Question to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations about Canberrans Earning More and Keeping More of what they Earned

12 February 2024

My question is to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. How
is the Albanese Labor Government's closing-loopholes legislation helping Australians earn more? How will Labor's cost-of-living tax cuts help them keep more of what they earn? And what has been the response?

Mr BURKE (Watson—Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for the Arts and Leader of the House): I thank the member for Canberra for asking a question about the cost of living. They're all coming from this side. If I go through some of the public servants who are represented by the member for
Mr Chester interjecting—
Mr McCormack interjecting—
Mr BURKE: And I hear the interjection about public servants. The only servants those opposite don't like are public servants! An APS grade 5 on $84,000 gets a $1,779 tax cut, because we want people to earn more and keep more of what they are earn, while those opposite want people to work longer for less. The closing-loopholes legislation has now passed the parliament. It passed the Senate last week and passed the House today. That means that for a whole lot of workers who have fallen outside of our system of minimum standards this parliament has decided that they should have minimum rates of pay. Someone who is delivering pizzas on the back of a bike should not be in a situation where their minimum rate of pay is a zero, as though somehow they have a whole heap of negotiating power. Yet those opposite voted for that to be the case.
Australia is not meant to be a country where you have to rely on tips to make ends meet. People should have minimum standards, and now they will, whether it's in the gig economy or whether it's in road transport. Also there should be job security for our casuals. Most casuals will want to remain casuals. Despite the fear campaigns, nothing changes for them. But for the small number of casuals who are wanting to transfer to secure employment and where their hours already reflect what a secure job will be, why would you want to deny job security to them? Their bills aren't casual. Their mortgage isn't casual. Their rent's not casual. If they've got dependants, supporting them isn't casual. If they want security of work, then this parliament should get behind them, and this government has. It should not be the case that you have to work 24/7. Those opposite over the weekend, in that interview that we'll keep quoting, from the shadow Treasurer—how did he describe their package of repeals on industrial relations? He said it would be targeted—and we know what that means: targeted against wage rises, targeted against job security, targeted against safer workplaces, targeted against closing the gender pay gap.