Bill Shorten pushes for minimum wage rise

| 07.03,19. 01:13 PM |

Bill Shorten pushes for minimum wage rise


Bill Shorten said the current minimum wage is not enough. (AAP)


Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has pushed for a rise in the minimum wage.


Mr Shorten said the minimum wage would still be set by the independent umpire under a Labor government, but argued it needed to be higher.


"People that work full time in Australia should earn enough that they are not living in poverty," he told reporters in Melbourne this morning.


"$18.93 an hour for an Australian adult working full time is not enough."


Mr Shorten called for a clamp down on wages theft, fairer penalty rates and gender equality in paycheques.


"Australian adults should be able to earn enough money that they should not be living in poverty," he said.


"We want to make sure that women in Australia are paid as much as men.


"We want to make sure that casuals in this country have a fair go."


Mr Shorten said it was necessary for the government to have a wages policy because prices were rising across the country.


"If you're the chairman of the ABC, they'll give you a million and a half bucks to go away," he said.


"Other than that, the government doesn't have a wages policy."


The opposition leader was referring to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie, who was paid $1.64 million in settlements and payouts after her sacking last year.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the economy was "facing stiff headwinds".


"Wages growth will come with economic growth," Mr Morrison told reporters in Perth today.


"Wages growth won't come with higher taxes which is what Bill Shorten is supporting.


"The only wages I can be sure he'll increase are the wages of people smugglers."


Stagnating wages have been blamed for sluggish economic data released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


The economy grew just 0.2 per cent in the December quarter, a figure that some economists have described as putting Australia into a "per capita recession".


Mr Morrison dismissed suggestions that Australia was in a "per capita recession".


"This is not an economic term that any economist has any recognition of," he said.


"I'm not going to engage in the made-up statistics that the Labor Party are talking about."


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