Take Two: Bill Shorten’s Double Backflip on Wage Market Intervention

Simon Birmingham
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator for South Australia

Two hours ago we said that Bill Shorten had backflipped on the number of childcare workers who would benefit from his unprecedented intervention into the Australian wages market.

Well, it seems he has since backflipped on that backflip.

At his press conference in Tasmania, the Leader of the Opposition claimed that he “would like to give a better pay rise to 140,000 childcare workers” despite having briefed media that only 100,000 people would benefit from his highly irregular labour market intervention.

But, in a demonstration of his extraordinary inability to command even the most basic details of his own signature policies, Mr Shorten surprised his (already surprised) travelling party with news that his second backflip was made in error, and could he please go back to the figure of 100,000 childcare workers he’d been using hours earlier.

And here’s the kicker – according to the latest data, from 2016, there are 195,000 childcare workers in Australia, or 194,994 to be precise.*

So around 95,000 childcare workers will be missing out under Mr Shorten’s irregular and unprecedented economic policy of using taxpayer dollars to top up private sector wages.

Exactly which childcare workers they are is not yet known.

Was the policy costed for 100,000, 140,000 or 195,000 workers?

Until recently, we thought Mr Shorten was refusing to answer.

It’s now clear that he simply does not know and is making it up as he goes.

And if Bill Shorten can’t explain his policies he can’t be trusted to run the economy, let alone the country. And he certainly should not be given an opportunity to siphon off taxpayer dollars to make unilateral payments to workers represented by his favourite unions, ahead of other similarly paid workers.

By the way, what role did United Voice play in developing this astonishing piece of public policy? Is it true Labor has received $12 million from United Voice over the past eight years?

/Public Release. View in full here.