National News

Awkward government split on gender pay gap

Minister for Women Marise Payne has distanced herself from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's claim the gender pay gap is closed.

During question time on Monday, Mr Frydenberg had talked up the government's economic credentials, saying a record number of Australians were in work.

"The gender pay gap has closed and the budget is coming back to surplus for the first time in more than a decade," he told parliament.

Labor frontbencher Jenny McAllister grilled Senator Payne on Tuesday over whether the treasurer's comments were correct.

Senator Payne was careful not to mention Mr Frydenberg as she confirmed the gender pay gap was 14 per cent, a figure the government celebrates because it's a record low.

"The gender pay gap while still too wide, is absolutely heading in the right direction," she said in question time.

Senator Payne said the discrepancy between men and women's pay had fallen by 3.2 percentage points since the coalition came to power in 2013.

She pointed to a range of federal government initiatives to drive female participation in the workforce, including the Women's Economic Security Statement.

Mr Frydenberg on Tuesday clarified his statement in House of Representatives question time.

"We have a gender pay gap which is at a record low, Mr Speaker, having closed by $1,100 since (Labor) were last in office," he said.

Senator McAllister also asked the minister for women to detail how much less Australian women earn more than men.

After parliamentary argy-bargy subsided, Senator Payne confirmed men on average are paid $1726.30 a week for full-time work compared to women's earnings of $1484.50

"The gender pay gap can be influenced by a number of factors and currently all industries have a pay gap in favour of men," she said.

In response to another question about Mr Frydenberg's statement, Senator Payne said the government was focused on ensuring the gender pay gap closed.

© AAP 2019