Penalty Rates

Labor has always, and will always, argue against cuts to penalty rates.  Bill Shorten and Labor will never stop fighting for penalty rates. 

When it comes to penalty rates, the difference between the Liberals and Labor couldn’t be more stark – the Liberals want to slash them, while Labor will do everything in its power to protect them for working Australians. 

This year, in a first for a Federal Opposition, Labor made a submission to the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rates case strongly arguing against any cuts to penalty rates.  We argued that penalty rates continue to be a fundamental part of a strong safety net for Australian workers, enabling those in low income and highly casualised industries to share in the nation’s economic prosperity. 

For the 4.5 million workers that rely on weekend penalty rates, they are not a luxury, they are what pays the bills and puts food on the table. 

The Liberals, on the other hand, have used the Productivity Commission’s submission derived from the Government’s review of workplace relations, which recommended the slashing of Sunday penalty rates, as their submission.  From Malcolm Turnbull down, the Liberal Government is replete with vocal advocates for a cut in penalty rates. 

Malcolm Turnbull declared the death of the weekend and has argued for a reduction in Sunday penalty rates.   According to his handpicked Ministers, cutting penalty rates could be “good for the economy” and penalty rates are “making many workers worse off”. 

We are so concerned by the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s attack on penalty rates that a Shorten Labor Government will intervene in the penalty rates case, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia, to indicate Labor’s support for the retaining of penalty rates. 

At a time when we are facing the slowest wages growth in 25 years, Labor supports workers’ penalty rates and we absolutely oppose Mr Turnbull’s attempts to cut them. 

A copy of Labor’s submission to the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rates case may be found here:


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