Major survey confirms Turnbull’s hypocrisy on women at work

A major survey shows that the invaluable contribution of women in the Australian public sector is threatened by Malcolm Turnbull’s continued attacks on workplace conditions.

What Women Want is a biennial survey of thousands of working women conducted by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). Most of the participants (75%) are employed in the Australian Public Service, with the rest predominantly employed by the ACT and NT Governments.

The survey found increasing pressures on women and a continued decline in job satisfaction since 2013, after years of budget cuts and chronic understaffing, together with substantial obstacles to bargaining for improved conditions of work.

The survey, released to coincide with International Women’s Day, shows that the most important issue to women remains access to flexible work arrangements - but satisfaction with work/life balance continues to decline. Women are also less confident about job security, and are badly affected by continued cuts to the public sector that increase workloads.

Women are also becoming less satisfied with their pay (pay satisfaction has dropped from 71% in 2013 to 53% in 2017), reflecting the Turnbull Government’s years of using Commonwealth bargaining to suppress incomes in the public sector.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “Malcolm Turnbull says he wants to encourage more women into work. He even changed the Ministerial Code of Conduct because he says he wants ‘respectful workplaces for women’.”

“But then he lets a cabinet minister threaten female staff at Parliament House without consequence and brings in policies in the public sector which are exactly the opposite of what women are saying we need.”

“Working women deserve fair workplaces and jobs that offer reasonable flexibility and allow them to live balanced lives. But for years, the Turnbull Government has used bargaining in the Commonwealth public sector to stand in the way of family-friendly policies and work/life balance for women. Now they’ve released their new bargaining policy and it’s just as unfriendly as the old one.

Women are saying really clearly what matters at work: we want work/life balance, fair pay and respectful workplaces. But the number of women who believe that their current entitlements are sufficient to let them balance work and non-work commitments has dropped from 65% to 54% in just two years. And a quarter of women agree that taking time out for family or personal reasons is frowned on."

"These survey findings are another sign that the rules that made this country fair are broken - and that's why we're going to change them.”

The full report is available at:

Media contact: Susie Byers 0408 813 983