Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021


Fair Work Amendment (Same Job, Same Pay) Bill 2021, Queensland: Cost of Living

1:36 pm

Photo of Nita GreenNita Green (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] I'm very pleased to be joining the Senate today from Cairns and to talk about the wages of workers in Queensland. What we know is that real wages are going backwards under the Morrison government—it is built into their budget predictions that wages will not increase—and we know that wages have been stagnant for many years under this government, not just through the pandemic but well before the pandemic started. Real wages are going down, and yet the cost of living is going up. People are seeing childcare costs go up. They're seeing petrol prices go up. Insurance costs, in North Queensland particularly, are increasing year on year. And yet real wages are staying the same.

One way that a Labor government—an Anthony Albanese Labor government—will fix this issue is by introducing legislation to make sure that if you work the same job then you get the same pay. I'm very pleased to see that Anthony Albanese introduced this bill in the House of Representatives this week. This is a bill that can't wait until the election, as this issue is so important.

We need to put a stop to dodgy labour-hire companies being used by big companies in Central Queensland, in regional Queensland, to undercut the wages of working people. We know that this leads to more casual work, more insecure work—insecurity in our regional communities. We know that this leads to safety issues on site, where people are afraid to speak up when they see a safety issue. We need to put a stop to these bad practices, and only a Labor government will do that.

It is not surprising to have already learnt that some government members have said that they won't support this legislation. Phil Thompson, the member for Herbert, has outright refused to support this legislation, and I'm sure that we'll see the same from those like George Christensen and Warren Entsch throughout regional Queensland— (Time expired)