Bill's Media Releases


Media reports that business is planning a renewed push to drive down penalty rates with the support of the Liberal Party, should they form government in September, are deeply worrying for low-paid Australians and require full disclosure from Tony Abbott and his team.

 As The Australian Online today reports:

 “Employers, working on the assumption that the coalition will win the election, have been privately lobbying senior Opposition figures to commit to having Commonwealth lawyers formally intervene in the commission in support of the application.

 Employers yesterday were buoyed by Mr Abbott's comments on Monday leaving open the prospect of a Coalition Government intervening in favour of employers.”


 Tony Abbott and his workplace relations spokesman Senator Eric Abetz must today fully detail what discussions they have had with business organisations about reducing penalty rates, and must reveal the secret deals they have made.

 Failure to do so will only further confirm Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party are intent on bringing back the worst of WorkChoices by undermining and cutting penalty rates.

 Around 1.2 million Australians currently work in the Retail Trade industry and a further 800,000 Australians work in the  Accommodation and Food Services industry.

 These are the Australians who disproportionately rely on penalty rates, overtime and other entitlements, guaranteed under the Fair Work system, to make ends meet.

 7 out of every 10 workers in the Accommodation and Food Services industry work on weekends and more than half the workers in the Retail industry work on weekends.

 Penalty rates represent approximately 11 per cent of the salary of a casual restaurant worker and 9 per cent of a casual hospitality worker who regularly work weekends.

 Even with penalty rates, full-time adult workers in the Retail Trade industry only earn around $53,000 per year and full-time adult workers in the Accommodation and Food Services industry receive around $52,000 per year.

 The Gillard Government has always supported the right of Australian workers to be properly compensated for working unsociable hours or on public holidays when we all want to be with friends and family.

 We have recently introduced legislation into the Parliament to ensure that penalty rates, overtime, shift work loading and public holiday pay are definite formal considerations for the Fair Work Commission when it sets award rates and conditions.