Mar 2, 2017

What exactly is the government’s position on penalty rates?

Holding multiple positions on penalty rates is only the latest example of how the Prime Minister's Office is not doing its job.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

While we're all focused, correctly, on the deep divisions within the Liberal Party, the government's inability to perform the most basic political management tasks is arguably its most serious problem.

Less than a week after the Fair Work Commission's decision to slash Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers, we're now up to five separate positions from the government:

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10 thoughts on “What exactly is the government’s position on penalty rates?

  1. Pollietragic

    Love yr 5 point summary of the varying and contradictory / hypocritical positions the Govt has contorted on this, Bernard. There may be a number of marginal seat LNP members shuddering about the relationship of this issue to Workchoices. The difference is no -one saw this bit of FWC bastardry coming, thus I’d suggest it’s likely there is no strategy or warchest organised in advance by the ACTU to fight it.

  2. Nudiefish

    The LNP are clearly terrified of provoking a Work Choices fight on the issue. They have no comprehension just how creepy their weird evasions sounds.

    Calling it what it is, there is a turd sitting in the LNP corner and they are frantically pointing the blame in every direction except where it rightfully belongs.

  3. Geoff Thomas

    We need some perspective in this debate about penalty rates.
    On 6 January 2017, the SMH carried a report by Nick Toscano and Sarah Danckert on the topic of executive salaries. They reported that the average take home annual pay for a CEO of an ASX top 100 corporation in the 2015 financial year was a mere $5.54 million.
    Helpfully, the correspondents noted that this represented $15,000 per day. They also noted that our average impoverished executive would have earned the $81,000 average full time adult earnings in the first working week of the year.
    There is a serious issue of fairness and equity here, and we must think for a moment who really benefits here.
    The proceedings in the Fair Work Commission to reduce the remuneration of award covered employees were initiated by organisations representing the interests of employers. Small business was represented. However, so were the ASX top 100 companies in the retail and fast food industries.
    In fact, it is these large companies that benefit most from the decision.
    So, it is a case of the highly-paid setting out to reduce labour costs, or to fund wages for new employees, by reducing the remuneration of existing low paid workers.
    Good luck allowing that to happen Malcolm. Or is that what “jobs and growth” really means?

  4. bushby jane

    How independent is the FWC? As you have previously noted Bernard, it has been stacked with LNP appointees, so not very, but no one else is mentioning this. Not even the Labor party.
    Bill Shorten has noted though that Turnbull has managed to overturn a few other ‘independent’ decisions, this one is just too hard.

  5. AR

    Any Labor leader, except one so horribly compromised & hypocritical (or just plain uncaring/comprehending?) as gumBoil Shlernt could have brought people out onto the streets over this prime piece of robber baron rapacity.
    The cloud of moths in a suit (TM Grundle) will never be forgotten for having cut the rates of some of the lowest paid workers in the country in exchange for bungs to his preselection campaign.

  6. Xoanon

    It’s becoming more and more evident that our political system is attracting incompetent careerists above all else, unable to handle even the simplest management tasks when they finally get into politics. However else we reform, the careerist trajectory needs to be broken up.

  7. klewso

    I think Malcolm over-estimates his powers of persuasion and charisma – we can see through his “new clothes/finery”.

  8. Geoff Thomas

    All members of the presiding Fair Work Australia Bench were Labor appointees.
    The point is that the Bench can only decide on submissions and evidence put to them. Employer organisations have been screaming about penalty rates for a decade or more.

    1. Nudiefish

      How wrong you are. Not all the presiding members are Labor appointees – four of them were appointed by the LNP in December 2015
      [see: https://ministers.employment.gov.au/cash/appointments-fair-work-commission%5D

      1. klewso

        Binet, Dean, Clancy (Dep. Presidents); Harper-Greenwell and Hunt (Commissioners) – by Cash?

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