February 15, 2017

Revelations over the weekend of the scale of alleged exploitation of workers at Domino’s pizza chain are shocking.
We have reached a stage where wage rip-offs, visa fraud and cashback scandals are distressingly common place and yet may only be the tip of the iceberg.
In recent years, Australians have been exposed to examples of horrific exploitation of workers.
Australians were rightly shocked at the footage revealed by Fairfax/ABC of underpaid workers at 7-Eleven convenience stores being forced to pay back their reimbursed wages in a disturbing cash-back scandal. 
Just yesterday, a former Domino’s manager who was underpaid and faced deportation because of a visa deal gone wrong tweeted:
“Another sleepless night, only a week left till I need to find a way to stay in Aus. Stop playing with people’s future #Dominos. God help plz.”
No worker in Australia should be treated like this. It is just wrong.
Employers who deliberately underpay their employees not only deny Australian workers a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, they also undercut employers who are doing the right thing for their workforce. It’s a distortion of the market that drags down Australian wages.
Nearly eight months have passed since the election. That’s eight parliamentary sitting weeks, during which this Turnbull Government has rammed through two anti-worker pieces of legislation but has failed to enact one single measure that will prevent widespread exploitation occurring in workplaces across the land.
It’s not as though the Government wasn’t aware of what is going on, but its only response was to set up a Ministerial Working Group that sat idle. They could have supported Labor’s legislation, introduced twelve months ago, to protect vulnerable workers, but the Turnbull Government is sitting on its hands. 
It’s only because of public revelations by Fairfax including recent allegations that  Domino’s pizza stores have been engaged in underpayment of workers and visa fraud, that this Government has decided to announce that it will introduce legislation.
Labor has constantly demanded the Government bring forward legislation and will scrutinize the proposed Bill due this week to make sure it genuinely protects workers.
Make no mistake however, this Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to introduce legislation, which should have come years ago, into parliament this week.
If it has any resemblance to their election policy, which was a lame attempt to trick Australians into believing they care about protecting vulnerable workers, it will not go far enough.
Australians have every right to ask why Mr Turnbull and his Government have not prioritised taking action in response to worker exploitation?
For more than three years the Abbott-Turnbull Government had the chance to legislate changes to ensure workers do not get ripped off, but they have failed.
Australians have always believed in the fair go in workplaces. Pity Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t share the same views.