Monday, 22 February 2021
Matters of Public Importance
It's always a challenge in this place to rise after Senator Rennick—such an enlightening contribution as always. Seeing as we're talking about this matter of public importance, as you well know, Madam Acting Deputy President Kitching, those on the other side love repeating something so many times they think it becomes the truth, but in actual fact it remains as much as a falsehood as when they first began.
Is underpayment of wages an issue? Absolutely. The Fair Work Ombudsman and this government have taken remarkable steps in addressing this as an issue. There have been a number of very significant companies in Australia who have been found to have been underpaying wages—large companies with large human resource departments, companies like 7-Eleven, Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, Bunnings and Woolworths. These are large companies with very complex and well-built human resource systems. Is it wage theft? Do we need to use a pejorative term like wage theft? Well, let's see who else is on the list of those who have underpaid wages? The ABC, a large government broadcaster with a significant human resource department behind it, also underpaid millions in wages. Who else?