Thursday, 14 May 2020
I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Brown will also sponsor the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Gallacher, Bilyk, Chisholm, Sterle, Marielle Smith and Brown, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) in 2018, the Government approved the sale of Qantas' catering business to Dnata, an in-flight catering company which is part of the Emirates group, owned by the Government of Dubai,
(ii) Dnata employs 6000 workers every year at nine Australian airports, most of whom previously worked for Qantas' catering business,
(iii) workers at Dnata are Australians who have worked in the Australian aviation industry their whole working lives,
(iv) since the grounding of flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic most workers at Dnata have been asked to work as a skeleton crew,
(v) when Prime Minister Morrison, and Treasurer Frydenberg announced JobKeeper, the Treasurer said: "Australians know that their government has their back",
(vi) on May 1, 2020 the Government, without consulting businesses or workers, changed the rules of the JobKeeper program to exclude companies including Dnata,
(vii) on May 4, 2020, 5500 Australian workers at Dnata were told they were no longer eligible for JobKeeper payments due to the changes made by the Federal Government, and
(viii) every cent of the Job Keeper payment goes to the workers who need it – the money would not go to the foreign-owned company;
(b) recognises that workers at Dnata do not choose who owns the company they work for; and
(c) calls on the Government to:
(i) honour its commitment to Australian workers and demonstrate that it "has their back", no matter who owns their company; and
(ii) reverse the rule that excludes the 5500 workers at Dnata from JobKeeper payments.
Because of the extensive pairing arrangements, the whips have asked for four minutes. We are doing that over the course of this week. Normally I can insist on a one-minute division but, given the extensive pairing arrangements, I'm in the hands of the Senate.
Senator Cormann interjecting—
Senator Cormann is correct. An accident in the pairing arrangements, spacing requirements, would end up taking more time. I'm in the hands of the whips on it.