We should congratulate Richard Di Natale

It looks like the Greens leader Richard Di Natale is being entrepreneurial and creating employment opportunities.

SELF-declared champion of underpaid workers, Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, has defended paying backpackers $150 a week to look after his children and work on his farm.

Despite railing against possible cuts to penalty rates and against underpayments, Senator Di Natale has hired three au pairs since entering Parliament and paid them $150 a week. He provided room and board, which he valued at $300 a week.

The rate of pay is less than a quarter of the full time minimum wage of $606.40 a week in 2012.

It seems people are willing to work at less than the minimum wage. I understand the good doctor may be somewhat embarrassed by the revelation that he pays well below the minimum wage, but he has provided employment opportunities to people who otherwise wouldn’t have had a job. Well done.

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58 Responses to We should congratulate Richard Di Natale

  1. Old School Conservative

    I’m a bit like Sheldon Cooper – is this sarcasm?

  2. cuckoo

    RN Breakfast has a regular segment where someone reads out a selection of the headlines that day. This used to be done by one of the regulars, who always selected the most Coalition-bashing items, delivered with maximum snark and sneer. Lately he’s been replaced by some kid who sounds 18, and who obviously hasn’t got the memo yet. He often gives long readings to things the ABC would rather not hear, as on this morning, when he read the Australian’s coverage of how the Greens and refugee advocates mostly live in areas not affected by the kinds of people they are so keen to let into the country. Fran’s job is to throw in the odd quip or comment, but during these sessions, her stony silence is almost quotable. Don’t know how the kid gets away with it.

  3. Grumbles

    Not Sarcasm, Hypocrisy. Minimum wage laws are cruel insidious and cost. Mr Di Natale shouldn’t use his governmental power to make it illegal for others to do what he does.

  4. Pete of Perth

    Love is blind.

  5. jupes

    Don’t know how the kid gets away with it.

    Who is this champion and what time is his segment on?

  6. notafan

    The au pair option should be used by everyone that works irregular hours. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people who want exposure to different cultures and languages. Much better for children who are cared for in their own homes. So much cheaper than formal child care too.

    My daughter got ‘pocket money’ of 50 euros a week when she was an au pair in France. The arrangements are strictly controlled by the French government who insist that participants in the scheme attend formal French classes.

    You can only work for one year under the scheme to prevent exploitation of people from poorer countries.

  7. H B Bear

    Don’t know how the kid gets away with it.

    Don’t expect to see him around the ALPBC staff co-op water cooler for long. Our Fran shows us how it is done. BA at Latrobe or some Dawkins university, get in through the Triple J back door as a part time hire, 20 or 30 years at the Hotel California and you are pulling down $200k+ and supposedly a senior political reporter.

    Every now and again a new producer will get an academic or someone not on the ALPBC speed dial for an interview on the staff co-op. After about 30 seconds you know things aren’t going to script and you get a couple of minutes of leading questions before they are shut down. Naturally you never hear from them again.

  8. JB5

    Let’s do this properly.

    Read “Towards a New Economic Miracle: The Case for Slavery” by Alan Beresford B’stard, MP, Conservative Party Member for Haltemprice, UK, 1991.

  9. rich

    You can only work for one year under the scheme to prevent exploitation of people from poorer countries.

    Not sure how exploitation is prevented if the “people from poorer countries” want to keep working for below minimum wage. It just takes the choice out of their hands.

    Anyway, laws are for little people, not for the enlightened elite who rule us!!

  10. Oh look, example #8291 from the left of “…for me but not for thee”. Well colour me surprised.
    Natale should never, ever, ever, ever be allowed to comment, write or make policy on wages ever, ever again after this and if he does someone should punch him in his smug, hypocritical, lying mug.

  11. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Natale should never, ever, ever, ever be allowed to comment, write or make policy on wages ever, ever again after this and if he does someone should punch him in his smug, hypocritical, lying mug.

    Well said. May I suggest that the policy be extended to the swivel eyed, raving mad, gang of lunatics that follow him?

  12. tbh

    I totally agree that it’s fantastic that the Di Natale family are creating employment. What gets on my goat and I suspect nearly 100% of Cats is the sheer hypocrisy, yet again, of our left wing social betters. They preach all this bollocks about inclusion, opportunity etc etc and I’m totally on board with it — so long as these dickheads don’t get in the way of people actually trying to do it.

    Yeah and the NIMBY refugee thing is a hoot. They’re all for bringing them in, so long as they don’t have to live with them. A total lack of self awareness.

  13. Baldrick

    Leftards don’t do self-awareness.

