Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Senator for Western Australia


15 February 2023


The Albanese Government has been exposed today as holding a highly hypocritical stance on so-called “insecure work” with revelations that over 1000 contractors and non-ongoing workers are employed by the Department of Employment.

Under questioning by Senator Cash, Department Secretary Natalie James, admitted the flexible arrangements involved in contract work are very attractive to many workers.

“The majority of our non-ongoing, our contractors, our contract workers are in the area of technology, and these are workers that are used to working as contractors,” Ms James said.

“The equivalency in terms of APS salaries is not necessarily practical or attractive to them and that industry,’’ Ms James said.

Senator Cash said: “Labor’s been in Government for nine months now, if they were serious about “cracking down” on insecure work, there wouldn’t be 1000 contractors in the Department of Employment.”

“Minister Tony Burke continues to demonise flexible work arrangements and contracting but his stance has been exposed as completely hypocritical, when his own Department uses over 1000 contractors,’’ Senator Cash said.

“The Secretary of his own Department admitted that for the majority of these workers, working as a contractor was much more attractive to them,’’ she said.

“We have said for a long time that the flexibility of contract work suits many workers and businesses and it is now obvious this includes Minister Tony Burke’s own Department and no doubt other Federal Government Departments,’’ Senator Cash said.

“Mr Burke should either climb off his high horse on this issue or enforce his own policies within his own Department,’’ she said.

“I’m sure many employers and contract workers around the country will take comfort that the Department of Employment finds contract employment an essential plank in their employment arrangements – just like many of those employers do,’’ Senator Cash said.