Politics is divided over whether Australians should have a day off work should the Matilda’s go all the way.

On Saturday, the Matildas achieved what no Australian team – men or women – have done before: secure a spot in the FIFA World Cup semi-final.

Defeating France on penalties 7-6 after an epic 120 minutes of play and the longest shootout in world cup history, the Matilda’s now turn their sights to playing England’s Lionesses on Wednesday.

Australia is also a step closer to a commemorative public holiday, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese set to use Wednesday’s national cabinet meeting to discuss with premiers and chief ministers the possibility of a day off should the Matilda’s go all the way.

But Nationals leader David Littleproud said while he is fully supportive of the Matildas, a public holiday would cost business too much.

“I don’t want to be captain killjoy on this, but I think business has a point here,” he told ABC’s Insiders.

“It’s easy to call for a national holiday when someone else is paying for it. I’m proud of the Matildas and every Australian is, and we’re going to be riding it home … but I think we’ve got to understand that someone has got to foot the bill.

“And businesses are doing it tough. We live in a great nation, but we have to pay our bills and make sure the country keeps going.”

Mr Albanese on Saturday dismissed small business concerns about an “unprofitable” public holiday, arguing such an event would be good for the economy.

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia is particularly concerned, with chief executive Luke Achterstraat warning a potential public holiday would come at the cost of already-struggling small businesses.

“Public holiday penalty rates of 250 per cent – not 25 per cent, but 250 per cent – are a major impost on small businesses who will need to re-evaluate whether they even viably trade on the proposed public holiday,” he said.

Ahead of the game on Saturday night, Mr Albanese said the same concerns had been raised before the one-off public holiday last year after Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

“Some said that was something that would cause economic disruption. What that did, of course, was lead to increased economic activity in a whole lot of businesses, particularly small businesses, and it actually benefited a whole range of those businesses,” Mr Albanese said.

“These are decisions that are for state and territory governments, but the Matildas are inspiring an entire nation.”

The Matilda’s will play England on Wednesday night in Sydney, with the winner taking on either Spain or Sweden in the grand final next Sunday.

Originally published as David Littleproud says Matilda’s public holiday would cost business too much



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By Rahul

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