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Federal

Feb 24, 2017

Nuance won't cut it on penalty rates onslaught

The Fair Work Commission's attack on penalty rates will only reinforce Labor's narrative of a government hell-bent on attacking low-income earners.

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There’s an awful lot of nuance around the Fair Work Commission’s attack on penalty rates. The rationale of the commission, echoing the Productivity Commission, is that Sundays aren’t so different from Saturday anymore, so why have an outdated, special Sunday penalty rate? But it also recognises that low-income earners will be screwed over by its decision and there needs to be sort of “transition”. Then there is the nuance of the government insisting the decision is basically the fault of Bill Shorten because he initiated the penalty rates review when in government, and that the commission is the “independent umpire”. And finally the nuance of Labor going to the trouble of preparing a response to the decision with “real people” affected by the decision, only to screw up the detail and embarrass themselves.

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