Doorstop, Parliament House Canberra | Ministers’ Media Centre
SUBJECTS: The greatest pub rock band in the entire Parliament playing with The Wiggles, Energy bills, closing the labour hire loophole, Tina Turner.
REPORTER: How was The Wiggles last night?
TONY BURKE MP, MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS, MINISTER FOR THE ARTS: They have now played with the greatest pub rock band in the Australian Parliament. There’s not many pub rock bands in the Australian Parliament but it was a hell of a lot of fun. But importantly last night as well, it was about saying, we need to keep backing Australian children’s storytelling. And there’ll be decisions we take later this year on streaming quotas and things like that, that are going be really important.
REPORTER: Power bills are still going to go up from July 1 the Australian energy regulators releasing its final draft market offer today. What do you have to say to people who are about to cop that price rise and that are not eligible for this $500 in bill relief?
BURKE: Let’s remember, as well as the bill relief, there were changes made last year that put some constraints on pricing and what happens there. Whatever the figures are today, it would have been worse, were it not for the fact that the Government acted. There’s issues on international pressures there, which government isn’t in control of, but where government can have an impact putting downward pressure on prices we’ve been doing it.
REPORTER: BHP has warned the crackdown on labour hire will cost them more than a billion and threaten jobs. Are you worried about the impacts?
BURKE: I’ve got no idea how they came up with the $1 billion figure on legislation that hasn’t been written. I don’t understand how they can do that. But the principle here is a really important one. Whether it’s BHP, or whatever company, a business has already decided what a job is worth. They’ve agreed with their workers that that’s what should be paid, and then go off to a labour hire firm, and go for a cheaper rate of pay. That’s a loophole and we need to close it.
REPORTER: And just wait – sorry, also what can we expect from the next tranche of IR reforms?
BURKE: We’ll be closing loopholes in the next tranche, and there’s a few loopholes to be closed. At the moment, wage theft is not a crime. If you steal from the till, it’s a criminal offence. If the employer steals from you, it’s not. That loophole needs to be closed, we need to make sure that in the gig economy, we’ve got some minimum standards there, and we also need to make sure that the labour hire loophole gets closed.
REPORTER: And just lastly, from one music legend to another, Tina Turner has passed away, aged 83. Any comments on that?
BURKE: Tina was so high energy, so high energy, and everybody now will be remembering not just watching Tina, but their own moments. Whether it was rushing onto the dance floor for ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ or ‘Nutbush’, where if you couldn’t dance, you at least knew what to do. The energy of Tina Turner infected everybody, and whether it’s people who are artists who are inspired by her, or just those of us who love the energy of the music – everybody’s feeling the loss today.