  14. Roger

    Ah, hypocrisy, the tribute vice pays to virtue, Thy name is di Natale.

    The sanctimonious scrote should be laughed out of parliament.

  15. notafan

    Not sure how exploitation is prevented if the “people from poorer countries” want to keep working for below minimum wage. It just takes the choice out of their hands.

    12 month au pair visas then if they want to renew they have to be nannies and paid more.

    The au pair programme has a cultural exchange purpose, it isn’t only a defacto cheap child care arrangement. People who employ au pairs are supposed to treat them more or less as members of the family.

  16. notafan

    Oh and Di Natale a hypocrite?

    Isn’t his vehicle of choice a 4WD?

  17. C.L.

    Hear hear.
    Who are we to criticise Di Natale’s and his servants’ WorkChoices?

  18. Tim Neilson

    notafan
    #2034968, posted on May 20, 2016 at 11:28 am
    I think rich wasn’t asking about the process, he was questioning the “unintended consequences” of the process.
    It goes like this:
    (a) family offers X euros for an au pair;
    (b) person from poor country grabs it gratefully because it’s truckloads better than anything on offer back home;
    (c ) twelve months is up, family wants to keep it going and so does the poor person;
    (d) enlightened progressive intellectuals say “no you can’t, that’s exploitation unless done by a Greens politician, you have to pay X+Y euros”;
    (e) family can’t afford the Y euros;
    (f) poor person goes back home and spends the rest of their life mired in poverty scrabbling for mere survival, perhaps with success, perhaps not;
    (g) enlightened progressive intellectuals bask in self adulation for having stood up for social justice, and find some loophole by which to pay their own au pair only X euros in perpetuity.

  19. Lysander

    So he’s not the Dick of Christmas!!!???

  20. J.H.

    Well with our intrepid Vanguard of political elites it is, as the saying goes…. Do as I say, not do as I do.

    Laws and rules are for the unwashed masses. One has to control them….. otherwise one cannot get them to devote two thirds of their entire adult working lives as tax slaves fulfilling the political ambitions of their intellectual betters…. with the occasional “Slush Fund” for the “young and naive” political aspirant, when things are short and the house needs a reno.

  21. Rabz

    Isn’t his vehicle of choice a 4WD?

    When he’s not flying all over the countryside, at our expense.

  22. rich

    be nannies and paid more.

    The au pair programme has a cultural exchange purpose, it isn’t only a defacto cheap child care arrangement.

    Tim Neilson has it right.

    The key sentence is “twelve months is up, family wants to keep it going and so does the poor person”

    The family just wanted cheap childcare in the first place, so it hires another poor au pair and duds the first one MINUS the overhead of hiring someone else. PROBLEM SOLVED!

    Rules as written versus rules as intended. Unintended consequences every time, for those who get a chubby from telling others what to do for virtue signalling and their own moral aggrandizement

  23. rich

    the point being, when the second replacement au pair is hired, exploitation is STILL HAPPENING ANYWAY

    it’s stupidity like the minimum wage- greens politicians don’t know how markets work. Logic escapes them

  24. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The au pair programme has a cultural exchange purpose, it isn’t only a defacto cheap child care arrangement. People who employ au pairs are supposed to treat them more or less as members of the family.

    Verbal advice, from a regular employer of “Au pairs” is that the agreement is for food, board, the use of a car and $260 – $300 a week, and there are websites that confirm this.

  25. Verbal advice, from a regular employer of “Au pairs” is that the agreement is for food, board, the use of a car and $260 – $300 a week, and there are websites that confirm this.

    THAT is a bloody good deal (for the au pair).

  26. What ever it takes

    The Princelings acting like Princelings, the further you wade into the Green Left swamp the deeper the entitelement mindset.

  27. Louis Hissink

    Minimum wages are actually price fixes, or to use an earlier form of lexical argot, ‘retail price maintenance’.

    And Salvatore at his pub has hit it on the head, nail-wise – so I wonder if the au-pair income is actually a cash payment, or as we used to do in the olden times, go to the post office to buy stamps which were then stuck onto our wages book? Cough, cough.

    Same problem occurred decades ago when mining companies had to play extras to attract workers from the cities. The bruvvers then were jealous of the higher wages, and so the ALP created the fringe benefits tax to equalise all and sundry, not realising that the cost of living in the boonies is slightly higher than in the big smokes (I am told recently that living in the big smoke these days is unaffordable for someone on a minimum wage.

    Ain’t government interference grand!

