October 2022

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.

September 2022

Work in the Care Economy Vital for Future Well-Being

by Fiona Macdonald

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.

August 2022

June 2022

The Impact of Tech on the Future of Work: Opening Remarks to Select Committee

by Peter Lewis

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

Enterprise Bargaining System no Longer Fit for Purpose

by Alison Pennington

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.

May 2022

Unemployment Rate Does Not Tell the Whole Story

by Anis Chowdhury

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.

February 2022

January 2022

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Labour Market Implications of Australia’s Failed COVID Strategy

by Jim Stanford

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.

November 2021

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.

August 2021

Fair Pay Agreements: How Workers in NZ Are Getting Their Share

by Alison Pennington

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.

July 2021

June 2021

A Review of Lapsis

by Dan Nahum

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.

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

by Jim Stanford

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.

May 2021

February 2021

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

January 2021

Migrant Workers Abandoned in the COVID Recovery

by Alison Pennington

COVID continues to sweep Europe and the US, while Australia celebrates near-elimination of community transmission. But Australia’s public health success has not come without significant economic and social hardship for large sections of our community – especially migrant workers. Thousands of migrant workers were pulled off the job to stop the spread of COVID-19, and excluded from key government income support programs including JobSeeker and JobKeeper. Temporary migrant workers are still left without access to Medicare.

December 2020

General Enquiries

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mail@australiainstitute.org.au

Media Enquiries

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jake@australiainstitute.org.au

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