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Labor moves to overturn penalty rates ruling


Bill Shorten has been labelled an “absolute hypocrite” by the treasurer after formally telling parliament Labor wants to overturn the Fair Work Commission’s ruling on penalty rates.

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The opposition leader today flagged his intention to legislate against last week’s decision to align Sunday rates with Saturday in the retail and hospitality sectors.

He wants to ensure by law those changes are never implemented and penalty rates can’t be dropped in the future if it results in cuts to take-home pay.

Treasurer Scott Morrison dismissed the move as just another case of Shorten of saying “whatever and do whatever”.

He noted the Labor leader initiated a commission review of penalty rates when he was a government minister and actually picked the umpire.

“Now he says he wont’ support it. What’s next, he doesn’t like what the Reserve Bank decides on interest rates and he decides he wants to legislate and change that?” Morrison told Ray Hadley on 2GB radio.

More than 600,000 workers are expected to be affected by the commission’s decision.

Shorten has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him to support Labor’s drafted legislation.

“Malcolm Turnbull is giving the big banks a tax cut and the person making his coffee a pay cut,” he told AAP.

“The prime minister can’t even summon up a bit of sympathy for these people. As far as he’s concerned, they are just numbers on a spreadsheet.”

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash warned Labor was setting a dangerous precedent by calling for the commission’s decision to be overturned.

“You cannot have it both ways,” she said.

Unions have calling on all politicians to join them in their fight to protect worker’s pay.

“Malcolm Turnbull has shown he is prepared to overturn the Senate and statutory bodies in order to take rights away from workers,” ACTU president Ged Kearney said citing restoration of the building industry watchdog, and overturning rulings affecting truck drivers and voluntary firefighters.

“Now he has a chance to act for workers.”

The Greens have their own plans for legislation to protect penalty rates.


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