Hon Patrick Gorman MP Doorstop Interview

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Assistant Minister for the Public Service

PATRICK GORMAN, ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER AND ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE: This week in Parliament, we started with the launch of the new consent campaign. To try to ensure that more Australians have respectful relationships and respectful conversations.

On Monday, we started Reconciliation Week where we launched this building – lit up in a beautiful piece of artwork to say that this Parliament is a place that is committed to reconciliation, and that we continue to walk together towards that reconciled future.

On Tuesday, we saw the Parliament continue to debate the Net Zero Economy Authority, looking at how we make sure that those workers who are on the frontline of this economic transition get the support they need, but also the great opportunities that come with the transition to Net Zero. Those new jobs, those new opportunities in wind, solar, hydrogen, and so much more.

On Wednesday, we saw legislation introduced in this Parliament for the new Environmental Protection Australia, a new EPA for Australia. Making sure that we have that strong protection framework to ensure that we have a good approvals process, a streamlined approvals process, but also one that puts our environment first.

And today, Thursday, I’m pleased to say that today’s the day that we open nominations for Australian of the Year. Any Australian can be nominated, and any Australian can nominate. Because Australian of the Year is all about being from the people of Australia, for the people of Australia. You could nominate for Australian of the Year, nominate for Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, or Local Hero. And I’d encourage every Australian to go to australianoftheyear.org.au(link is external) to put forward a nomination.

This is our chance to put forward the 2025 Australian of the Year. A moment that happens on the night before Australia Day that really does bring Australians together. Celebrating the very best of Australia.

So that’s what the Government’s been up to this week in Parliament.

What I had thought we might see – I did have high hopes when we got to Budget Reply last time we were here on Thursday of the last sitting week – that we might have seen some of the plans when it comes to the question of Mr. Dutton’s locations for nuclear reactors.

Where they would be, how much they would cost, and when exactly he’s going to start building them if he were to be elected. We didn’t see those plans. They have stayed secret, locked up in the Coalition’s filing cabinets. But maybe one day, we will.

What we did see, however, this week was a secret plan from Senator Michaelia Cash. Senator Cash’s secret plan to return Australia to the bad old days of WorkChoices, the bad old days where people can be sacked with no notice. The bad old days where people can have their wages undercut for years and years, the bad old days where you get rid of the ‘better off overall’ tests. And the bad old days under the Coalition where you see awards stripped back, cut back and people’s wages going down.

We know that the last government that Senator Cash was in had a deliberate design feature: being low wages. What we are seeing now is they are being completely open, that the deliberate design feature of the policy they’re working on for the next election is again, to get wages going backwards, to undercut terms and conditions for millions of Australian workers.

And we are really proud of what we have done in this Government in just two years to give people more protection, more rights at work, more respect, to get wages moving, and to make sure that we’re getting wages going up in important industries like Aged Care and Early Childhood Education.

I will spend every day between now and the next election making sure that we do not let Michaelia Cash, Mr. Dutton, and their team do what they’ve done every time they’re in Government, which is try to undercut wages, take wages going backwards.

And so if Senator Cash wants to have secret exchanges between herself and the President of the New South Wales Liberal Party, I think it’s about time that Senator Cash and Mr. Dutton come here and explain what exactly it is that they are going to do. And why it is that they think it’s right that millions of Australians should have their wages undercut, gone backwards and why we should return to the bad old days of WorkChoices.

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