June 2022

Exit Poll: Overwhelming Majority of Australians Want Wage Growth in Line with Cost of Living

As the Fair Work Commission prepares to announce this year’s increase in the national minimum wage, new polling data shows that the vast majority of Australians support lifting wages to keep up with rising inflation. The Australia Institute conducted a special exit poll, surveying a nationally representative sample of 1,424 Australians on the evening of

Introducing ‘Civility’

featuring Peter Lewis

This week’s Burning Platforms will introduce ‘Civility’ – a new collaborative platform designed to create better public engagement. Recorded live 10th June 2022. With our regular panelists: Peter Lewis, Director of The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology Lizzie O’Shea, Chair of Digital Rights Watch and new panelist: David Swan, Technology Editor at The Australian Special guest:

If Australia taxed windfall gas profits we could invest billions in renewables and get off fossil fuels for good

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

A massive expansion in Australia’s gas production did nothing to make gas cheap for Australian homes and businesses. A decade of propping up ageing coal-fired power stations did nothing to ensure the reliability of our electricity supply. And the Coalition’s so-called “gas trigger” and “big stick” electricity reforms have done nothing to control Australian energy

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.

Phasing out Fossil Fuels with Adam Bandt [webinar]

featuring Ebony Bennett and Richie Merzian

Australia cannot solve the climate crisis while we keep opening new gas fields and coal mines. In this episode we’re listening back to our webinar with Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP for a discussion about how Australia can rapidly transition to a clean energy economy and move beyond fossil fuels. This was recorded on Thursday

May 2022

Joseph E. Stiglitz Australian Speaking Tour: July 2022 ‘The Role of Government in the Modern Economy’

Nobel Laureate, former World Bank Chief Economist, and best-selling author Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz will visit Australia in July 2022 to discuss the need to expand the role of governments, unions, and civil society. The tour, hosted by the Australia Institute, will see Professor Stiglitz speak at a wide range of events for the general

Salmon Inquiry Report: Comprehensive Marine Plan Now

The long-awaited Legislative Council Fin Fish Farming in Tasmania Inquiry report tabled in Parliament today, highlights the many problems faced by the industry. The Australia Institute Tasmania commends the Committee’s call for an overarching Marine Plan for Tasmania through a comprehensive stakeholder consultation, informed by assessment of environmental, social and recreational values, with a transparent

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.

Real wages plummet and will take years to recover

by Greg Jericho in The Guardian

The release of the March Wage Price Index confirms what a horror year it has been for workers. While inflation in the past 12 months rose 5.1%, wages grew just 2.4%. Even worse, in the past year the price of non-discretionary items rose 6.6%, meaning for those on low wages, who spend more of their incomes on essential items, real wages would have fallen even more than the 2.6% average fall.

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.

WPI: Worst Real Wage Decline This Century

“The latest wages data show that real wages in the past 12 months fell 2.5%. This horror result for workers shows that not only are wages not putting pressure on inflation but that workers are not seeing the benefits of lower unemployment,” said Greg Jericho, employment & fiscal policy director at the Australia Institute’s Centre

One in Five Worked with COVID Symptoms; Sick Leave Entitlements Must Be Strengthened

Almost one in five Australians (and a higher proportion of young workers) acknowledge working with potential COVID symptoms over the course of the pandemic, according to new opinion research released today by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work. The research confirms the public health dangers of Australia’s patchwork system of sick leave and related

With falling real incomes and rising prices many people don’t believe the story of prosperity Scott Morrison is preaching

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

While it makes economic and political sense to suggest, as Anthony Albanese has, that the minimum wage, and indeed most wages, rise inline with the rate of inflation Scott Morrison has suggested such a move would be ‘reckless and dangerous’. What’s far more dangerous and reckless is letting real wages and consumer spending fall just

Wages Will Continue to Lag Without Targeted Wage-Boosting Measures: New Report

A comprehensive review of Australian wage trends indicates that wage growth is likely to remain stuck at historically weak levels despite the dramatic disruptions experienced by the Australian labour market through the COVID-19 pandemic. The report finds that targeted policies to deliberately lift wages are needed to break free of the low-wage trajectory that has

Why commentary that wages growing in line with inflation will drive up inflation is completely misguided

by Greg Jericho in The Guardian

Today the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese was asked about wages in the following exchange: Journalist: “You said that you don’t want people to go backwards. Does that mean that you would support a wage hike of 5.1% just to keep up with inflation? Anthony Albanese: “Absolutely”. Any other response would be to suggest that real

Inflation Good for Budget but Bad for Voters

Surging inflation is driving record increases in government tax revenue while simultaneously pushing down workers’ real wages, according to new Australia Institute analysis of Treasury forecasts released today. As the figure below shows, Treasury forecasts of Commonwealth spending are well above the spending forecasts made pre-covid and, more significantly, well above the levels forecast in

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