Closing the Loopholes Bill passes Parliament

By Senator Jana Stewart's Office: (03) 9070 1920 | Jamie Travers (Burke) – 0499 781 130

21 December 2023

Senator Jana Stewart
Labor Senator for Victoria


The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for The Arts
Leader of the House


We know that many Australians are doing it tough right now dealing with the cost of living. Getting wages moving is a key part of the Government’s plan to help Australians deal with that. 


The Albanese Labor Government has now passed its Closing Loopholes Bill, which will:  

  • Stop companies underpaying workers through the use of labour hire 
  • Criminalise intentional wage theft 
  • Introduce a new criminal offence of industrial manslaughter 
  • Ensure better support first responders with PTSD 
  • Protect workers subjected to family and domestic violence from discrimination at work 
  • Expand the functions of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency to include silica 
  • Close the loophole in which large businesses claim small business exemptions during insolvency to avoid redundancy payments 


This Bill closes loopholes that certain employers use to undercut wages, conditions and safety for Australian workers.  


Peter Dutton and the Coalition had an opportunity to vote to protect workers’ wages, safety and conditions. 


Once again, they chose not to – voting against Closing Loopholes. 


They’ve now voted 36 times against legislation to get wages moving. 


They spent a decade in government deliberately keeping wages low – admitting it was a deliberate design feature of their economic architecture. 


They might be in Opposition now – but nothing has changed. They still want to keep wages low and hold workers back. 


We’re taking the opposite approach. Getting wages moving again is a deliberate design feature of the Albanese Labor Government. 


There have now been two consecutive quarters where real wages are growing.  


Wages growth came in at 4 per cent in the September quarter – the highest quarterly growth in the 26-year history of the Wage Price Index 


Under the Albanese Labor Government unemployment is at historic lows, wages are moving again after a decade of stagnation, industrial action has fallen and the gender pay gap is at the lowest level on record.  


Quotes attributable to Minster for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Burke:  


“Passing our Closing Loopholes law is good for workers’ wages and it’s good for workers’ safety. 


“Getting wages moving again is key to dealing with the cost of living, but to do that we need to stop the underpayment of workers.  


“These new laws do that by closing the labour hire loophole and finally making wage theft a crime.”  



Quotes attributable to Senator for Victoria, Jana Stewart: 


“Protecting workers’ entitlements and getting wages moving again is a key part of the Government’s plan to help Victorians deal with the cost of living.” 


“These laws strengthen the current workplace relations framework and provide certainty, fairness and a level playing field for both businesses and workers.” 


“Peter Dutton and the Liberals and Nationals have voted against this legislation every step of the way. They still want to keep wages low and hold workers back.”  


“Gig workers deserve the same basic minimum standards that apply to other workers. We urgently need to close the loopholes in the unregulated gig economy so rideshare drivers and food couriers can receive a minimum wage and basic working standards and conditions.”