SENATOR MURRAY WATT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DISASTER AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR QUEENSLAND RESOURCES
LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
4RO BREAKFAST WITH MICHAEL BAILEY
THURSDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Casualisation in Central Qld; Morrison Government spending $400,000 in taxpayer funds to back casualisation agenda in High Court.
MICHAEL BAILEY, HOST: There was a court case that caught my eye and of course listening in is our very good friend Senator Murray Watt. A good morning to you Murray, how are you?
MURRAY WATT, LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND: Good, thanks Michael. How about you?
BAILEY: Yeah, look, this is interesting. Morrison bills workers to push casualisation agenda. But what happened here? Because, as you know, I'm a firm believer in full time work, it should be a given. It's a given that you should be offered full time work. And if you want to go casual, you should be able to accept casual, but something happened in this court case didn't it?
WATT: That's right Michael. Unfortunately, for far too long, what we've seen is that too many workers across a whole range of industries aren't really being given the option of permanent work. In fact, recently some research came out that showed across Central Queensland there's about 40% of workers who are employed as casuals or some other form of insecure work, which makes Central Queensland the second worst place in the country in terms of casualisation. And what we've found out is that not only has Scott Morrison and his government not done anything about this, in terms of passing laws that fix that. But they've actually been backing labour hire firms in the High Court of Australia to hang on to this casualisation rort. They basically intervened in a High Court case that labour hire firms brought to retain this casualisation rort. And in the process, the federal government has spent about $400,000 in taxpayers’ funds on legal fees to back casualisation and labour hire. So I think it really starkly shows whose side they're on. They're not on the side of the average worker, they're backing he labour hire firms that want to spread casualisation across mining, manufacturing, health care, hospitality, all sorts of industries. And that just wrecks the Central Queensland economy.
BAILEY: It does because it has been proven time and time again, if you walk into a bank, or a financial institution, and you're a casual, it's very hard to get a loan, isn't it?
WATT: It is and that's one of the biggest problems and I've met many coal miners, manufacturing workers, healthcare workers, all sorts of people across Central Queensland, who can't get a home loan, can't get a casual loan. If they're sick, they don't get paid. If they need to take a day off work, they don't qualify for annual leave. And that's all because they're classified as a casual. And the problem with it is that it's even happening to people who basically work permanent rosters. Again, I've met miners who work the same roster week after week, month after month, for years on end. They are permanent workers, if you're actually being fair about it, but they're classified as casuals, and they miss out on the job security, they miss out on the home loans, they miss out on the leave. And what we've actually found out is that many of them actually get paid less than a permanent worker as well. You know, a lot of people think that casuals get a loading, and that covers them for the leave entitlements they miss out on. But in fact, many people who are working as casuals or labour hire, they actually end up getting paid less than the permanent workers that they're working alongside, as well as missing out on all the job security and all the leave benefits. But it's something we've really got to deal with in Central Queensland, Michael, and that's what federal Labor has committed to do if we win the next election.
BAILEY: Fantastic. Keep up the good work. I'm still a firm believer I don't mind saying it. You should be offered the choice. If you want to go casual tick it off, if you want to go a full time job, you should be offered the full time job. It seems to me there are a lot of people want that full time job just to get on with their lives. It's okay you know, earning the money, but unless you could actually get the money to increase your lifestyle you're behind the eight ball. It's terrible. Murray Watt, thanks very much. You have a good day.
WATT: Good on you Michael, thanks mate.