One of the greatest concerns people in Braddon have raised with me is penalty rates.
Unlike the Liberals, I understand that penalty rates aren’t a luxury, or an outdated concept. They are an essential part of many families’ incomes. They put food on the table, they put petrol in the car, and they help pay the power and phone bills and all the other costs of living that people face.
People who rely on penalty rates are generally some of the lowest paid workers and use the money from penalty rates to make ends meet.
Research suggests that the removal of penalty rates could actually harm business, particularly in regional communities like ours. If you reduce the take home pay of low-paid workers, you reduce the amount they spend, which could negatively impact the local economy as a whole.
Labor supports workers' weekend penalty rates and will oppose Mr Turnbull's attempts to cut them.
In opposition, Labor has already taken the unprecedented step of making a submission to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) arguing that penalty rates must not be cut. Labor’s submission is available here.
A Shorten Labor Government will intervene in proceedings to make a further submission to the FWC in favour of retaining penalty rates.
This is in sharp contrast with the Abbott-Turnbull Government which has made it clear penalty rates should be cut, through the Productivity Commission’s report.
The former Labor government made changes to the Fair Work Act in 2013 to ensure that the FWC took into account the need to provide additional remuneration for employees working outside normal hours, including weekends.
The difference between Labor and the Liberals couldn’t be more stark.
At a time when we are facing the slowest wages growth in 25 years, Labor supports workers' penalty rates and I will continue to oppose Mr Turnbull's attempts to cut them.