Release type: Media Release


Tony Abbott gives the green light for penalty rates to be slashed


Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations

Tony Abbott has failed to rule out Liberal MP John Alexander’s plan that could see millions of Australian workers have their penalties rates ripped away, Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Workplace Relations said today.

When asked at a doorstop this morning about John Alexander’s plan to drastically reduce or abolish penalty rates Tony Abbott said:

‘ everyone’s going to want to make their own contribution and that’s fair enough.’

Senator Evans said Tony Abbott has consistently claimed the Liberal Party will have a strong and effective policy.

“No fair industrial relations policy should allow for penalty rates to be stripped away and Tony Abbott should rule out adopting any policy that reduces or abolishes penalty rates,” Senator Evans said.

“Millions of Australians rely on penalty rates to make ends meet. WorkChoices stripped wages and conditions from millions of working Australians who clearly rejected the policy at the ballot box.”

Under WorkChoices, women working full time on Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) took home $87.40 per week less on average than women on collective agreements.

Under WorkChoices, 64 per cent of AWAs cut annual leave loading and 63 per cent cut penalty rates.

“There is no doubt this is what the Liberals want to do again,” Senator Evans said.

“If Mr Abbott does not rule out John Alexander’s policy to reduce or abolish penalty rates, the only thing that is dead, buried and cremated is his promise to the Australian people to abandon these laws.

“Australian workers want a fair wage for a fair day’s work, decent award conditions and the right to challenge unfair treatment at work.”