Senate debates

Wednesday, 14 November 2018


Gender Equality

3:54 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Cameron will also be sponsoring the motion. I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 1202, standing in my name and the name of Senator Cameron, relating to the gender pay gap. I understand the amendments have been circulated in the chamber.

Leave granted.

I, and also on behalf of Senator Cameron, move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  (i) the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) annual data, released on 13 November 2018, shows the gender pay gap is still unacceptably high at 16.2%,

  (ii) men earn $25,717 or 21.3% more than women each year on average, in full-time work across all jobs, including overtime and bonuses,

  (iii) financial and insurance services remains the industry with the highest total remuneration gender pay gap at 30.3%,

  (iv) construction is the industry with the second-highest gender pay gap at 29.4%,

  (v) the female-dominated industry of health care and social assistance saw a second annual increase in its gender pay gap to 16.1%,

  (vi) more than half of employers do not analyse their pay data for gender pay gaps,

  (vii) 41.5% of employers who did a pay gap analysis took no action to address it,

  (viii) only 17.9% of organisations that conducted a gender pay gap analysis are actually reporting pay equity metrics up to the boards and governing bodies,

  (ix) when it comes to Paid Parental Leave, women account for 94.9% of all primary carer's leave utilised, with men accounting for only 5.1%, and

  (x) less than 2 in 100 companies have set targets for men's engagement in flexible work; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

  (i) increase the resourcing for WGEA, strengthen its powers and require large employers publicly report their gender pay gap, and

  (ii) prohibit the use of pay gag clauses in private employment contracts, which clauses disguise the gender pay gap in the private sector.

3:55 pm

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | | Hansard source

The gender pay gap has been trending down under the Liberal-National government. Based on ABS data, the gender pay gap has fallen to 14.5 per cent, the lowest percentage on record—falling by 2.7 percentage points under the Liberal-National government. The government has provided an additional $8 million to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to enable them to increase the scope of their gender pay gap reporting from around 40 per cent of the workforce to around 75 per cent of the workforce. The information provided by WGEA to employers provides them with a clear picture, enabling them to address pay disparities in the workplace. The United Kingdom has recently imposed a requirement for companies with 250 employees or more to report their gender pay gap publicly. We will consider how effective this is as further data becomes available.

Question agreed to.