Bill Shorten ‘just a phone call away from overturning FWC decrees’

The Australian, July 4, 2017

Scott Morrison has accused Bill Shorten of being a phone call from a union official away from overturning any decision from the independent Fair Work ­Commission.

Days after the commission’s recommendation for certain ­industries’ penalty rates to be slashed came into effect, the Treasurer said it would be a “mad system” of uncertainty if the opposition were in charge.

“That’s a mad system. Ser­iously, that’s not an independent commission,” he told Sky News yesterday.

“There would be no certainty in this country when it comes to the independent process of the Fair Work Commission if all that had to happen was that Bill Shorten was having a bad day and got a call from a union official. We don’t support that mad system.”

In February the commission recommended Sunday penalty rates be cut to bring them into line with Saturday rates.

Labor, despite establishing the independent body in 2009, has pledged to overturn the cuts within 100 days of taking office.

In the retail industry, Sunday penalty rates have been slashed from 200 to 150 per cent for full and part-time workers. In hospitality, Sunday rates have been cut from 175 to 150 per cent.

Mr Morrison insisted it was not the government’s decision to cut penalty rates, but it would honour the commission’s decision.

“What’s good for the economy is growing business,” he said.

“If they haven’t supported the State Government’s position they need to take more notice of it,” he said.

“It’s time that people get real about this and actually start to get this on the agenda for the national debate.”