Australian Inflation Reflects a Historic Redistribution from Workers to Bosses
The upsurge of inflation since the COVID-19 lockdowns has not had equal impacts on all Australians. Workers and low-income people have experienced the worst losses: both because their incomes, in most cases, have not kept up with prices, and because they are more dependent on essential goods and services (like shelter, food, and energy) than
The Safeguard Mechanism and the junk carbon credits undermining emission reductions
One of Labor’s key policies to reduce emissions is the Safeguard Mechanism. But how does it work, and how effective is it at actually reducing emissions?
Marine Roundtable: Towards a sustainable management framework for Tasmania
The first review of Tasmania’s main marine law, the Living Marine Resource Management Act 1995, is currently underway.
Job Opening: Carmichael Distinguished Research Fellow
The Carmichael Centre at the Centre for Future Work invites applications for the Laurie Carmichael Distinguished Research Fellow position. It’s a three-year posting, with awesome potential to explore a range of progressive issues related to unions, collective bargaining, industrial policy, and workers’ education.
The Australian Political Book of the Year Award 2022 longlist: No Enemies No Friends
We are delighted to announce that No Enemies No Friends: Restoring Australia’s Global Relevance has been longlisted for the inaugural Australian Political Book of the Year Award.
Webinar on Wages, Prices, and Power
The Australian Council of Trade Unions is sponsoring a series of webinars for union members, delegates, officials, and leaders on the current crisis in the cost of living in Australia. The surge in inflation since economic re-opening after COVID lockdowns has obviously intensified that crisis. But the seeds for it were planted long ago: by a decade of historically weak wage growth, a speculative property price bubble, and a systematic efforts to weaken collective bargaining and unionisation.
Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today – a new podcast from the Carmichael Centre at the Centre for Future Work
The Centre for Future Work and the Carmichael Centre are pleased to announce the launch of a new podcast project titled Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today, presented by the Laurie Carmichael Distinguished Research Fellow at the Carmichael Centre, Dr Mark Dean, and comedian and ecology researcher, Duncan Turner.
Work in the Care Economy Vital for Future Well-Being
There is growing understanding that care work — including jobs in aged care, disability services, early child education and care, and others — is of growing importance to future employment and wage trends, as well as to the quality of life of Australians who depend on these social and community services. For too long, jobs in these growing sectors have been devalued. Government underfunding and weak labour and quality standards have reinforced the degradation of work in care sectors. But with intense labour shortages, public concern about inadequate quality, and the need to expand services to meet social needs, there is now more widespread recognition that care jobs must be improved, and quickly: with more funding, better training, limits on private delivery, multi-employer bargaining, and more.
Interest Rate Hikes Will Hurt Workers to Protect Profits
The Reserve Bank of Australia has hiked its interest rate 4 times so far this year, for a combined total of 1.75 percentage points. And it has signalled more increases are ahead, as it joins other central banks around the world in rapidly increasing rates to slow spending power, job-creation, and hence inflation.
The Impact of Tech on the Future of Work: Opening Remarks to Select Committee
Opening Statement to the NSW Parliament Select Committee on the impact of technological and other change on the future of work and workers in New South Wales Thank you for the invitation to appear today. I do apologise for not appearing in person, but I currently have Covid. I also apologise in advance if I
A special message from Prof. Peter Doherty
We need all the mindpower we can muster as Australia moves forward to deal with the complex issues that confront us.
Enterprise Bargaining System no Longer Fit for Purpose
The collapse in agreement coverage under Australia’s enterprise bargaining system in Australia in recent years, particularly in the private sector, has focused attention on the need for reforms that will give more workers the effective ability to collectively negotiate better wages and conditions. In the private sector, coverage by a current enterprise agreement has fallen by half since 2013: to below 11% of all workers by March 2021. No wonder wages are lagging so far behind inflation.
Unemployment Rate Does Not Tell the Whole Story
Three days before the federal election, new ABS data confirmed that Australian wage growth is still stuck at historically weak rate (up just 2.4% year over year to March 2022). One day later, another ABS release showed another small decline in the unemployment rate, which is now below 4%. Most of the decline was due to people leaving the labour market (rather than new jobs being created). But the data is being cited by the current government as a sign that better wage growth is just around the corner.
Past the Pendulum: thinking inside The Cube
New research from the Australia Institute’s Democracy & Accountability Program suggests new models are needed to interpret national two-party preferred polls The latest Newspoll finding a national two-party preferred swing of 5.5% to Labor has election watchers and campaigners reaching for their electoral pendulum to work out what it all means come Saturday. The Australian’s
More Resources on Australia’s Wages Crisis
The debate over wages, prices, and living standards heated up even further this week, with the release of new ABS statistics showing continuing weakness in wages despite the acceleration of inflation. The latest data from the ABS Wage Price Index (WPI) shows nominal wages grew just 2.4% over the 12 months ending in March. That is less than half as fast as consumer prices grew (5.1%), producing the biggest decline in real wages this century.
