More than 16,000 workers in the ACT are on penalty rates and rely on them to make ends meet. Often they are low-paid workers, shift workers or part-time workers. Penalty rates allow these people to put food on the table, to pay their rent, to pay their mortgage, to pay their bills and to pay their car repayments. Without these penalty rates, these workers and their family will suffer.
They are concerned about the Abbott government's plans for their future. They do not want a return to Work Choices. They do not want a return to a Howard government era industrial relations regime.
The Prime Minister needs to set the record straight in parliament that he has no plan to cut the minimum wage that 1.5 million Australians rely on and no intention to change the penalty rates on which up to 4.5 million Australians rely. The government also needs to lay off the Public Service. Just last week they made an absolutely abysmal offer to Defence Department staff. They were offered a below-inflation pay deal and a deterioration in their conditions.
This was on top of the insulting and disgraceful below-inflation pay offer made to our ADF personnel. These are people who put their lives on the line for this country and go out to defend our nation's security and our national interest. It is an absolute disgrace.