  28. pete m

    Here is how he justifies it:

    The 2012 post on backpackerjobboard.com.au by Ms Quarterman, advertising an au pair job paying $150 a week, plus food and board, is potentially more embarrassing.

    The ad stated the family of four is “looking for an extra pair of hands around the place to entertain the lads [the couple have two boys] and help with cooking and general domestic duties”.

    It adds: “Will take couples but weekly wage remains the same.”

    The $150 weekly wage was a quarter of the national minimum wage in 2012 of $606.40 per week, or $15.96 per hour.

    A couple working for $150 a week would be earning just $1.88 per hour.

    A spokesman for Senator Di Natale said the employment conditions of the au pair hired in 2012 were “based on advice received” that a deduction of $300 for food and board was appropriate and that the au pairs worked approximately 25 hours each week

    “PAYG tax was also paid, at $37 per week, which brought the gross figure to $187, which was above minimum wage,” the spokesman said.

    “The au pairs worked during business hours (while Lucy worked) so penalty rates did not apply. Advice was that Superannuation was not payable.”

    The Fair Work Ombudsman states au pairs are entitled to the national minimum wage but can trade away food and lodging if both parties agree in writing.

    The tax office states an au pair employed for more than 30 hours a week must be paid super.

    Subsequent au pairs, including “Ben” – featured in a 2015 Good Weekend profile – were “paid above minimum wage based on the same conditions and a bonus was also given at the conclusion of his term. He remains a close friend of the family”, the spokesman said.

    Senator Di Natale has challenged Labor: “If you are so committed to penalty rates, protect them in law…if you care about penalty rates as the Greens do, then join us and let’s protect them in law.”

    He also attacked Mr Feeney for blaming the “maelstrom of events” for his failure to declare his $2.3 million Northcote property.

    “I think he’s got some serious answers to give and so far the explanation he’s given falls well short . . . I can definitely say that I haven’t purchased a $2.3 million property – I reckon I would have remembered that,” he said.

    So, force the au pair to trade $300 gross of wages away for food and lodging.

    Tell the au pair to only work business hours for 25 hours per week.

    don’t have to pay super or over-time.

    Then attack Labor.

    LOL

    How many are willing to bet the au pairs worked more than 25 hours, and after hours?

    Shame on the Di Natales!

  29. Occam's Blunt Razor

    What ZK2A said.

    We’ve had twelve Au Pairs. 35 hours a week work. First 15 hours = food and board and paid cash for the rest.

  30. notafan

    I agree Tim but the French insist on a framework of French language school and to be honest they take middle class girls, almost exclusively, certainly the case in the area where my daughter was which was awash with au pair families.

    It is not exploitative when the au pair freely chooses to accept the terms and conditions offered, surely.

    As for the work, the French strictly forbid the au pair from doing general housework, they can prepare meals for the children only and tidy up after them, that sort of thing. You don’t get to cancel the cleaning lady and have a servant to put your dinner on the table.

    It seems the Di Natales were getting general housework done as well, though.

    Australians have a bit of a rep for exploiting au pairs iirc.

  31. Occam's Blunt Razor

    pete m

    We never used them for extra time – they had weekends off. We even paid them when we were on holidays and they didn’t have to do their full normal week. Took a couple away with us but did not have them do any work because we were there to parent. They got free use of a car and only paid fuel if they took it on a country trip on the weekend. If they came out to dinner and we were buying the meal we paid for them. Pay TV and unrestricted internet usage.

  32. How many are willing to bet the au pairs worked more than 25 hours, and after hours?
    Shame on the Di Natales!

    You betcha the Au Pair worked outside regular business hours:
    An article in the Sydney Morning Herald “Good Weekend” about Di Natale & family, made mention of Mr. & Mrs. Di Natale, sitting by the fire after a hard day at work, with their feet up and the au pair (named Benjamin – I kid you not) cooking their dinner.

  33. Boambee John

    Should di Natale have paid FBT on the value of the board provided (an employment benefit)?

  34. James

    Did they pay the backpackers tax?

  35. Anonandon

    I cannot hear the term ‘au pair’ without imagining a beautiful young swedish woman wearing skimpy clothing. Maybe looks a bit like the blonde from Abba. Once the connection is made it can’t be undone.

    Off topic but another work association. When police have someone in ‘custody’ I imagine them being held against their will in a large vat of custard.

  36. Fisky

    Well well. Absent landlord Di Natale ripping off his farm workers hey?

  37. A Lurker

    An article in the Sydney Morning Herald “Good Weekend” about Di Natale & family, made mention of Mr. & Mrs. Di Natale, sitting by the fire after a hard day at work, with their feet up and the au pair (named Benjamin – I kid you not) cooking their dinner.

