16 December 2020

It looks like Morrison might back down on undercutting the Better Off Overall Test, but, as Shaun Carney points out, that isn’t the worst of his IR omnibus: “Wage stagnation is a serious ongoing problem in Australia. Real wages have barely moved in the past seven years. The share of national income that goes to workers has been falling since the 1970s — right now, it’s below 50 per cent for the first time in 60 years — while the profit share has correspondingly been rising. This is hurting low-paid workers and those who are stuck in casual positions especially, and it is needs to be addressed. There isn’t much in the new bill that’s going to turn it around. The proposals do little to deliver greater job security or even create new jobs because they hand employers greater powers to define any employee as a casual and to give part-time workers more hours at cheaper rates than they would get at the moment. … It’s hard to see what the government would have had to lose by going further and offering a better deal for low-paid workers. Certainly, it would have grumpy employer groups to contend with, but where would they and their members go politically — to Labor or the Greens? … In a time when politics is all too often an exercise in marketing, it had been too much to hope for.”