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Anthony Albanese has recalled his time working at a famous pancake restaurant and McDonald’s as a young man while spruiking his plan to boost wages for millions of Aussies.
The Labor leader wants to improve work security by limiting fixed-term contracts, changing the definition of a casual worker and giving Uber and Deliveroo drivers at least the minimum wage.
Talking about his plan in a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Albanese said he doesn’t want to end casual work but just help Aussies get permanent jobs if they want them.
The Labor leader has previously spoken about his job at Sydney‘s Pancakes on the Rocks in a social media post alongside a picture from the time he was working there.
Anthony Albanese has recalled his time working at an infamous pancake restaurant and McDonald’s while spruiking his plan to boost wages and help casual staff. He is pictured in the 1980s around the time he worked in the restaurant
Mr Albanese said he used to work 11pm to 7am, adding: ‘ You get some good sights I tell you on a Saturday night’. He said his experience made him believe in the importance of penalty rates
In his press conference on Tuesday, the Labor leader said there is a ‘role for casual work’ and revealed his son Nathan works at Woolworths.
‘It is a good job for him,’ he said.
‘I myself worked casually, I worked a range of jobs at McDonald’s, and Pancakes on the Rocks, that was a good job.’
The restaurant in the heart of Sydney is open all night at the weekend and often filled with revellers pouring out of bars and clubs.
Mr Albanese, who was brought up by a single mum in housing commission in inner-west Sydney, said he used to work from 11pm to 7am, adding: ‘ You get some good sights I tell you on a Saturday night.’
In a Twitter post last year, Mr Albanese said his experience made him believe in the importance of penalty rates and reward for hard work.
He wrote: ‘Penalty rates meant a lot to me when I worked as a casual.
‘I used to wash dishes at Pancakes on the Rocks in Sydney. I worked the 11pm to 7am shift on Saturday nights.
‘It was a tough shift, but the penalty rates made it worth it.’
Pancakes on the Rocks (pictured) in the heart of Sydney is open all night at the weekend and often filled with revellers pouring out of bars and clubs
Penalty rates and minimum wages are set by the independent Fair Work Commission but the body takes into account submissions from government, lobby groups and others.
Mr Albanese has already pledged to make a submission to increase aged care workers’ pay.
He also wants to change the definition of a casual worker so an employee who has regular shifts for a defined time period would be classified as permanent, such as a coal miner who has a 12 month fixed roster.
This would entitle the worker to annual leave, sick leave and great job security.
‘We do think that someone who is working a permanent job with the same shifts permanently every week… and given notice a long time in advance should be classified that way,’ Mr Albanese said on Tuesday.
It came as the Labor leader brushed off his earlier election campaign blunder by quoting Taylor Swift.
While being peppered with questions on Tuesday about his well-publicised failure to recall key economic figures, the Labor leader said ‘my theory is shake it off’.
During a train-wreck press conference in Launceston on Monday, Mr Albanese could not state the cash rate and then wrongly guessed the jobless rate was 5.4 per cent when it’s actually 4 per cent.
Mr Albanese’s son Nathan (left) works casually at Woolworths while studying at university
Labor leader caught out claiming casual work is on the rise
By Stephen Johnson
The Opposition Leader has repeatedly claimed Australia’s rate of casual work has been increasing when it has actually been falling for the past two decades.
Mr Albanese, who has an economics degree, on Tuesday stood by his casual work claims as he campaigned in the Labor-held south-east Tasmanian seat of Lyons.
‘We’re not exaggerating the level of insecure work and there’s a range of areas in which it’s happening,’ he told reporters at Longford.
Australia’s level of casualisation peaked at 27.6 per cent in August 2003 and dropped to 24.1 per cent in February 2020 just before the national Covid lockdowns.
It fell to 22.5 per cent in August 2021 and slipped further to 20.8 per cent in February this year.
The ABS figures, however, classify casual workers as a share of employees on the payroll while Mr Albanese and Labor are concerned about the rise in contractor labour, used by the likes of Uber and Deliveroo.