A Tasmanian senator has argued that atheists, agnostics and polytheists should not be entitled to penalty rates for working religious holidays. The former employment and workplace relations minister Eric Abetz made the helpful contribution at a Liberal Party branch meeting in Tasmania over the long weekend.
In an impassive and measured speech, Mr Abetz argued that the impasse on non-Abrahamic voters to work on Christmas, Easter Sunday and Good Friday was insignificant as they held no great religious attachment to the date. Senator Abetz went on to liken atheists receiving penalty rates on Good Friday to Western Australian’s receiving penalty rates on Melbourne Cup Day.
“The concept of penalty rates is to compensate workers for working unsociable or undesirable hours,” said the former minister, adding: “It is not logical for irreligious, or Godless Australians to be paid exorbitant amounts for what is essentially a regulation day of work.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rushed to congratulate his former cabinet colleague on what he described as a “selfless and courageous” contribution to the policy debate. Mr Abbott added that Prime Minister Turnbull was fortunate to have such agile and innovative policy ideas from his backbench.