In a remarkable act of stubbornness, Peter Malinauskas and Labor have refused to support Independent MP Troy Bell’s compromise proposal – backed by the Marshall Government – that would have seen this Christmas Day declared a public holiday.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said, despite weeks of public protests by ex-union leader Peter Malinauskas and his Shoppies’ union mates that this Christmas Day should be declared a public holiday, Labor voted against a ‘golden opportunity’ to make it happen for tens of thousands of employees, including retail workers.
Mr Bell’s compromise proposal to amend the Holidays Act 1910 (SA) would have resulted in Christmas Day being declared a public holiday with the associated higher penalty rates (250%) in exchange for the removal of the half-day public holiday on Christmas Eve (when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday).
Therefore, the Bill before Parliament to amend the Holidays Act 1910 (SA) has lapsed.
“Ultimately, Mr Malinauskas and Labor have nobody to blame but themselves for refusing to support a reasonable compromise by Independent MP Troy Bell which was supported by the Government,” said Mr Lucas.
“The Government, through South Australian taxpayers, will be already paying higher penalty rates on Christmas Day for many essential public sector workers, including nurses, doctors, police and correctional services officers.
“The last thing small businesses need, particularly those in tourism and hospitality, after more than 18 months of COVID, is to be hit with having to pay 250 per cent penalty rates for 4-and-a-half days in a row over Christmas.”
“The reality is that this added cost burden would have meant some businesses, including restaurants and cafes, would have simply chosen not to open at all, robbing young workers of shifts.
“This is why Master Grocers Australia Independent Retailers, which represent Drakes, Foodland and IGA supermarkets, as well as the Restaurant and Catering Association and the Australian Hotels Association were also opposed to any change to the existing arrangements.
Mr Lucas said Christmas Day had fallen on a Saturday several times before, including most recently under Labor in 2010 and 2004, with no changes made in those years.