Porter misleads on pay cuts

Christian Porter is starting 2021 where he left 2020 – misleading Australians by desperately trying to deny his industrial relations proposals could result in pay cuts for hardworking Australians.

In Parliament recently, Labor highlighted that a new proposal put forward by retailers to scrap penalty rates for supervisors and managers could leave them more than $10,000 a year worse off.

Mr Porter sought to distance himself from this disgraceful proposal by issuing a statement saying it had nothing to do with the government’s IR changes and was all a matter for the Fair Work Commission. This was a lie.

Mr Porter neglected to mention that he was the one who personally instructed the Fair Work Commission to consider these changes.

On 9 December last year he wrote to the Commission asking them to consider scrapping penalty rates for a range of industries.

The Coalition did this the same day Mr Porter announced his IR omnibus bill, which also allows for workers’ pay and conditions to be cut by suspending the Better Off Overall Test. (Hint – when this test is suspended, workers aren’t better off!)

A transcript from the Minister’s very own website confirms that he wrote to the commission asking them to consider this issue of so-called loaded rates. As the responsible minister made clear in the opening lines of his press conference: “I signed that letter and it went off this morning.”

In another transcript, Mr Porter again confirms he personally commenced this process, paving the way for further penalty rate cuts. You can see for yourself that Minister Porter links this directly to his IR agenda and to the IR omnibus bill: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/media/transcripts/media-conference-parliament-house-canberra-9-december-2020

Mr Porter opened this Pandora’s Box on behalf of Prime Minister Morrison. He initiated this process and invited the proposals like the one we’ve seen from retailers.

Retail workers were among the heroes of the pandemic. They put themselves at risk to keep stores open and Australia moving. However, Mr Porter has paved the way for them to be hit with a massive pay cut. This is how Scott Morrison’s government thanks people for their sacrifices and risk.
Here are the facts about this proposal:

  • A level 4 retail supervisor who works weekends and overnights could see their annual income reduced from $67,238 to $57,059 – a cut of $10,179.
  • A level 8 retail supervisor who works the same shift pattern could see their annual income reduced from $77,642 to $65,858 – a cut of $11,784.

These calculations can easily be made on the government’s own Fair Pay Calculator. Therefore, Mr Porter is being deliberately misleading.

Labor will oppose any and every attempt this government makes to cut the pay of hardworking Australians.

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