I'll stand up for penalty rates
05 Jan 2016
As we leave the Christmas and new year period, I’d like to acknowledge those who performed vital services while the rest of us enjoyed some downtime over the festive season. Emergency service workers and on-call officers continued to work over the break, providing reassurance, urgent assistance and support to those in times of need. Likewise, defence service men and women were away from their families over Christmas.
Some of our lowest paid employees worked extended trading hours and endured longer than usual days at this busy time of year. They did so at the expense of their own family time, providing extra convenience, flexibility and social options for us all. Some hospitality and retail workers employed on Christmas Day and New Years Eve served meals and beverages long into the evening on these two traditionally respected and widely acknowledged family days.
As a society we’ve come to expect the convenience of extended trading hours and social dining experiences on public holidays. This festive period it was suggested that fair compensation for those working unsociable working hours could become a thing of the past. The Productivity Commission Review’s recommendation to cut penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers is a pay cut for the lowest paid workers. The Turnbull-Abbott Government set up this inquiry to attack workers’ wages and conditions. Labor will stand up against any attack on wages and conditions – it is clear that the LNP will go after low and middle income Australians every time. They cannot conceive of any other alternatives. They don’t understand that penalty rates are not a luxury – they are a much needed boost to a low income wage, helping put fuel in the car, and food on the tables of everyday Australian families.
Thank you to you all employees for the sacrifices you continue to make so that our Australian society keeps ticking away. My family appreciates the work you do. I will always stand up for penalty rates and the rights of workers to a fair living wage.