    Di Natale sitting down to dinner with the little lady…

  38. Fisky

    Why are we “congratulating” absent landlord Richard Di Natale for ripping off his farm workers to the tune of $150 a week? He’s a scam artist.

  39. cynical1

    Don’t know how the kid gets away with it.

    Perhaps he wears a dress and answers to “Cyndi”…

  40. “PAYG tax was also paid, at $37 per week, which brought the gross figure to $187, which was above minimum wage,” the spokesman said.
    “The au pairs worked during business hours (while Lucy worked) so penalty rates did not apply. Advice was that Superannuation was not payable.”

    Well that’s all right then.

  41. The Fair Work Ombudsman states au pairs are entitled to the national minimum wage but can trade away food and lodging if both parties agree in writing.

    I know how this would work out for me, if I were to even think of doing it with my staff.

  42. cuckoo

    Slightly OT, but I’m nostalgic. I miss the days when, for the ABC, the most DISGRACEFUL thing a Coalition pollie could do was to suggest that some public service body, like the Treasury, was not impartial. Any pollie who had clearly been screwed by a deeply partisan public service had to just sit there, under interrogation from Kerry O’Brien and mutter through gritted teeth ‘No I’m not suggesting the public service is anything..other than..impart..ial’. So naturally I’m awaiting the ABC’s howls of outrage at Mark Dreyfus’ claims today that the AFP raids on ALP offices are being done at the direct behest of Malcolm Turnbull.

  43. Tailgunner

    That’s a mighty big rake diNatale just stepped on.
    Hypocrisy is impossible to shake. He’s done.

  44. Tailgunner

    I could only hire Democrat-ugly girls.

  45. I could only hire Democrat-ugly girls.

    You’re going about it all wrong, Gunner.
    Turn your property into an organic garden Permaculture-style**.
    Then advertise for some Earth Maidens to tend it.

    .
    ** – Size doesn’t matter.

  46. Spider

    The thing is if this was anyone from the Libs the Greens, Get Up, Labor, Unions etc would have circulated a hundred memes on social media before lunch time.

    But the Libs of course play by the rules of fair play and general niceness so there wil be Zip.

  47. Squirrel

    Clearly there should be a Royal Commission into this, or at the very least, a full bench hearing by Fair Work, with a separately commissioned report by the 7-Eleven wage inquiry panel – as the good Senator would say in his most concerned, more in sorrow than in anger voice, “there has to be a better way”……

  48. Tailgunner

    ** – Size doesn’t matter.
    Standards are important MV…
    Girls : wouldn’t reject.
    Lol

  49. rickw

    For me, but not for thee.

    I doubt many of our political class will survive the revolution.

  50. JohnA

    Despite railing against possible cuts to penalty rates and against underpayments, Senator Di Natale has hired three au pairs since entering Parliament and paid them $150 a week. He provided room and board, which he valued at $300 a week.

    The rate of pay is less than a quarter of the full time minimum wage of $606.40 a week in 2012.

    Could we at least argue the facts a bit closer to accurately?

    a) 25 hours
    b) 150 plus 300 = 450
    c) PAYG (unnecessary?) 37
    Total gross package = $487, which comes to $19.48/hr, and of which $300 was Fringe Benefit, not taxable as PAYG.

    1. Did the farm pay FBT on $300/week?
    2. WHY was the advice given that super was not payable when the threshold is $100/week?

  51. wreckage

    The process is the punishment. The Libs should process the fuck out of the guy. Grind, grind, grind.

  52. Snoopy

    I doubt many of our political class will survive the revolution.

    Isn’t that the whole point of a revolution? Otherwise why bother?

  53. Where does this $300 per week food & board come from? Most awards allow a whole lot less than that.
    Since when have employers been allowed to offer food & board in lieu of cash? (When called upon to demonstrate I am a “benevolent employer” – mere payment of salary is insufficient in this Fair Work Commission Far Cup of a country – I am specifically prohibited from listing any form of provision of food & board under “nice stuff I do”)

    If I did what Di Natale has been doing, I’d lose my licence to employ. (Never mind the financial penalties I’d be hit with).

  54. rickw

    Isn’t that the whole point of a revolution? Otherwise why bother?

    There’s not many revolutions in history that would have required a 100% cull! ?

  55. CR

    One problem. . He employs backpackers. And judging by how quickly he goes through them they clearly don’t want a job.

  56. Andrew

    Has Vladimir Ilych Di Marx lost his social licence to operate his farm?

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