WORKERS STILL RIPPED OFF, GOVERNMENT WON’T ACT
11 Aug 2017
Another sitting week has passed and Australians still do not have sufficient legislation to stop systemic worker exploitation that is occurring in Australia’s labour market.
Despite promising a policy to prevent worker exploitation before the election, more than a year has passed and the Government continues to delay.
There is no excuse for not dealing with this legislation this week. It’s not like they haven’t had the time, in fact they’ve instead wasted hours on a very harmful, expensive and entirely unnecessary postal survey.
Under the Turnbull Government we’ve seen four anti-worker pieces of legislation progressed but certainly not one piece of legislation that is pro-worker.
We have also had reports this week that former Liberal Minister Bruce Billson failed to notify the register of interests of his compromised position, working for the Franchise Council Of Australia (FCA) at the same time as being a member of parliament. This is a lobby group that wants the Bill killed.
In the usual fashion when it comes to any matters relating to protecting workers, the Government equivocates.
The Bill in its current form is weak on employers and extremely deficient and Labor has circulated a number of amendments that are essential to strengthening the Bill. Big corporations must be made to take responsibility for exploitation of workers by labour hire companies who supply their workers and by employers along their supply chain.
The Bill must confine the use of proposed coercive questioning powers to investigations into the underpayment of wages and entitlements.
Perhaps the Government is delaying in order to avoid explaining why they won’t accept our amendments?
Is the Government failing to stop workers being ripped off because the former Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, still has more power around the Cabinet table than the Minister for Employment?
Is the Government refusing to stop workers being ripped off because the Prime Minister reportedly has a financial stake in a major perpetrator of worker exploitation, 7-Eleven?
What is crystal clear is that the Turnbull Government doesn’t take systemic examples of worker exploitation seriously.
Under the Turnbull Government, we are headed towards an easy to hire, easy to fire society, which is distorting job security and income distribution.
In the absence of leadership from this Government, federal Labor will continue to lead the way to stamp out underpayment and exploitation.