News National Labor pledge on paid domestic violence leave
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Labor pledge on paid domestic violence leave

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Australian workers would be entitled to paid domestic violence leave after Labor pledged to make it law if it wins federal government.

The ALP national conference carried a motion stating Labor was committed to domestic violence leave as a universal workplace right with “appropriate” paid leave and employer support.

“This chapter will ensure that survivors of domestic violence have access to support and paid leave in their workplace,” ACTU secretary Dave Oliver told the conference in Melbourne on Sunday.

Bali executions condemned

Labor has formally condemned Indonesia’s execution of Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

The party’s national conference today passed a resolution that “condemns these executions in the strongest possible terms” and commits a future Labor federal government to push for a global moratorium on the death penalty.

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Drug smugglers Chan and Sukumaran were executed by firing squad in late April amid an outcry from Australia at Indonesia’s continued use of the death penalty.

Tax avoidance plan

Labor says adopting the “Warren Buffett rule” to stop Australian high income earners from avoiding their tax obligations will be enormously popular, but won’t commit to it just yet.

The ALP national conference has agreed only to consider an Australian version of the rule – named after US billionaire Warren Buffett and which proposes imposing a minimum 30 per cent rate on people making more that $US1 million a year.

Federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese says it’s about fairness, not “the politics of envy”.

“If you earn a certain amount of income, then you should pay some minimum of tax and shouldn’t be able to reduce your tax to zero,” he said.

“Because what that does is place the burden on ordinary PAYE taxpayers and what (the) conference has decided is we would give consideration to that when we are in government.”

Mr Albanese said Labor couldn’t get to a stronger policy position than that without the aid of Treasury analysis.

“This will have enormous support in the community,” he added.

The so-called rule emerged after Mr Buffett wrote in 2011 that it was unfair he paid a lower federal tax rate than his secretary.

The Australia Institute think tank has proposed a 35 per cent minimum tax rate for those earning more than $300,000 a year.

This would raise an additional $2.5 billion annually from the top one per cent of income earners.

Mr Albanese said 75 Australian millionaires earned a combined $195 million in 2011/12 but paid effectively no tax – he pegged their payment at $82 – after bringing in lawyers and accountants to reduce their bills.

“People know there is something wrong when your average teacher is paying more than people who are earning millions of dollars each year,” he said.

Shorten wants to broaden party membership

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has called on the party to broaden its membership to include people who aren’t involved in unions.The final day of the ALP national conference in Melbourne will discuss motions to change party rules and boost membership.

Mr Shorten said at the start of Sunday’s session the party must modernise if it’s to grow and diversify.

“We should be aiming to be a party of 100,000 members – a Labor party that people want to join because membership guarantees a meaningful say, not just as elected delegates to our conference, but in shaping our platform and policies,” he said.

While he was proud to be a union member and applauded the achievements of unions, ALP membership should be open to “Australians from all walks of life”.

Mr Shorten also called for members to have a greater say in House of Representatives candidate selection and Senate pre-selections.

He was optimistic Labor could achieve its goal to have 50 per cent female MPs in the federal parliament by 2025.

Mr Shorten also pointed to the robust debate on the floor of the conference on Saturday on the issue of asylum seeker boat turnbacks.

“We are a modern, democratic and confident political party,” he said.

“We take our issues out in the open and trust Australians to understand and respect the conclusions which we reach.”

Senator Kim Carr, a key figure in the party’s Left faction, said greater participation in party activities, such as preselections and conferences, was important.

“But we’ve also got to make sure that representation is spread across the country, it’s fair and we’re able to ensure the proper participation of trade unions and make sure that we don’t lose our blue-collar character,” he told Sky News.

The reform debate is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.