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Labor Shadow Minister ‘Train Wreck’ Interview Over Retail Penalty Rates

In a move that could affect thousands of retailers who attract heavy trade on a Sunday, Labor’s workplace relations spokesman Brendan O Connor, has refused to rule out that weekend penalty rates would not be cut under Labor.

The Evasive opposition shadow minister, is the brother of Michael O Connor who runs a militant union that was recently denied access to a secret royal commission report on union corruption over fears for witnesses’ safety.

Coalition Employment Minister Michaelia Cash refused to give Labor MP Brendan O’Connor a copy of the confidential report, which details testimony of dozens of secret witnesses.

Mr O’Connor’s brother, Michael, is national secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.

The CFMEU was accused in royal commission documents and hearings of involvement in secret payments and links to outlaw bikie gangs.

In what has been described as a “train wreck” interview on Melbourne radio station 3AW earlier today, host Neil Mitchell castigated Brendan O’Connor for saying voters should await the final decision of the independent industrial umpire.

He repeatedly refused to guarantee that weekend penalty rates would not be cut under a Shorten government, despite the opposition making the issue a key part of its campaign strategy.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten later also refused to guarantee penalty rates would not fall under Labor, while saying only his party could be trusted to protect the “penalty rates system”.

Mr O’Connor said, if elected, Labor would “intervene” by making a submission to the Fair Work Commission in support of penalty rates.

Retailers are calling for Penalty Rates to be abandoned claiming that it will lead to growth and more people being employed part time in retail stores.

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