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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1083


Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (13:41): Right before Christmas the Abbott government snuck out its salvo in the war to bring back Work Choices—the Productivity Commission's terms of reference for the workplace relations review. In January what did we see? The Productivity Commission brought out some documents that shed light on the agenda to get rid of penalty rates and to cut the minimum wage in this country. It is an absolute disgrace. We know that the mob opposite have been absolutely determined to bring back Work Choices for as long as they have been in power.

Despite the Prime Minister saying in 2010 when he was the opposition leader that Work Choices was dead, buried and cremated, everyone knows that the agenda of this government is to get rid of penalty rates and to attack the minimum wage. How do we know that? Today Fairfax reported that penalty rates are not under attack by the government according to the government. If there is a better guarantee that penalty rates actually are on the agenda for attack than them ruling it out, I do not know what that would be.

I remember last year when the Prime Minister and the foreign minister came to Griffith and said, 'There is not going to be a GP tax.' That was scaremongering on my part. That was scaremongering by the Labor Party. But what did we see? We saw a GP tax in the 2014 budget. The 2014 budget was the worst budget in the history of Federation, the budget that attacked the very fabric of Australian society, just like this attack on penalty rates and on the minimum wage at a time when wage growth is the slowest since the wage price index has been kept. It is an utter disgrace and the government ought to be ashamed.