It’s been less than a fortnight since the federal election was called and already the Morrison Government has provided some helpful reminders of how they’ve let down workers.
But as we approach election day, it becomes even clearer how little Morrison delivers and how unions are more important than ever.
1. Does Morrison love pay cuts? Because he’s just announced another one.
While many tradies were enjoying a long weekend, Morrison took the opportunity to announce pay cuts.
He said that if re-elected, he will tie pay rises for thousands of construction workers to the rate of increase in the National Minimum Wage.
That means tradies who are on agreements with pay increases higher than the minimum wage will lose out on those wages.
Most of those agreements have come about thanks to union negotiations with employers. And yet Morrison has shown he wants to unravel that hard work to the detriment of construction workers.
This announcement follows the nine years of low wage growth and real pay cuts we have experienced under Coalition Governments. We can’t afford to stay with Morrison any longer.
2. Government contracts for a company paying just over $10 an hour
Austal Ships has long been a recipient of taxpayer dollars thanks to the Morrison Government. The company has also long been stealing wages from its employees.
In early 2020, Austal Ships were found to have exploited their workers, paying Filipino workers on temporary visas a flat rate of $110 per day for working a 10-hour day – including weekends.
Austal employed the migrant workers on short term visas to work in Western Australia as electricians, fitters, and pipe fitters, and did not provide even minimum standards for their employees.
They were not paid a cent in superannuation. That is flagrant wage-theft!
Morrison knew this when he visited Austal Ships this week to award them another multi-million-dollar taxpayer funded grant.
In fact, his Government had already been told twice about the wage-theft.
The exploitation first came to light thanks to the hard work of members of the Electrical Trades Union who were quick to inform the Government two years ago.
Morrison was last informed in writing just over a fortnight ago. That means when he visited Austal, he was fully informed about their dodgy practices.
Only after the ETU lodged an FOI application did they find that Austal Ships had engaged in wage-theft by failing to pay even the minimum Award rate of pay.
ETU Acting National Secretary Michael Wright has already called on the Morrison Government to take immediate action to ensure taxpayers are not financing wage-theft and visa exploitation.
“Australians have a right to expect that their Government is enforcing the laws of the land, not facilitating their breach,” he said.
Yet by providing a lucrative investment to such an unscrupulous company, Morrison has shown his true colours. He can’t be trusted to protect workers.
3. A broken anti-corruption promise
Scott Morrison confirmed that if re-elected he would abandon his pledge to set up a Federal independent commission against corruption (ICAC).
The NSW independent commission against corruption has exposed the extensive Liberal Party culture of money laundering, ethical lapses and misuse of donations.
It’s little wonder that Scott Morrison failed to act over the past three years to introduce a genuine Federal ICAC. Now, he’s trying to lock in his broken promise during the election campaign.
Recent independent polling from The Australia Institute found that there was overwhelming public support for a national integrity commission, with three in four Australians supporting its set-up.
Seven in 10 Australians agreed that not legislating an integrity commission represented a broken election promise.
This is just another example of Scott Morrison going missing — missing on integrity — and another example of why we need to get rid of him.
Here’s the part you can play
It’s been a very long nine years. The Morrison Government has proven time and time again their commitment to their own self-serving interests and big business buddies at the expense of workers.
It’s your choice how you vote at this election, but we need action to improve working conditions and fix worsening wages.
Will you pledge vote to change the Morrison Government?
And you know what? Morrison constantly missing in action just makes the gains union members have made while he’s been in power even more impressive.
We’ve always worked towards purposeful change – sick pay, annual leave, penalty rates, even weekends. Fundamental rights that benefit generations of Australians.
Join almost 2 million other workers and prove that change is much more than an idea; it’s an action we take every day.