Doorstop Interview – Canberra – Friday 31 March 2023


SUBJECTS: Minimum wage, Aston by-election

JOURNALIST: So the Fair Work Commission is meeting to review the minimum wage rate, what do you think it should be lifted by if at all?

JASON CLARE, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: I think the Treasurer and the Minister of Workplace Relations have put out a statement on that and they’ll be making some further comments today. The key point to make here is we don’t want to see the lowest paid workers in Australia go backwards. We don’t have a challenge with inflation because low paid workers are paid too much in Australia. We made this point in the election campaign last year where we said we wanted to make sure that the lowest-paid workers in Australia don’t go backwards. And that’s the same case this year.

JOURNALIST: Yeah, well, the unions are saying that a 7 per cent increase would be the best possible outcome. Does that sound about right to you?

CLARE: We haven’t put a number on it, but what we’ve said is we don’t want to see the lowest paid workers in Australia go backwards.

JOURNALIST: Gas tax on bigger profits, what do you think?

CLARE: I’ll leave that to the Treasurer and the ministers responsible for that area.

JOURNALIST: In Aston, what’s your feeling about the upcoming by-election? Do you think local issues are resonating there or Melbourne, state issues, what’s happening federally with housing and the likes is going to impact the result?

CLARE: In any election, whether it’s a by-election or a general election, people vote on lots of different issues and cast their vote for lots of different reasons. One thing’s for sure though, the Liberals are the red-hot favourites here. They have to be. No government has won a by-election from an opposition in 100 years. In the 2019 election, the Liberal primary vote in Aston was above 50 per cent. We couldn’t win the seat of Aston at the last election last year and we had Scott Morrison working for us in that election campaign. So the Libs are the red hot favourites. You would have to expect that they would win the seat on the weekend.

JOURNALIST: Is Peter Dutton working for you this time?

CLARE: Peter Dutton isn’t the most popular fellow in Melbourne, that’s for sure.

JOURNALIST: Will the PM go down to Aston, he’s in Brisbane this morning?

CLARE: Well he’s been in Aston a number of times. Okay, thanks very much.