Tony Abbott’s efforts to appear worker-friendly have been dealt a blow with the clear admission by his local mouthpiece, Greg Bickley, that he supports the removal of penalty rates, Lisa Chesters, Labor candidate for Bendigo, said today.
“Mr Abbott’s recent release of the Liberals’ Industrial Relations policy was an exercise in deception. On the surface the policy appears to stay well away from the Liberals’ history of cutting workers’ rights and conditions, but they are clearly still on the agenda.”
“Greg Bickley, by his apparent support of reduced penalty rates on Sundays, as reported in the Bendigo Advertiser (10 May 2013), has shown that, as always, the Liberals simply cannot be trusted on industrial relations”, Ms Chesters said.
“Penalty rates are extremely important for many workers in the Bendigo Electorate. Many workers in low paid industries rely on penalty rates to make ends meet.”
“Without penalty rates, the discretionary spending that supports many local retailers will be gone, causing a loss of business activity in the very areas that want penalty rates removed.”
“The Federal Labor Government firmly believes that Australian workers deserve penalty rates for working extended or unsocial hours. While many of us are able to enjoy our weekends, others continue to work to provide the services we all rely on”, Ms Chesters said.
“Mr Bickley needs to come clean and tell the electors of Bendigo the truth. Is he simply letting the cat out of the bag and supporting the Liberals’ real agenda? Will the Liberals again allow individual contracts to cut basic wages and conditions? Does Mr Bickley really want to remove penalty rates from the lowest paid workers?
“This is another reminder to Bendigo workers that Tony Abbott and the Liberals cannot be trusted on workplace relations, not now, not then, not ever.”