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Monday, 7 November 2005
Page: 32

Mr JENKINS (2:33 PM) —My question is directed to the Prime Minister. It follows on from the previous questions from the member for Perth and is specifically about the minimum wage. Is it not the case that, if the government’s submissions to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission had been adopted since 1996, the minimum wage would have been reduced in real terms by 1.55 per cent? Is it not the case that pages 29 and 64 of the bill specifically repeal section 88 of the current act, which requires ‘fair minimum standards for employees in the context of living standards generally’ and ‘inflation’ to be taken into account in the setting of the minimum wage? Prime Minister, does not this particular change mean that employees dependent upon the minimum wage will have their wages reduced in real terms, just as you have always intended?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —The answer to the question is no.