor's tax cuts in the Senate today.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I remind the minister—I didn't want to interrupt—of standing order 65, about addressing remarks through the chair.