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‘Missing’: Scott Morrison slammed for track record on working women

Australian women say their job security has worsened and the cost of living has become more unaffordable under the Morrison government as they continue to be paid less on average than men.

More than three in four women surveyed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions said the cost of living had increased in the past year, compared with 67 per cent of men.

Of the 3000 people surveyed, 55 per cent of the women said their job security had worsened over the same period compared with 45 per cent of the men.

The ACTU will on Tuesday release its poll to coincide with the publication of a report that scrutinises Scott Morrison’s track record of supporting women.

Mr Morrison has been contacted for comment.

The union has accused the Prime Minister of “going missing” by not doing enough to improve women’s working conditions, safety and job security.

Its report says women are still shouldering the majority of caring responsibilities and are more likely than men to be in part-time, casual and other forms of insecure work.

Camera IconScott Morrison has been accused of ‘going missing’ by not doing enough to improve women’s lives. NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard Credit: News Corp Australia

Women make up 61 per cent of workers who rely on awards or minimum wages and earn on average $483.30 less per week than a man, according to ABS data analysed for the report.

The report calls on the federal government to do more to address sexual and family violence, noting that women have a two in three chance of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.

There is still no guaranteed right to paid family and domestic violence leave, despite a spike in reported incidents during the pandemic, the report says.

ACTU president Michele O’Neil claims progress for working women has “stalled” and in some cases “gone backwards” since Mr Morrison took office in 2018.

Her union is calling on the federal government to regulate the “overuse” of casual employment, increase the minimum wage and to introduce free and accessible early childhood education and care.

ACTU Michele O'Neil
Camera IconACTU president Michele O’Neil is demanding a raft of changes. NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

“And while the Morrison government refuses to ensure that super is paid on parental leave or regulate the underpayment of women dominated workforces the superannuation gap has continued to grow,” Ms O’Neil said.

“The gap now results in women retiring with half the super of men and older women becoming the fastest growing homeless demographic.”

Ms O’Neil has also called on the Morrison government to implement all the recommendations of the Respect@Work report.

The government last year agreed to some but not all of the recommendations stemming from the major review, which was conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Business groups welcomed the legislated changes, but unions have called for stronger measures such as a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment.

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