Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Christensen not backing down on ‘draconian’ IR Bill fight

Dawson MP George Christensen is resisting calls to backflip on the Morrison Government's IR Omnibus Bill, despite pressure from a Labor senator who slammed it as 'draconian workplace changes'.

Labor spokesman for Queensland resources Murray Watt said Queenslanders were still waiting for the Federal Government's promised fix to rampant casualisation in the mining industry.

Mr Watt warned many Mackay workers would be worse off under the bill currently before parliament.

"The IR Omnibus Bill … opens the door to big pay cuts for local workers, while enabling businesses to continue taking advantage of vulnerable casual workers," he said.

"It's not fair that right now, from Mackay to Moranbah, Rockhampton to Middlemount, there are workers side-by-side - one paid through a labour hire company, the other paid as a permanent employee - with up to a 20 per cent difference in their pay each week.

"It's not fair that labour hire workers doing the same shifts on the same rosters year after year can't take a day off when they're sick, and can't qualify for a car loan or a mortgage for their family."

Mr Christensen said his stance had not changed and he would support the bill.

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He said the Federal Government was legislating to ensure casual workers in the mining industry got the right to convert to full-time work.

"Let me be clear about my stance on this issue," Mr Christensen said during a speech in Canberra last month.

"If a casual worker is doing the same work as a permanent worker for a period of time greater than 12 months, they are not casual; they are permanent and they should have the option to formally convert to a permanent role.

"That is an issue that I've campaigned on for many years."

Mr Christensen has previous broken ranks and crossed the floor to vote with Labor in opposition on a penalty rates amendment but it fell one vote short.

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