Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan has just declared that cuts to penalty rates are “great for our youth”, in a bold electoral strategy sure to endear him to the young.
By by Sam Langford
Hogan, who is famously not a young person, made the comments while speaking to ABC Radio this morning. “Young people are saying to me that they want more jobs,” he said. “The people that are saying that this is a good idea are the small family businesses and the small cafes, who say at the moment they have to pay more than the big chains for workers on a Sunday.”
“As these rates come down they’ll employ more people and open more on a Sunday, and that’s great for our youth.”
Penalty rates, in case you’re a doofus like Hogan, are the higher wages paid to casual workers when they work on weekends, public holidays and so forth, and it’s pretty clear that cutting them hurts the young people who earn less without them.
How do we know this? Oh, only because the government has been cutting penalty rates since 2017, and will enact further cuts if elected. Not that the government seems particularly interested in discussing this — see for instance this video of Liberal MP Steve Irons going off at a voter who asked him about his support for penalty rate cuts. Someone’s feeling the pressure, clearly.
Reckon some Liberal MPs like Steve Irons are a bit on edge hey. pic.twitter.com/J1JTTKXkpY
— Matt Burke (@matttburke) May 13, 2019
Penalty rate cuts don’t just affect young workers, either. Plenty of Australians work in jobs that entitle them to penalty rates, and plenty of Australians depend on those penalty rates to make ends meet. Perhaps Kevin Hogan should consider that young people aren’t just looking for more work — they’re looking for more work that pays.
Anyway, if you’re in Hogan’s electorate of Page, make sure you know what he stands for. Just to make sure you’re on the same Page (sorry, but not sorry).
The above was first published at Junkee on Wednesday 15 May 2019.
Editors note: Mr Hogan’s claims don’t seem to match the statement made by Council of Small Business Australia Chief Executive Peter Strong on 26 April last that the penalty rate cuts ‘failed to create one new job’.