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Shorten, Merlino want Vic Xmas holiday

AAP logoAAP 9/11/2016

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten wants Victoria to declare December 25 a public holiday to bring it into line with every other state and territory.

Christmas Day - which falls on a Sunday this year - will be a public holiday everywhere except Victoria.

That means workers in Victoria can't reasonably refuse to work the Sunday and won't receive public holiday penalty rates if they are rostered on.

"I believe that Christmas Day should be a public holiday, full stop," Mr Shorten told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"The Victorian government has got to work through its issues.

"But in terms of my position for 30 years ... I've believed that Christmas Day should be a public holiday."

Victorian Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis has stood firm against union calls for the holiday to be declared, but his cabinet colleague Deputy Premier James Merlino has a different view.

"My personal opinion is there should be national consistency," Mr Merlino told reporters.

"Christmas Day, New Years Day, Boxing Day, those celebrations, there should be some national consistency and I think we should all work towards that."

Mr Merlino's union, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association, has led the calls for Victoria to change the dates.

Employers are currently only required to pay employees regular Sunday wages for Christmas Day.

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