Senate debates

Tuesday, 11 May 2021



9:00 pm

Photo of Jess WalshJess Walsh (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

After eight long years of this tired Liberal government, after eight long years of flat wages, after eight long years of rising job insecurity, Scott Morrison needed to deliver more than a budget tonight. He needed to deliver a plan for good, secure jobs for all Australians. But the only jobs that this government has been focused on delivering are jobs for its mates. This year has definitely been the year of the Liberal mates. Just how good are the Liberals to their mates? Appointments to the Fair Work Commission, appointments to boards, appointments to government agencies, appointments to government departments—and most on more than $300,000 per year—all while almost two million Australians are unemployed or underemployed, all while four million Australians are in insecure, casual or gig work and all while Australians are crying out for a pay rise.

This Morrison government has no plan. This Morrison government has no plan for the real challenges that Australians face every day, no plan for people working two, three jobs to make ends meet, no plan for workers stuck in endless casual job after casual job, no plan for vulnerable gig workers to get basic protections, no plan for labour hire workers or contract workers to get certainty and security and no plan for the almost 40 per cent of Australians who are stuck in insecure jobs under this government. They don't have a plan or a vision for Australia because they're too busy figuring out how to cover up their next scandal and their next rort. They are too busy figuring out their next big headline and how not to deliver on it. Look at JobMaker. It was an absolute dud of a scheme that failed to produce anywhere near the number of jobs that they promised in the last budget, and now they've scrapped it. It was their one idea for job creation, and they've thrown it straight in the bin. How can Australians trust this government to deliver for them when it can't deliver on its own ideas? How can Australians rely on this government to ever come up with a real plan for good, secure jobs? They can't. This government has had every opportunity over the last eight years to stand up for working Australians, to stand up for aged-care workers, to stand up for Australian manufacturing and the good, secure jobs it can provide, to stand up against wage theft and insecure work and to stand up for the women workers of Australia. You have had every opportunity to stand up for the women workers of Australia, and you haven't. The only people the government stand up for are themselves. The only jobs they stand up for are their own and the jobs that they hand out day after day to their Liberal mates.

On Labor's side, we have a plan for good, secure jobs in this country. We will stand up for good, secure jobs for aged-care workers, because we know there is no solution to the aged-care crisis without treating the workforce with the respect they deserve. We will stand up for Australian manufacturing with our National Reconstruction Fund, because we know that 'Made in Australia' means good, secure jobs for Australians. We will stand up for young workers and guarantee that one in 10 workers on major federally funded work sites will be apprentices, trainees or cadets, because we know the importance of upskilling the next generation. We will stand up and give insecure workers portable leave entitlements. We will stand up and crack down on cowboy labour hire firms, to guarantee that, if you work the same job, you will get the same pay, just like you deserve. And we will stand up against the toxic casualisation of permanent work that is happening under this government. We have a vision for good, secure jobs, a vision that only Labor will ever build, and it is a vision that we will deliver.