Statement from ACTU Secretary Sally McManus in response to Christian Porter

ACTU Media Release | Wednesday 18 March 2020

Australian workers are crying out for assistance from Scott Morrison’s government as the nasty reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is dawning on them.

What they’re discovering is that this government has decided to leave them stranded.

Australian workers are facing a frightening health crisis, crippling unemployment, and potential financial ruin.

And what’s the government’s solution? Welfare and despair.

To have the Industrial Relations Minister, Christian Porter, go out day after day peddling a policy of throwing people onto welfare when the Newstart payment is only $40 a day is disgraceful, ideological and out of touch with the reality faced by millions of working Australians.

Working people need two weeks paid special leave if they have been impacted by Coronavirus whether by illness, additional caring responsibilities or lost work.

To be blunt, the Morrison Government is abandoning millions of Australian workers at a time when they need their government to make the well-being of ordinary Australians its top priority.

If Christian Porter thinks the $40 a day offered by Newstart - which we have long argued is woefully inadequate - is a way for Australian workers to ride out the economic tidal wave approaching, he is either stunningly ignorant or wilfully indifferent to the reality many Australian workers now face.

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