THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
TUESDAY, 18 DECEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan to close the gender pay gap; Federal election.
DEBORAH KNIGHT, PRESENTER: The Labor Party has this morning announced its plan to close the gender pay gap by strengthening the ability of the Fair Work Commission to order pay rises for workers in female dominated industries. Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek joining me now from the Labor conference in Adelaide. Good morning to you.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning.
KNIGHT: It sounds good in theory but how will you put this into action?
PLIBERSEK: Well what we'll do is make it easier for the Fair Work Commission to order pay increases in female dominated industries. We'll have a part of the Commission that is expert in determining these issues, they'll be given the resources to do research and investigate where there's gendered undervaluation of work, and they'll be able to order increases. The Commission will be able to take action based on recommendations from the government, based on applications from these industries or at its own initiative and what we've seen in past years - we've got laws that make it possible for industries to take these sorts of actions but we've only seen one successful case so far and that's in the area of the social and community sector, people who work in refuges, who work in drug and alcohol counselling or homelessness services, they got a pay increase - but this year, early childhood educators working in child care centres were actually knocked back and I think anybody who has ever visited a childcare centre would know that that industry, which is 97 per cent female, they work so hard, the work they do is so skilled, it's fanciful to think that those women aren't underpaid.
KNIGHT: Now targeting undervalued feminised industries as you say is one thing, but why not apply this to all industries?
PLIBERSEK: Well people can take action in their own workplaces. So you can, if you believe you're paid less than someone doing an equivalent job in your own workplace, of course you can make an individual complaint. What we're trying to deal with here are the differences between female dominated and male dominated industries because we know that women who work in the most female dominated industries earn about $30,000 less on average per year than men in the most male dominated industries so there's definitely an industry by industry difference and of course, if you're a man working in one of these industries and that industry gets a pay rise, of course you also benefit.
KNIGHT: Now the Treasurer has accused Bill Shorten and Labor of being too cocky about your chances of winning the next election. Do you think you've got it in the bag?
PLIBERSEK: We take nothing for granted. We've seen elections before like the 2001 election where Labor was close to winning and we didn't. We lost. We don't take anything for granted and the reason we're here in Adelaide, having our conference here is to make sure that we are ready, we are prepared for government, that we have the best policies to put forward to the Australian people next year.
KNIGHT: Alright, Tanya Plibersek thank you for your time this morning and we wish you and your family a merry Christmas, thanks again.
PLIBERSEK: You too, and all your viewers. Thank you.