Ben Spies-Butcher | Numbers don’t back business lobbying

Ben Spies-Butcher writes in The Sydney Morning Herald about the widening gap in wages.

Two years since the changes to the IR legislation, the business lobby has been vocal in their criticisms and claims that Fair Work Australia is driving down productivity, increasing paperwork for employers and driving up wages. But Ben takes a look at the broader trends and asks are we living in the land of the ‘Fair Go’? Where is IR policy headed with Fair Work Australia, taxes, wages and the GFC?

Ben writes:

For most of the last century, Australia was one of the most equal countries in the developed world, despite comparatively low taxes. More than most other countries, Australia sought to achieve a ”fair go” through wages, rather than welfare. Our governments sought to ensure we had enough to begin with, rather than giving us more at the end.

Since the 1970s, the processes of globalisation and deregulation have placed greater strains on the way Australian governments traditionally achieved equity. While today unemployment is low by international standards, at about 5 per cent, it is higher than at virtually any time between 1950 and 1975. And during the past 30 years the proportion of national income going to workers as wages has consistently fallen – from more than 62 per cent in 1974/5, to 53 per cent in 2010/1 – while the proportion going to business owners in profits rose from 17 to 28 per cent.

Continue reading the article in The Sydney Morning Herald here.

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