More than a dozen Labor MPs have called for the state’s Labor Government to be forced to pay their workers under the $30-a-week minimum wage to prevent a job-destroying system being created in the country’s immigration system.
The federal Opposition also raised the possibility of requiring all employers in the Australian capital Territory to pay the minimum wage.
In a statement, Labor MP and immigration critic David Leyonhjelm said Labor would push for a $30 minimum wage across all industries, including those where it would be “most advantageous”.
“We know that many Australians, including many in this chamber, are struggling to make ends meet and have become trapped in the trap of the current system,” he said.
“Labor will make sure that everyone who works in our country is paid at least the minimum standard of living and we will also make sure employers pay their employees a living wage.”
Labor MP Adam Bandt said he would introduce a bill to the Upper House to “require employers to pay workers a living, living wage”.
“The federal Government has now failed to live up to its promise to pay Australians living wages and a living minimum wage, and that is why Labor is calling for the federal Government to pay people a living wages at least $30 a week, and in most circumstances up to $100 a week,” he told the ABC.
“A living wage is a living standard, it is the standard that we should be living on.”
I want to see the Federal Government do everything possible to ensure that it can live up the promise made by the previous Labor Government and the previous Coalition Government to raise wages for Australian workers.
“In its 2017 federal budget, the federal government announced it was introducing a minimum wage for the Australian economy to ensure a decent living standard for workers and the economy.
The minimum wage would be indexed for inflation and would be higher for those working in the private sector and in sectors where the unemployment rate is higher.
Labor said Labor MPs would also push for legislation to require all employers to offer a living allowance to all employees in the workforce.”
We have to make sure Australians who are working are paid a living rate that reflects their hard work and dedication, which means they should be paid a fair living wage,” Mr Bandt told the Senate.”
If that is not possible for most Australians, then there is no point in raising the minimum.
“The Government has failed to meet its obligations and has not kept its promises.”
Labor’s deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek, said the Government should “end the current welfare-based system of low wage employment”, which she said had “been a complete failure to create a real living wage for Australians”.
“Labor and its partners will ensure that employers are held to account for their employers’ policies,” Ms Pliberek said.
Labor’s Immigration spokesman, Chris Bowen, said employers should be required to pay employees a “living wage”.
He said: “We know from a comprehensive analysis of recent wage data that there are hundreds of thousands of people working for low wages in the hospitality industry.
We know the current minimum wage has been in place for more than 15 years.
Labor and our partners will work together to ensure the minimum wages are paid to Australian workers as well as foreign workers.”
Labor says it will use the Senate to bring forward a bill that would require all companies in the ACT to pay a living living wage to employees.
“The Senate has been shown time and again that it is a tool that the Australian people use to vote on the issues they care about,” Mr Bowen said.
Senator David Leylahjelj said Labor will push for “a living wage at least as high as the minimum in the workplace, including the hospitality sector, where it is most advantageous”.
He also said it was time for the Federal Opposition to “move beyond the current immigration mess and work with other political parties in the community to find solutions that provide the best opportunity for the most vulnerable Australians to prosper”.
Labor’s Federal Parliament Speaker Andrew Wilkie said Labor was committed to bringing an end to the current, welfare-driven system of poor wages in Australia.
“Today, we know the cost of living is going up, Australians are struggling, and there is a growing body of evidence showing the negative effects of low wages and precarious working conditions on our communities,” he wrote on Twitter.
“There is no doubt the current policies are harming the economy and damaging our national security.”
As Labor, we are committed to working with other parties in Canberra to find a way forward to a fairer, more sustainable and less exploitative immigration system.