Webinar: Changes to the SCHADS Award and Next Steps to Improve Job Quality in Human Services
The Fair Work Commission recently announced important changes to the SCHADS Award (which sets minimum standards for workers in home care, disability services, community agencies, and other vital services) as part of its award review process. This culminates several years of research and advocacy by unions representing workers in these sectors, aimed at improving job quality and stability in these vital but undervalued positions. The Centre for Future Work provided expert testimony to the Commission as part of its review.
International Collective Bargaining Experts Explore Future System Reform
Multiple negative economic and social consequences have emerged across Anglophone industrial countries from the retrenchment of collective bargaining systems, including slowing wages growth, rising insecure work, inequality, and declining productivity and growth – bringing urgency to proposals for collective bargaining reform.
Centre for Future Work Announces Two Senior Appointments
The Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of two senior staff to its team of labour policy researchers.
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Labour Market Implications of Australia’s Failed COVID Strategy
As COVID and recession gripped the world, through 2020 and most of 2021 Australia recorded one of the best outcomes: lower infection, fewer deaths, and a faster, stronger economic recovery. That seeming victory has been squandered, however by the appalling and infuriating events of recent weeks. Purportedly in the name of ‘protecting the economy’, key political leaders (led by the Commonwealth and NSW governments) threw the doors open to the virus at exactly the wrong time: just as the super-infectious Omicron variant was taking hold.
What Next for Casual Work? Professor Andrew Stewart webinar recording
Casual employment has dominated Australia’s labour market recovery from COVID-19. And the right of employers to hire staff on a casual basis in almost any role they choose – including jobs that on their face appear have permanent characteristics – seems to have been cemented by recent amendments to the Fair Work Act, and by the High Court’s recent ruling in the WorkPac v. Rossato case.
Fair Pay Agreements: How Workers in NZ Are Getting Their Share
Across the ditch, the Ardern government in New Zealand is undertaking an ambitious and multi-dimensional effort to address low wages, inequality, and poor job quality. NZ unions have just won the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements, planned for implementation in 2022. FPAs will allow working people to bargain collectively across sectors and start to correct the income and power imbalance between workers and employers.
The Broken Bargain: Australia’s Growing Wages Crisis with Sally McManus
In this episode from The Australia Institute’s webinar series, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus outlines the political and legal reasons why wage growth is so low in Australia.
The Nordic Edge – Policy Possibilities for Australia
Climate and energy. Work/life balance. Mining taxes. Progress on policy issues like these is essential, and yet they have become subject to the most rancorous partisanship, the precipitation of culture wars, and have brought down governments. In The Nordic Edge, published by Melbourne University Press, a selection of Australia Institute researchers and guest authors show how
A Review of Lapsis
The increasing precarity of economic life for many people is being reflected in a growing output of film and TV, including the work of Ken Loach (‘Sorry We Missed You’, ‘I, Daniel Blake’), Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s 2019 documentary ‘American Factory’, Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar-winning ‘Parasite’ as well as his ‘Snowpiercer’ film and subsequent TV series, the interplanetary class divisions explored by the Syfy Channel’s ‘The Expanse’, and Chloé Zhao’s Oscar-winning ‘Nomadland’. The Centre for Future Work’s first film review considers a new entry in this recent canon of art imitating life.
Open Letter: G7 Leaders should end not just coal, but also oil and gas finance in 2021
Originally published by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Reuters News. On June 11-13, World Leaders will gather at the G7 summit. There, they plan to adopt an agenda to “build back better from coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future”. We, the undersigned economists, believe that this means decisively shifting finance
11 reasons to donate to the Australia Institute’s End-of-Financial-Year appeal
We are in extraordinary times. Whether it is the economic impact of the global pandemic, the impacts of climate change, or the declining trust in our democratic institutions – the Australia Institute is leading the national debate with our high quality research and advocacy. We change minds. Every dollar you donate to the Australia Institute
Video: Myth & Reality About Technology, Skills & Jobs
We are constantly told that the world of work is being turned upside down by ‘technology’: some faceless, anonymous, uncontrollable force that is somehow beyond human control. There’s no point resisting this exogenous, omnipresent force. The best thing to do is get with the program… and learn how to program! Acquiring the right skills (usually assumed to be STEM or computer skills) is the best way to protect yourself in this brave new high-tech future.
Australia Institute Budget Wrap 2021
The budget has failed to deliver any meaningful tax reform. 21 years into the 21st century we still have a tax system that looks more at home in the 19th century.
Black Witness with Amy McQuire
Join Amy McQuire, a Darumbal and South Sea Islander journalist and author with over 13 years of experience and the Australia Institute’s 2020 Writer in Residence recipient, for a discussion her upcoming book ‘The Water Behind Us’ is a journalistic investigation into the wrongful conviction of Aboriginal man Kevin Henry. This book deals with the
The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism with Dr Anne Aly MP
Join international counter-terrorism expert Dr Anne Aly MP, member for Cowan, for a frank discussion about the rise of right-wing extremism. In conversation with Dr Richard Denniss, chief economist at the Australia Institute. Hosted by Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute. Part of the Australia Institute 2021 webinar series, this discussion was recorded
Tanya Martin Office Manager
Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser