Senator Hon Katy Gallagher Radio Interview – ABC AM

Minister for Finance, Minister for Women, Minister for the Public Service

DAVID LIPSON, HOST: Well, Katy Gallagher is the federal Minister for Finance and the Minister for Women. She joined me a short time ago. Katy Gallagher, thanks for joining us. What does this list tell us about the task at hand when it comes to gender pay?

SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER, MINISTER FOR WOMEN: Well, the publication of this data I think really is to shine a light, show some transparency around what’s happening in workplaces across Australia and to drive improved performance. So, I don’t think it’s surprising in the fact that we’ve got a lot of businesses where there is a substantial gender pay gap. There’s a smaller number of places where it’s neutral, and there’s an even smaller number of places where women in particular are getting ahead in terms of pay. So, this is really about driving improved performance, making sure businesses understand what is going on in their own business and trying to get a better deal and more gender pay equality.

LIPSON: You’ve said the gender pay gap is costing the economy $52 billion a year. That sounds like a lot. How do you come to that figure?

GALLAGHER: Yeah, I mean, it is a complex problem but it’s, you know, looking at the cost of underutilisation of women, of women making choices about the nature of the work they do, and driving equality in the workplace will mean more productive businesses. We see that where the data is, where there’s a number, equality on boards, equality in the workplace, that those businesses have improved performance. But we’re not pretending that it’s an easy solution to solve, it hasn’t – it’s been around for a long time and we need to make sure we’re doing what we can to drive better outcomes.

LIPSON: So, what is the next step, then, to drive those outcomes?

GALLAGHER: Well, this is really – I guess the publication is shining a bit of light. That in itself, I think, when we’ve seen it in other jurisdictions, has driven improved performance. Businesses will be required to report to their boards about this as they provide that information to WGEA, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. That in itself, I think, will drive improved performance. It’s not about naming and shaming. I know people will take this data and use it to, you know, list the businesses with the biggest gender pay gap and all that. But that isn’t the intention behind this. This is about transparency, accountability and driving improved performance at an individual business level.

LIPSON: More broadly on wages, wages growth is now higher than inflation. If that persists, is that going to keep inflation higher for longer?

GALLAGHER: Well, you know, we’ve been obviously looking at this closely and wages growth definitely isn’t the reason why we have high inflation in this country. We want to get real wages growth happening. We’re seeing that for the first time in many years now. And certainly, we’ve had three quarters of positive wages growth. But the advice from Treasury and the RBA is that wages growth is not fuelling inflation. But obviously, this is something the government keeps a close eye on.

LIPSON: Just a couple of quick ones, do you think police should get to march in Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade?

GALLAGHER: Well I think, firstly, I extend our condolences to the two men who have been killed in New South Wales. I think this ultimately is a matter for the Mardi Gras board. I have no doubt that they consider these matters really carefully. And I understand that that community in particular in New South Wales is really feeling right now. So –

LIPSON: So, you’re happy for police to be excluded?

GALLAGHER: Well, look, I think this is a terribly tragic situation. I think the board makes these decisions. And I think they make these decisions carefully. I have no doubt they’re doing that. It’s tough, you know? And I don’t think these decisions are easy. But I also acknowledge there’s a lot of people grieving in the community that hosts the Mardi Gras.

LIPSON: And any final farewell words to Scott Morrison ahead of his valedictory speech today?

GALLAGHER: Well, look, I think the best thing to say when someone’s leaving the Parliament is to wish them well, to wish them and their family well, we all serve the public when we’re in the Parliament. We leave with, I guess, different views across the parliament, but ultimately he served his country and I hope his post-Parliament life for him and his family is a good one.

LIPSON: Katy Gallagher, thanks for being with us.

GALLAGHER: Thanks very much, David.

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