Strong public support for workplace changes, despite concerted business campaign

Media Release - August 1, 2023

The ACTU today has released polling by Essential Research showing very strong support for the Federal Government to act on wages, wage theft and closing loopholes to stop labour hire being used to drive down wages and conditions.

In a warning to the business lobby the polling has also found that the majority of Australians think big business have too much power.

The research was conducted in marginal seats in Queensland and Western Australia from 27th June to 3rd July, and found strong support for Government to act to help workers:

  • 70% agree Government should act to protect workers from wage theft
  • 65% agree Government should act to increase the minimum wage
  • 60% agree Government should act to increase wages for workers in general
  • 56% agree Government should close labour hire loopholes.

The research also found that Australians would be more likely to vote for the Labor Government if they move on workplace legislation:

  • 58% say they are more likely to vote for Labor if they increase the minimum wage
  • 58%  more likely on protecting workers from wage theft
  • 57% on increasing wages in general
  • 47% on closing labor hire loopholes
  • 44% on changing workplace laws to enable unions to negotiate higher wages

On issues of trust, unions are clearly more favourable that big business. Twice as many people believe big business has too much power compared to unions with a massive 59% saying big business had too much power, while 30% said unions had too much power.

Quote attributed to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“This research shows that the big money spent by the business lobby across TV, Radio and Print trying to discredit Government plans to improve workers job security and wages is failing and a waste.

Australians do not trust big business, and will not accept being harangued by the business lobby about what is good for the nation.

Perhaps the business lobby should pay attention and realise that attacking workers’ rights to secure jobs and better pay and a Government that is trying to do something about these issues is against the wishes and interests of the Australian public.

They need to rebuild their relationship with the Australian public, tackle wage theft and insecure work and behave in the national interest, not their own.”

The ACTU Network

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