‘Useless data’: Senator’s bizarre gender pay gap spray

Senator Matt Canavan says gender pay gap data is 'useless'.

Senator Matt Canavan says gender pay gap data is 'useless'.

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan says new data revealing huge pay gaps between men and women under various Australian employers is “useless” and would drive people to support misogynists.

The Queensland MP’s bizarre comments were in response to the first-ever look at gender pay gaps at 5,000 Australian workplaces, including airlines, banks, mining, retail and more.

Senator Canavan said the annual release of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) figures would drive more people to support the likes of misogynistic social media personality Andrew Tate.

“The Gender Pay Report is useless data because it does not even correct for basic differences like hours worked,” Canavan posted on X on Tuesday morning.

“The Gender Pay Report is now the annual Andrew Tate recruitment drive.”

Canavan said the “incorrect gender narrative” pushed by governments was perfect fodder for Tate, who believes women belong in the home and should bear responsibility for rapes.

He said the new gender pay gap report “just breeds resentment and division”.

“Andrew Tate is so popular because governments and corporates push a simplistic, divisive and clearly incorrect gender narrative.

“This creates a massive vacuum for the likes of Andrew Tate to fill.”

The data released on Tuesday morning shows 90 per cent or more employers in the mining, electricity, water and waste services and financial and insurance services industries have a gender pay gap favouring men.

The national pay gap average is 21.7 per cent, equivalent to women earning $26,393 less than men annually.

Federal Minister for Women Katy Gallagher said the publication of this data would incentivise businesses to improve.

“We’re not pretending that there’s an easy solution … It’s been around for a long time and we need to make sure that we’re doing what we can to drive better outcomes,” she told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“I think it will drive improved performance.

“It’s not about naming and shaming… that isn’t the intention behind this, this is about transparency, accountability.”

Australian airlines including Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin reported a median pay gap of 37 per cent, 43.7 per cent and 41.7 per cent respectively.

Qantas Group chief people officer Catherine Walsh said there was significant under-representation of women in more highly paid roles such as pilots and engineers, jobs the airline was working to encourage more women into.

Banks also reported significant pay gaps in favour of men, including 18.8 per cent at NAB, 28.5 per cent at Westpac and 29.9 per cent at the Commonwealth Bank.

A CBA spokesperson said women reflected 54 per cent of the bank’s local workforce and 44 per cent of leadership roles.

But 71 per cent of customer service and operational roles, which typically have lower rates of pay, were held by women.

“CBA’s median pay gap reflects many factors influencing the gender pay gap more broadly, including the types of roles performed by women, the seniority of those roles and the composition of the workforce,” the spokesperson said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley welcomed the data as information that “makes clear who is getting this right and who is getting this wrong”.

“There are big name brands who make profits off the products they market to women while not meeting gender pay parity in their own workforces,” she said.

“That is unacceptable.

“To those organisations and businesses who have failed to meet the mark, you have been put on notice.”

-with AAP

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