News National Bill Shorten takes penalty rates message to Tassie

Bill Shorten takes penalty rates message to Tassie

Bill Shorten
Protecting penalty rates for all workers is central to the ALP leader's pitch to voters. Photo: AAP
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Labor leader Bill Shorten will step up his push to protect penalty rates when he addresses the party faithful at Tasmania’s state ALP conference on Saturday.

Tasmanian opposition leader Rebecca White is expected to announce candidates for the upcoming state election at the George Town conference, to be attended by about 200 party members.

Mr Shorten says that Saturday will be a “dark day for Australia’s workforce,” because from July 1 millionaires get a tax cut and about 700,000 low-paid workers lose some of their penalty rates under a Fair Work Commission decision.

“The decision to cut penalty rates is one that Malcolm Turnbull can stop,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane on Friday.

“What Malcolm Turnbull has to realise is he can’t sit in the grandstand of life and be called prime minister without doing his day job.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison said Mr Shorten was “playing politics with peoples’ lives”.

Unions have joined with Labor in disputing the penalty rate cuts, which will be partially cushioned by the national minimum wage rising by 3.3 per cent.

United Voice members are speaking to local businesses and asking them to “do the right thing” by their staff.

“This weekend, when you’re at a cafe or restaurant, a pub, bar or club – ask the boss whether they are standing by their workers or not,” the hospitality union national secretary Jo-anne Schofield said.

“Urge them to do the right thing by their workers who give up their weekends.”

A case management involving United Voice and the Australian Hotels Association and others is set down for the Federal Court in Melbourne on Wednesday.