Rockhampton Doorstop Interview

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Interviews

Thursday, 22nd July 2021

Rockhampton Doorstop Interview

with Labor Candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson

SUBJECTS: Job security; casualisation of the mining workforce; Federal Government undermining wages and conditions; same job, same pay; vaccine rollout; Scott Morrison failing Australians during a pandemic; confusion around messaging during a health pandemic; sitting of Parliament.

RUSSELL ROBERTSON, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CAPRICORNIA: I'm here in Rocky with Anthony Albanese, the Federal Labor Leader, and the Senate candidate in Queensland, Edwina Andrew. And it's great to have Albo back in here. We've just been speaking to a roomful of coal miners about job security, same job and same pay. We've also touched on the $15 billion manufacturing fund that Albo has announced. It shows again what a great friend Albo is to CQ, and his absolute support for me as a candidate, and Edwina. The fact that we know how important Queensland is to the state and the national economy, and the importance of job creation, and importantly, same job, same pay, particularly to make sure that we can make our workplaces safer. That's one of the key focuses in my campaign. To make sure that we can stamp out dodgy labour hire, get rid of casualisation and bring some real manufacturing jobs back to Rocky and broader CQ. For that, I want to hand over to Albo and make sure that he can then give you some more information on those particular matters. Albo?

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Well, thanks very much, Robbo. It's good to be back in Rocky with yourself and Edwina, our candidate for the Senate, who's based, of course, in Townsville. And it was a great opportunity once again today to speak to coal miners. To speak to coal miners about the issues and concerns that they have on the job. What they're worried about is secure work. They know that they're seeing, and confirmed through the Senate committee, that half, or more than half, of coal miners' jobs here in Queensland are now subject to labour hire. And what we're seeing is that labour hire workers can be paid up to $40,000 less than the people they are working next door to, doing exactly the same job with less conditions. What that's doing is undermining wages and conditions. And we need same job, same pay. We need also to recognise that security of employment needs to be an objective of the Fair Work Act. Without secure employment, people can't get a mortgage, people can't make decisions about whether to have their first child or the extra child. People are under real pressure. And what we've seen from the mining companies is people employed through labour hire companies, sometimes dodgy labour hire companies, sometimes companies that are just shelf companies, in order to undermine wages. And what we see from the Federal Government is spending $400,000 on legal fees in order to back in the undermining of wages and conditions, in order to further undermine the principle of same job, same pay. Well, a Labor Government that I lead will legislate for same job, same pay. It will legislate against wage theft. It will legislate to make sure there's a proper definition of a casual employee. It will make sure that wages increase. And the reason why this is important isn't just about wages and conditions. What I've heard today, and I heard in Moranbah a couple of weeks ago, was that if people don't have the security of employment, it also has an impact on occupational health and safety in an area that is a dangerous industry. Because if you don't have the security of employment, you're less likely to be in a position to speak up about safety issues in the workplace. And that's why this is an issue that must be addressed. The current Government likes to talk about the mining industry. But it never speaks about the needs of mine workers. Those people who are actually producing the value, who are doing the hard work, who are producing the profits for businesses, a lot of which just goes into overseas shareholders. I will stand up for mine workers. So will Robbo, so will Edwina, so will Shane, our candidate for Dawson, and Matt, our candidate for Flynn. And later today, I'll visit the Callide Power Station to talk to workers there with Matt Burnett, our candidate, again talking about the security of work that is so important as a priority going forward. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: There's a reluctance among some people over 60 to get AstraZeneca. Do you think their minds can be changed?

ALBANESE: Well, I certainly hope so. Because what we know is that we need to listen to the science. We need to listen to the health advice. And the health advice is clear through ATAGI that people over 60 should get AstraZeneca, that the Pfizer vaccine is the preferred vaccine, but people should consult with their doctors for people under a certain age. But we need people to get vaccinated in this country. I think part of the problem has been the different advice which has been coming forward. And the various interventions at different times from the Prime Minister I don't think have been helpful in building confidence.

JOURNALIST: To people under 40 who are living in those COVID hotspots, what's your message to them? Should they get AstraZeneca? 

ALBANESE: My message to them is I'm not a doctor. And I'm not about to give health advice. And it's not appropriate for politicians to second guess the science. They should take the advice, which is there of their doctor, and have a look at the advice that has been put out by ATAGI, the Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. These are people who spent a long time studying these issues. And they shouldn't be second guessed by politicians. 

JOURNALIST: We've heard, sadly, the news that a Tasmanian man in his 40s has died from blood clots. What's your response to that? He received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

ALBANESE: Any death is an absolute tragedy. And my heart goes out to his family and his friends. 

JOURNALIST: Are you worried at all about Parliament being postponed given the volatile situation with lockdowns?

ALBANESE: Well, I think it's important that our democracy function. And Parliament needs to sit so that the Government is held to account and so that we provide appropriate support to people. There are 14 million Australians being locked down at the moment. Parliament showed last year we are able to be flexible. Labor will certainly offer pairs for anyone who is unable to attend as a result of the restrictions which are there. Thank you.

ENDS

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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