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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1080

Mr BRENDAN O'CONNOR (Gorton) (13:31): This morning in the papers it was reported that the Minister for Employment has given an undertaking not to touch the minimum wage in this country. Indeed, recently we have had the Prime Minister making comments about not touching the minimum wage in his response to a couple of questions asked of him at the Press Club. The fact is that you cannot trust this government when it comes to industrial relations; you can never trust this government when it comes to creating jobs and providing opportunities for workers.

They say, of course, that they will not abolish the minimum wage; they say they will not cut penalty rates. But let us have a look at what they have done since they were elected. Remember: it was this government and this Prime Minister who said there would be no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no cuts to the ABC and no cuts to SBS, and what have we seen since? We have seen a budget replete with lies— a litany of lies by this government and by the Prime Minister. If there is one area of public policy you could never trust a coalition government on, it is industrial relations. They have a disregard for Australian workers in this country.

We remember Work Choices, something that was never mentioned by the Prime Minister back then, prior to that election. We do not expect this Prime Minister—or this government, whoever leads them—to make an honest declaration of their plans after the next election. We know it is in their DNA. This government wants to rip away the safety net for workers in this country. It wants to undermine conditions of employment. It will attack every worker at every chance it gets. (Time expired)