Federal opposition moves to restore Sunday penalty rates

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten is in Perth. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d483911
Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten is in Perth. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d483911

THE federal opposition wants parliament to restore Sunday penalty rates for up to 700,000 Australians.

Labor leader Bill Shorten introduced legislation to the lower house on Monday that he says could protect incomes from July 1.

“We know that penalty rates are not a little bit extra, not just the cream on the cake – penalty rates help people put food on the table and petrol in the car,” Mr Shorten said.

If Australia wants to have a seven day a week 24-hour economy there’s always a worker making that happen, he said.

Mr Shorten said with this legislation before parliament at the same time as the government’s company tax it was a critically important week in the life of this parliament, calling the bills the starkest test of the government and opposition’s priorities.

“This week the Australian people will find out if its parliament is prepared to back in legislation giving $80 billion away, principally to the top end of town, whilst at the same time as refusing to protect the penalty rates of hundreds of thousands of Australian workers,” he said.

The Fair Work Commission cut Sunday penalty rates for hospitality, retail, pharmacy and fast food employees from July 1 last year.

The decision was backed by the Federal Court after a union challenge, but a Senate inquiry report last October called for it to be overturned.

The Turnbull government rejected the proposal, accepting the independent umpire’s call.