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No penalty rates for Christmas Day workers

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South Australian workers won’t get penalty rates on Christmas Day this year after parliament could not reach an agreement on legislation.

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The impasse yesterday has sparked recriminations with Treasurer Rob Lucas accusing the Opposition of killing off a compromise, while unions and Labor blame the State Government.

Former Liberal, now independent MP, Troy Bell had put forward a compromise amendment to make Christmas Day – which falls on a Saturday – a public holiday, but only if the Christmas Eve half-day public holiday was removed.

“Ultimately, Mr Malinauskas and Labor have nobody to blame but themselves for refusing to support a reasonable compromise by Independent MP Troy Bell which was supported by the Government,” Lucas said.

However, Unions SA said the lack of penalty rates this year was the fault of the State Government for quashing the original Greens bill that would have put SA in line with every other state and territory where December 25 this year is a public holiday.

SA Unions Secretary Dale Beasley said “Steven Marshall has stolen Christmas from South Australian workers and their families”.

“Despite significant internal fractures, it’s clear the Liberal party can still unite around cutting workers’ pay.”

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