The Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for workers in certain industries forebodes a new battle between Labor and the Coalition. Michelle Grattan and University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deep Saini, examine the fallout from the ruling.
“Certainly Bill Shorten has taken up this issue very strongly and said that Labor will fight the decision. If it can’t get any change it will - when in government - legislate to essentially clip the wings of the Fair Work Commission,” Grattan says.
“Now the Commission is an independent body. It’s the industrial umpire and so the government can say: ‘well, it’s not us. It was the umpire’. Of course this decision appeals to the base of the conservative parties but I think it presents a real problem for Malcolm Turnbull because people will lose money.”
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra