With six days to go until the Braddon by-election, the Shadow Minister for Employment, Brendan O’Connor, and the Labor Candidate for Braddon, Justine Keay, are in Burnie to discuss the Turnbull Government’s threat to wages by their support for cuts to penalty rates.
Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor said: “Under Mr Turnbull and the Liberals, Tasmanians are suffering with insecure work, stagnant wages and rising cost of living pressures.”
“The Tasmanian unemployment rate is above the national average at 5.8per cent and figures show Braddon will be hard hit by the Turnbull Government’s refusal to stop the Fair Work Commission’s cut to penalty rates.
“More than 7,277 people, or one in five workers, in Braddon work in the retail, food and accommodation industries affected by the cuts.
“These workers stand to lose up to $77 per week, and cuts money from the local economy as workers have less money to spend,”Mr O’Connor said.
Labor Candidate for Braddon, Justine Keay said only Labor cares about protecting weekend penalty rates for workers.
“Weekend penalty rates are so important for working families struggling to make ends meet.
“But Brett Whiteley supports cutting penalty rates for workers in Burnie and workers throughout North-West Tasmania.
“Mr Whiteley has said that the issue of penalty rates was contributing to the high numbers of unemployed.
“In 2014Mr Whiteley said that the level of penalty rates for workers was a debate that the community needed to have.
Mr Whiteley said:
"Penalty rates and wages in general for young people are just becoming too expensive for small businesses to even think about putting them on.
"This is something that needs urgent attention."
Let’s not forget that Liberal Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz warned there would be a “wages explosion” because of penalty rates.
Mr O’Connor said: “under the Turnbull Government we are heading toward a low wage, easy to hire, easy to fire society.
“Labor this week announced our ‘same job, same pay’ policy to ensure that labour hire workers are paid and treated fairly, and that they are not used to undermine the pay and conditions of direct employees.
“This is in addition to Labor’s pledge to restore and protect penalty rates, which under the Turnbull Government will be cut again next July and the July after that.
“Turnbull and Whiteley reject Labor’s labour hire and penalty rates policy because, it is clear they want wages to stay as low as possible.
“Former Banker, Brett Whiteley supports cuts to wages through slashing penalty rates, at the same time as support a $17 billion handout to the big banks.
“At this Saturday’s by-election the choice is clear: to protect your penalty votes for Justine Keay and Labor,”Mr O’Connor said.