Leaders clash over low-wage wage hikes | Liverpool City Champion
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese traded barbs over workers’ wage increases and the cost of living during the third and final leaders’ debate before Election Day.
But the debate, organized by Seven Network on Wednesday evening before the vote on May 21, was more civil and less glaring than their previous meeting on Sunday.
Mr Albanese made his point on wages, arguing that low-wage workers, including cleaners and older workers, were the “heroes of the pandemic” and deserved “more than our thanks”.
“I want a better future where we face the cost of living crisis, where everything goes up except people’s salaries,” he said.
Mr Albanese, who earlier this week said he would ‘absolutely’ support raising the wages of low-paid workers in line with inflation, said a 5 per cent rise was equivalent to about ‘two cups of coffee per day” or $1 per hour for employees. minimum wage of $20.33 per hour.
While Mr Morrison also backed a pay rise – although he didn’t put a figure on it – he also warned that smaller businesses would struggle to cope with a rise in payrolls ‘on top of all the other things they face.”
“People won’t worry about their salary, they will worry about whether they have a job,” he said.
Mr Morrison also reiterated his characterization of Mr Albanese as a ‘loose unit’ on the economy, prompting Mr Albanese, who has an economics degree, to respond that the Prime Minister used to blame others when the things were getting difficult.
Any increase in wages for low-paid workers will be decided by the Fair Work Commission, which usually takes into account the rate of inflation.
When asked if Labor would make a submission to the FWC, shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the commission would know what the party’s view was.
“People know our position on this,” he told ABC television on Wednesday.
Businesses are against a 5% wage increase, suggesting a figure of around 3% or less, while unions are pushing for a 5.5% increase.
On integrity, Mr Albanese reaffirmed his campaign promise to establish a national anti-corruption watchdog if Labor wins government.
“We need to clean up politics and we need a national anti-corruption commission and one with teeth,” he said.
“Under the model proposed by Mr Morrison, ministers would decide… whether something was referred to an anti-corruption commission. It must be independent of politics.”
In response, Mr Morrison blamed Labor for not backing the Government’s version and said it needed to be ‘crafted correctly’.
Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has said his sidelined minister Alan Tudge would be welcome in the inner sanctum if his coalition government wins re-election.
In December, Mr Tudge resigned as education minister after being accused of psychological and physical abuse by former coalition staffer Rachelle Miller, with whom he had a consensual affair.
Mr Tudge denied the allegations.
‘He has not resigned as minister nor has he been removed from office,’ Mr Morrison said.
“He will be happy to come back and serve in the ministry and I look forward to that.”
A “pub test” conducted by Seven attributed the debate to Mr Albanese.
Meanwhile, a YouGov poll commissioned by The Australian and published late Wednesday indicates the government was defeated in the election.
The survey of nearly 19,000 voters in the lower house’s 151 constituencies suggests Labor could win 80 seats to 63 for the coalition, including seven seats for the independents and one for the Greens.
The predicted result would see Labor win 12 seats, giving it a five-seat majority in the House of Representatives.
Australian Associated Press