Attorney-General: Calombaris wage theft fine a ‘slap on the wrist’

The incentive to abuse migrant labour for profit remains firmly in place after the pithy $200,000 fine issued to George Calombaris’ MAdE hospitality group after underpaying staff $7.8 million in wages. From The ABC:

The celebrity chef’s hospitality group MAdE backpaid current and former employees the lost wages and will make a $200,000 “contrition payment” under a court-enforceable undertaking made with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“I think that … fine, myself, is light,” [Attorney-General Christian] Porter said. “I have said that is an area where we will review penalties.

“I am open-minded to submissions that there should be firmer penalties there, inclusive of potentially criminal penalties reserved for repetitious breaches”…

Labor’s industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said… employers should incur serious consequences for underpaying employees.
“If someone is deliberately and in a calculated way taking money that belongs to workers and keeping it to themselves I fail to see how that is different to a worker taking money from the till,” he said…

“[It’s] just really sad that people can’t see wage theft for what it is.”

Despite the crocodile tears, both sides of politics continue to run a big migration program centred around rorting of both the temporary and skilled programs, aimed at juicing headline GDP growth (but not GDP per capita) and lowering costs for business.

Neither will rock the boat and implement the systemic reform necessary to clean up the scam. And neither will lower Australia’s immigration intake to sensible historical levels.

Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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  1. Mining BoganMEMBER

    I used to date a vegetarian. She loved cooking and loved Masterchef even more. Loved it so much she auditioned for it.
    Said she was even willing to cook up a steak to make it on the big stage.

    That right there is the ethics and values of this whole immigration and wages thingy. We’ll say lots of the right things but yeah nah, if it doesn’t make me rich and famous I’m taking another road.

  2. IIRC, George’s most recently purchased house and holiday house cost a total of under $7MM.

    So with his masterful “I know nuffink” wages Mastertheft, this likeable celebrity is well ahead.

    $7.8MM theft minus $7MM (for his two recent house purchases) minus $200k wet lettuce penalty fine, he is Reusa’s new role model for Having A Go. How good are franking credits

  3. That anyone even knows a cook’s name is a miracle in itself.

    That this apron-wearer has somehow amassed millions of dollars is no less a wonder than the pyramids in egypt

  4. These are the penalties if you steal from the government (ATO):

    The base penalty is a percentage of the shortfall amount. The percentage used is determined by the behaviour that led to the shortfall amount:

    Failure to take reasonable care: The base penalty is 25% of the shortfall amount. Generally, you fail to take reasonable care if you have not done what a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have done.

    Recklessness: The base penalty is 50% of the shortfall amount. You are reckless if a reasonable person in your circumstances would have been aware that there was a real risk of a shortfall amount arising and you disregarded, or showed indifference to, that risk.

    Intentional disregard: The base penalty is 75% of the shortfall amount. You intentionally disregard the law if you are fully aware of a clear tax obligation and you disregard the obligation with the intention of bringing about certain results (underpaying tax or over-claiming an entitlement).

  5. Listened to this Muppets interview this morning. He only conceded on the columbaris issue slightly because he was hammering Unions. Wanted the CFMEU deregistered ect. The unions are all a bunch of thugs dontyaknow, taking money off “hard working Australians..” After Fran Kelly’s directed segway towards increasing wage theft he basically went on to say: oh yea we’ll look into that in the future but look at this right here, the unions, they’re the ones ripping everyone off.

    • A govt puppet preaching in theft…. I’ve heard it all. While Illegal Barnaby, the waterboy Taylor, and minister for EY make out like bandits.