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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6161


Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (14:21): My question is to the Prime Minister. Company profits increased by 5.8 per cent over the year, nearly three times as much as wages, so why does this Prime Minister support cutting the penalty rates of nearly 700,000 working Australians by up to $77 a week while he's giving an $80 billion handout to big business? Is the Prime Minister telling hardworking Australians, including those who made his coffee this morning, to just get a better job too?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:21): The honourable member overlooks the fact that the champion in trading away penalty rates is none other than her leader. Nobody has been more consistent in trading away penalty rates than her leader. He did so in return for secret negotiations with the employer. That's it. The independent umpire, which the Labor Party was found to support and maintain, was lauded, praised and defended by the Labor Party again and again. At one point at the last election the Leader of the Opposition said he was going to throw himself bodily—he was going to do everything he could to stop the government from abolishing the independent umpire. We had no more planned to do that than we did to sell Medicare. It was another Labor scare.

Mr Hill interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bruce is warned.

Mr TURNBULL: The reality is this: he said that only Labor could be trusted to stand up for the independent umpire. Now they want to junk the independent umpire. You can't have it both ways. You can't support an independent umpire and then abandon it, disown it, when it makes decisions you don't agree with.

The Leader of the Opposition sold out workers in one agreement after another. The most notorious case was Cleanevent, where the overtime award rate was $50 an hour and he negotiated it down to $18 an hour. After the Leader of the Opposition left the union to come into parliament, Cleanevent, in order to maintain the arrangements with the AWU in Victoria, paid the union $75,000, undisclosed to the members of the union. When we wanted to ensure that members knew what was going on and introduced legislation to apply a bit of sunlight, who opposed it? The Labor Party. They have abandoned the very people whom the Labor Party was founded to protect. No wonder the member for Grayndler is disgusted with this turn of events. No wonder the member for Grayndler has set out a return to the values of Tom Uren and the Labor Party in challenging the pathetic class war and hypocrisy of the Leader of the Opposition.