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Labor continues to mislead on IR debate

Media Release

Labor is starting 2021 where it left 2020 - trying to mislead Australians by asking questions in Parliament that are 100 per cent wrong.

Labor's Tony Burke and Richard Marles today cited documents from retailers to make a totally false claim that workers would lose pay under the Government's proposed IR reforms.

The document cited by Labor Members was in fact a joint submission from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and National Retail Association (NRA) to the Fair Work Commission – Labor's own independent workplace umpire – on a matter concerning exemption rates.

The first false claim is that the document has anything to do with the Government's proposals. The matter before the Fair Work Commission has absolutely nothing to do with the legislation before the Parliament and nothing in the Government's Omnibus Bill deals with exemption rates in any way whatsoever. Nowhere in its submission do the ARA or NRA refer to the IR reforms currently before Parliament as having any impact on its proposals. The Labor Members either know literally nothing about the industrial relations system or are deliberately misleading.

The second false claim is that Labor also referred to someone on a salary of $57,000 having their wages cut when, in fact, an exemption rate is designed to increase the annual salary of a worker – in the case of the ARA and NRA's submission, by 25 per cent.

Labor has its head stuck in an ideological rear-vision mirror. It claims to be on the side of workers and all about jobs, but clearly is not on the side of employees who want stronger protections against wage underpayment; not on the side of casual workers who want to convert to permanent employment; not on the side of part-time retail or hospitality workers who want more hours and can't get them at the moment; not on the side of employees and employers who want to negotiate higher wages and productivity gains more quickly and efficiently through a better enterprise bargaining process.

Labor is not doing what is in all Australians' best interests during COVID, which is working cooperatively with the Government to help save lives and livelihoods.

Instead, Labor seems more focused on their own Leader's job by running unbelievable untruths about what are in fact modest, important and much needed reforms.