Page 1111 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 3 May 2022

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acknowledge that they were fought for by workers in the past, including our parents and grandparents. It is important that we remind ourselves and others that these things did not come for free; that they came from the work and the fight of unions and workers in the past.

I want to segue briefly to the federal parliament and electioneering over the last couple of weeks. I was pleased to see an announcement—Mr Davis referred to this, and I think Mr Braddock did as well—around gender inequality in wages for women in the workforce. I was pleased to see, as part of the election commitments by the hopefully future Albanese Labor government, working towards improved gender equality within two sectors that are dominated by women—early childhood education and aged care, as well as disability support.

This announcement gives hope to those workers who have worked for decades, caring, nurturing and providing early childhood education for young people in our community so that the rest of us can go to work. They have been underpaid. When you compare their wages, qualifications and expectations to that of a male with similar qualifications and expectations, their pay can be up to 10 per cent less.

I am pleased that the federal Labor Party has made this commitment to help the Fair Work Commission to understand the issues around wage equity for women workers in these sectors that I have referred to, and particularly that it supports that there should be an equal remuneration principle to help guide that work.

In the past there was never any support from the federal coalition to lift wages. In fact, they opposed it when it was raised within the Fair Work Commission previously, and those workers lost that case. They lost the case for improved wages and conditions for the absolutely vital work—we have certainly seen that through this COVID-19 pandemic—that early childhood educators and others have done to ensure that the rest of us can continue to return to work.

When I was younger I worked for eight years in hospitality. I know very well—and, sadly, can remember very well—what happens when you are unwell, when you have insecurity in the hours that you work each week, because you need to take sick leave or, in some cases, when you are punished for taking sick leave and do not get your rostered shifts for the next week.

Something like this will make such a huge difference to young people’s lives, and to those marginalised people that I referred to previously in my speech today. I think that we should be celebrating that in this Assembly, every single one of us, because this is a win-win for everyone—for workers, for businesses and for our whole community, when we improve the rights and workplace conditions of people who are already experiencing low wages and uncertainty in their work.

Again I congratulate Mr Pettersson on bringing this motion to the Assembly. I look forward to hearing the submissions that are made to the committee, should the motion be passed today. I particularly look forward to the engagement of everybody who wants every single young person, marginalised person, young woman, and person with English as a second language to get a decent crack at happiness because they

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